Working in isolation

WHILE its conveyor remote isolation system is winning friends in the iron ore sector, a Western Australian company remains hopeful of cracking the coal market too.
Working in isolation Working in isolation Working in isolation Working in isolation Working in isolation

An iron ore shiploader at BHP Billiton's Pilbara operations

Staff Reporter

ICM Group developed the Remsafe remote isolation system that can fully isolate an 8000 tonne per hour conveyor system in three minutes.

It also can de-isolate the system in the same amount of time.

That is a big improvement on the 50 minutes it can take to isolate such a conveyor system using conventional systems and another 50 minutes to de-isolate.

Those 100 minutes add up to 13,000t of lost production. That is on top of the time it takes to fix whatever problem required the conveyor to be shut down at the time.

ICM’s latest Remsafe order was from BHP Billiton and the FAST JV for the overland conveyor at BHP’s Rapid Growth project 6 Jimblebar expansion, which is the second phase of a $1.3 million contract ICM has at Jimblebar.

The Remsafe system will be incorporated in the design of the 6km overland conveyor at Jimblebar to reduce conveyor downtime for maintenance and other tasks.

ICM Group executive director and chief executive officer Mike Lane said Remsafe removed the waiting time for authorised personnel to travel to substations to operate electrical isolators.

“To comply with the highest standards for machine safety, BHP requires their Remsafe remote isolation system to isolate drive energy at two independent points, to monitor for the presence of voltage, to include self-diagnostics and to be fail safe,” Lane said.

“Our internal design brief includes delivering a production tool that will pay for itself by the second time it is operated and be able to achieve a SIL3/CAT4 safety rating.”

Lane told International Longwall News the company had three prototypes of its Remsafe operating in the Pilbara and now had a commercial product.

“This system can be used for any conveyor carrying any dry bulk material,” he said.

“We have inquiries from the coal industry that we’re working through.”

Indeed, ICM was speaking to coal producers in Queensland a couple of years ago but the rain events that blighted the state washed those opportunities away.

The Jimblebar remote isolate system will be driven by the Rockwell Automation GuardLogix safety programmable logic controller.

It uses the Cisco Industrial Ethernet platform for fibre optic redundant ring communications.

Remsafe also works with other safety-rated control and communications platforms.

All three drives on the Jimblebar overland conveyor can be isolated in three minutes or less from any one of five remote isolation stations next to the conveyor.

Remsafe provides a full current isolation to all drives, not just a control circuit isolation.

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