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Comparing belt requirements for stationary plants versus mobile crushers

By |  June 4, 2020
A stationary plant can support longer conveyor systems due to the site’s permanent structure. Photo: P&Q staff

A stationary plant can support longer conveyor systems due to the site’s permanent structure. Photo: P&Q staff

Stationary quarries are built to last decades.

They are designed for large-capacity runs over long hours and require constant feeding from trucks hauling in materials. Equipped with vast conveyor systems, crushers, screeners, sorters, scrapers and grinders, these quarries push the limits of aggregate production and can crush from anywhere between 200 mm to 12 mm or less.

Mobile crushers operate within a smaller footprint but still push the envelope of production. These plants are required to perform similar duties as a stationary site, but in smaller volumes with the added luxury of mobility. The mobility allows for the units to be versatile and accommodating by reducing the need for truck transport and increasing onsite turnaround.

The objectives of stationary and portable plants are the same, but these have different operational goals for processing materials efficiently. As a result, stationary plants and mobile crushers require unique approaches to determine the best conveyor belt for their application.

What are the differences in the types of belting used in stationary quarries and mobile crushing equipment?

Conveyor belting is not a one-size-fits-all product. Treating it as such will save pennies up front, but cost real dollars down the road.

For example, it’s hard to dispute that using a mobile crusher that’s too small for the job will fail to meet yield requirements and reduce profits. Similarly, a crusher that is oversized will carry additional expenses to manage and won’t add value, but it will add cost.

This same concept holds true for belting. Thicker belts cost more money and require more resources to operate.

Many believe conveyor belting has a singular purpose: to convey material from one location to another. In reality, working with industry experts using advancements in rubber belting technology amplifies the value the component part can bring to the entire operation.

If a stationary plant is running multiple sorting conveyors at a variety of inclines and lengths, then using the same belt for each conveyor would not be optimizing productivity. However, a methodical approach in determining function over value for each conveyor will increase system performance overall.

In addition, manufacturers can build modern conveyor belts engineered with low-profile, high-strength inputs, meaning improved strength and durability in a thinner and more flexible design. This concept alone will increase efficiencies by reducing energy consumption, downtime and costly replacement parts.

What are the differences in belting in these applications, and why are they important?

Mobile crushers have much shorter runs but see increased cycles and revolutions on conveyor belts. Photo: P&Q Staff

Mobile crushers have much shorter runs but see increased cycles and revolutions on conveyor belts. Photo: P&Q Staff

Looking closely at the differences between stationary plants and mobile crushers, a primary factor is conveyor length.

A stationary plant can support longer conveyor systems due to the site’s permanent structure and immobility of the stationary crusher units. A mobile unit will have much shorter runs but will see increased cycles and revolutions on conveyor belts.

Conveyor length helps to determine the specification requirements of a conveyor belt, with many of these properties relating directly to cost. For instance, longer conveyor belts see heavier loads with fewer cycles and require a stronger belt carcass with a robust connection method at the belt ends. Shorter conveyors require a more durable cover compound with increased flexibility on the carcass and at the connection of the belt ends due to the increased cycles.

Mobile units, particularly, require a conveyor belt with the strength to resist impacts, punctures and gouges, but also the flexibility to perform under accelerated cycles.
Belt thickness and mass, in this case, become critical as mobile units have a limited power source to operate. Therefore, the belt needs to be light and flexible while maintaining high-strength properties to achieve peak-system efficiency.

How do differences impact the conveyor system?

Say two similar conveyors are running the same products with conveyor belts that also share similar performance specifications, but Belt A weighed 25 percent less in mass than Belt B. Energy efficiency on the conveyor with Belt A would decrease by 40 percent and reduce the wear and tear on the conveyor system’s bearings and rollers. Belt A will be saving money even when it’s running empty in comparison to Belt B.

Maximizing profitability is achievable with a basic understanding of belt concepts and principles, as well as a healthy relationship with a qualified belting supplier.

In the end, conveyor belting is one of the most expensive individual components of any conveyor system. Sourcing the most optimal belt for an application based on its requirements will more than pay for itself in the long run.

Mike Schroeder is a product specialist at WCCO Belting.

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