The driving force behind this project was initiated out of a safety issue. The existing bucket design would require 3 to 4 operators to manually flip the buckets, which would put the operators in a dangerous position, as the buckets are very heavy and could cause an injury during the process of flipping the bucket to change direction. Therefore, corrective actions resulting from an incident investigation were to redesign and re-engineer the bucket to enable the bucket wheel to change direction without flipping the buckets. Due to the split design of the new bucket, the challenge was to ensure the same tonnage would flow thru the bucket without any restriction.
The existing bucket wheel was modeled and a 3-DEM analysis was performed to establish a baseline of existing performance levels. We then incorporated the client’s models of the new split bucket design into the 3-DEM simulation and then compared the differences between the two designs and provided data to the client to show the results of the simulations. The client was able to view the results and make modifications to their design to improve the material flow and capacity.
After the new split buckets were installed on the bucket reclaimer, they were able to realize the time-savings of not having the maintenance downtime to flip the buckets, while maintaining the same capacity. They also found another benefit to the split bucket was that it evened out the distribution of the material on the belt, previously with the original bucket, when the material was transferred to the conveyor belt it would leave piles of material on the belt and, with the split bucket the material was more evenly distributed on the belt. Therefore, reducing the impact and wear on the belt.
Challenge: This transfer point was a major problem area for the coal company. While in reclaiming operation, the chute would build up and plug when running wet coal or during freezing conditions. Chute heaters, vibrators and internal baffles were added but the problem still remained. Due to the angle of discharge onto the 60” receiving conveyor, off center loading caused serious belt miss-tracking and constant spillage.