Implementing a plan for proper Load Zone operation
Today’s aggregate industry is filled with challenges. Foremost, to produce enough aggregate for cement, asphalt and other products for homes, businesses, schools, hospitals, and infrastructures. Also, operators must address environmental responsibility concerns that dictate the use of best practices to protect both natural resources and future generations of citizens.
Problems associated with material spillage and dust in the load zone transfer points can cause the following maintenance problems:
- Material build-up on the idlers can cause them to fail prematurely;
- Material build-up in the tail pulley can cause punctures to the bottom cover of the conveyor belt and tracking issues;
- Material build-up around the tail pulley bearings can cause them to fail prematurely;
- Bellowing dust can cause scrutiny from outside groups and low employee moral;
- Safety concerns may stem from trying to clean-up material spillage if the conveyor is running; and
- Loss of saleable materials
A six step plan:
Through collaboration, the team drafted six criteria for proper operation of load zones. Those criteria include the following:
The conveyor belt must be centered around the tail pulley and throughout the load zone.
The impact from the load must be minimized and centered on the receiving conveyor belt.
Internal skirtboard lines must be made out of an abrasion- and impact-resistant material and be within 1 inch of the conveyor belt.
Skirtboards should have a quick-release clamp design to be able to quickly adjust and change out the skirting material as it wears.
The skirting material should be a resistant to cuts and abrasion while maintaining a overall softer durometer than the conveyor belt.
The system should feature a durable design.
By paying attention to proper loading processes, crushed aggregate, hot-mix asphalt, read-mixed concrete companies are able to prevent material spillage, eliminate unplanned downtime, and focus on production and other challenges facing today’s operators.