Germany 2019

Best of Germany 2014 - Mining Equipment and Mining Technology

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VDMA 33 2019 • VDMA MINING SUPPLEMENT Extracting the minerals from the deposit is only half the task. Once that rock or coal is excavated, it must be moved somewhere quickly and cost effectively. Truck haulage is an option for relatively short distances. For the long hauls, however, most mines turn to conveyor systems. Conveyors systems can be a blessing and a curse. A well-engi- neered system can move massive amounts of material. When they are down though, the entire operation is usually down. The key to effective use of conveyors is high availability. Poorly engineered systems and those that are not well-maintained will suffer from excessive downtime. Not too long ago, conveyors only traveled in a straight line from point A to B. Today, overland conveyors cover tens of kilometers and they easily handle undulations and they even make turns. Today's engineers are using sophisticated modeling systems to develop and build these systems and to help maintain them. Digital Twin Identifies Issues Early Headquartered in Crailsheim, Germany, Voith Turbo specializes in intelligent drive solutions, systems and comprehensive services. The company recently introduced two new programs, ERIC and ALEX, as part of its BeltGenius platform. ERIC (Efficiency and Reliability Intel- ligent Control) analyzes a range of data to determine how efficiently conveyor systems are operating. ALEX (Alignment Expert) records the alignment of idlers in a conveyor system and offers expert advice. Explaining the BeltGenius vision, Stefan Hutzenlaub, team lead- er-application engineering for Voith Turbo, uses a house analogy, where ERIC and ALEX serve as the foundation. "Voith Turbo intends to add a lot more rooms to this house," Hutzenlaub said. "Looking at the total cost of ownership or TCO to operate belt conveyors, Voith Turbo estimates that figure to be about $8 billion per year. By improv- ing this TCO, where we make cost improvements related to downtime, spare parts, energy efficiency, etc., we can address these issues and reduce the amount of money necessary to transport materials." "BeltGenius will provide mine operators with more insight into conveyor systems," Hutzenlaub said. "If they know of an impending failure, they can take action and schedule preventive maintenance to avoid unexpected downtime. This is the overall vision." BeltGenius ERIC is a software solution that allows mine opera- tors to see the efficiency of their conveyor belt systems at any time. The gathered data provide them with numerous starting points to ensure the optimum use of their system, reducing their operating costs. Using standardized values, ERIC makes it easy to compare individual conveyors. The system continuously receives data from the conveyor, in- cluding belt speed, belt tension, effective motor power for all drive motors, and temperature. These parameters are then transmitted to a server at Voith that contains a digital twin of the system, in which all relevant information about the conveyor are stored, such as belt length, belt width, the diameter of the carrying rollers, drive pulleys, return pulleys, the configuration of the transfer stations, the topography, and the trough angles. Using this information, ERIC determines a normalized efficiency value referenced to the energy consumption for horizontal material transport, known as the Energy Performance Indicator (EnPI). This indicator allows the operator to see at a glance just how efficiently a conveyor is currently operating. ERIC's digital twin currently offers mine operators four dash- boards to visualize the data, Hutzenlaub explained, and Voith can provide an additional dashboard where they can outline different sections of the belt conveyor. The digital twin compares the installed power to the actual en- ergy being used. This allows the operator to identify power reserves. In this way, the existing capacities of the belt conveyor system can be put to optimum use without jeopardizing the safety of the system. In the event of any significant deviation in the EnPI, BeltGenius ERIC sends a direct message to the operator. The operator, together with Voith, can then take action to prevent potential damage. While ERIC is more of a Cloud-based software tool, ALEX is a more of a hands-on, sensor-based diagnostic tool with expert ad- vice. "With ALEX, we mount 40-cm sensor chains to each side of the conveyor and run the conveyor empty for three or four revolutions," Hutzenlaub said. "We then disassemble the sensor chain and recov- er the SD cards, which contain the raw data for the alignment. Us- ing that information, Voith can provide a detailed report explaining where to align the conveyor both horizontally and vertically." The analysis data are listed in a well-organized log that contains specific work instructions. These data include, among other things, information about which idlers are critical, as well as how big an ad- justment must be made, in which direction, and how far. The result of the alignment work will be verified by conducting a second mea- surement run. The operator then receives the current values of the system along with a direct comparison, including an evaluation of Smart Approaches to Material Handling Using engineering expertise and technology to move more materials BeltGenius ERIC from Voith identifies inefficient system sections or belt segments and reduces energy and operating costs.

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