Stainless steel could prove to be the missing link between existing high-cost conveyor transfer points in coal mines and new, more reliable and productive systems.
That is the belief of Australian company Engineering Services and Supplies (ESS), which has been trialing its new stainless steel skirting system at an unnamed Hunter Valley mine. About 52m of corroded mild steel skirting was replaced with the ESS 2000 product, installed in a single eight-hour shift by two ESS service technicians.
According to ESS, positive results were immediate and ongoing due to the bevelled-edge design of its skirting rubber, which it says eliminates normal "wearing in". The ESS 2000 skirting also features captive wedge clamps and access slots which are said to allow rapid and easy adjustment and replacement when necessary. Because the rubber seal has a low profile, it can be adjusted to conform to the belt profile and so maintain an optimum, continuous seal.
The Australian agent for US-based Martin Engineering, ESS specialises in the fields of conveyor belt cleaning and spillage containment. It has gradually added a large range of locally developed and manufactured products, specifically designed to suit Australian mine conditions, to its product line-up. A company spokesman said while there had been few radical developments in conveyor and conveyor transfer point design over the years, the need to replace conventional steel skirting systems with something more durable and cost effective had been apparent for some time.
Depending on the material being conveyed, mild steel skirting could corrode badly after a relatively short time, leading to high maintenance, clean up, product loss and component replacement costs. The new ESS 2000 stainless steel skirting is said to be robust but compact, making it easy to retrofit in confined spaces and restrictive configurations, and ideal for all troughing angles. The long-lasting skirting is easy to install and cheap to maintain.
An ESS spokesman said the Hunter Valley mine now specified ESS 2000 skirting for all new and retrofit installations.