Becker Mining South Africa has developed a total belt management system package, that ensures absolute reliability and optimum safety of conveyor belts used in surface and underground mining. It encompasses a range of advanced Becker systems, that are known for dependable performance and extended service life in demanding mining conditions.
“This comprehensive belt package includes motor protection, multiple communication platforms, gas and fieldbus monitoring, surveillance, belt monitoring and rip detection systems. Other options include Pull Key, flameproof and non-flameproof motor drives, as well as dust suppression and distributed sensing systems,” explains Rick Jacobs, Senior General Manager (SGM) for Consumables, Becker Mining South Africa.
“An important advantage of our modular design is customers are able to select which systems are necessary for each installation and as requirements change, systems can be easily modified and upgraded.”
The company’s Smartcom leaky feeder system ensures clear and reliable communications underground, at all times. A radiating cable is installed underground along areas or sections where communication is required, with a range of frequency choices, such as VHF, UHF and various advanced LTE frequency spectrum options.
This system has advanced technological features for reliability, flexibility and low maintenance requirements, offering multiple simultaneous voice and data radio channels, with low intermodulation noise levels.
Integration of many technologies
The Becker WRAP (Wireless Router Access Point) provides a high-speed backbone for wireless VoIP, seamless roaming of devices, advanced vehicular dispatch systems, process automation, as well as any device that can utilise a wireless, serial or fibre backbone.
This system does not limit usage to a single technology, but encompasses migration and integration of many technologies. The Intrinsically Safe (IS) WRAP unit has a small form factor, weighing less than 5kg, which ensures ease of installation and maintenance.
Becker Mining has made a substantial investment in researching and testing underground Wi-Fi systems to overcome the problems associated with conventional Wi-Fi systems in arduous underground conditions. The company’s advanced Wi-Fi wireless communication options are installed along the conveyor belt.
A critical feature of this advanced system is the IS design, which enables safe use in harsh and potentially explosive mining conditions. What’s important about these systems – each of which can be customised to exact requirements – is that each product can be installed as a single stand-alone system, or it can be deployed using a phased approach to minimise a massive initial capital outlay.
Becker Mining has recently upgraded its BRS-2 belt-rip detection system to enhance the productivity and safety of conveyor belts, by detecting longitudinal rips as soon as they occur. This system, which utilises inductive loops that are embedded in the belt, uses real time diagnostics to continuously monitor the status of the belt.
In the event of a rip, the system stops the belt drives, which reduces any further damage and minimises downtime. Apart from the detection of belt rips, this system is designed for monitoring belt speed, the detection of belt slip and also for belt sequence control.
The high-accuracy Becker Varis Smartsense gas monitoring system, which can be calibrated in situ with integrated features for the detection of ambient temperature, humidity and barometric pressure, as well as gas monitoring, forms an essential part of the total belt solutions package. According to Becker Mining specialists, it is important to monitor gases emitted into the atmosphere in real time and have a reliable system to take immediate automatic action to eliminate the possibility of poisonous environments, as well as explosions.
The Smartsense system, with its integrated controller functions, operates as a ‘black box’ and stores important information, which could be critical in a post-incident investigation.
The ‘watchdog’ feature alerts the user and maintenance teams of any system errors, for example, if the system has detected inaccurate measurements or calibration errors. This information is displayed on the large LCD display, as well communicated remotely on the supervisory platform.
Motor protection systemsoffer protection for cables and all types of electric motors, with reliable features for motor condition and overload monitoring, as well as phase detection and visualisation of motor operating parameters.
Pull key and surveillance
Becker Mining’s Pull Key systemsare integrated with conveyor protection devices into one system, with one cable, to suit exact conveyor belt requirements. Pull Keys, which are suitable for use in IS and non-IS environments, comprise a control panel with a 4-line display unit, expandable inputs and outputs on-board, communication with SCADA and various other platforms, as well as intercom options.
Surveillance systemscomprise a range of cameras and video management solutions, including explosion proof, audio and visual announcement and video analytics options. These advanced devices, which are designed with intelligent bandwidth compensation and increased storage capacity, offer tamper detection and cyber security. Thermal and radar devices allow for detection, even in low light, tough conditions.
Distributed sensing systemsplay an important role in the early detection of equipment failure, to improve efficiencies, prevent costly repairs and reduce downtime. These systems continually monitor frictional heat, as well as temperature and vibration, throughout the conveyor system.
This sensing system detects wear and tear early and monitors the electrical infrastructure, where heat builds up on transformers, electrical connections and joints. The early leak detection system accurately detects and identifies the location of leaks along pipelines.
Dust and fire
Dust suppression systems are an important component in Becker Mining’s total belt solutions and are effective in the suppression of particulate matter, which can cause health problems for workers. These dust prevention and reduction systems, which conform with Mine, Health and Safety Act requirements, are fitted with fully adjustable spray patterns, flow rates and nozzle configurations.
Fire protection and suppression systemsalso play a critical role in the company’s belt management package. A deluge valve coverage of up to 40m of the conveyor belt, allows for water to be sprayed over the entire area, which mitigates the risk that fire will spread out of the coverage area.