Global Bulk materials handling solutions provider Martin Engineering is deeply invested in the development of technology that improves bulk material handling performance.
A primary focus of Martin Engineering’s research and development is the control of fugitive material – as fugitive material has a direct and measurable impact on productivity and safety within the mining industry.
This article first appeared in Mining Elites in Africa 2019
According to Martin Engineering’s global chief technical officer Paul Harrison, the advent of more intelligent automated control systems, which make it easier for things to be measured, and subsequently managed, is proving to be an invaluable tool in the evolution of the mining industry.
“Like any industry, mining must continually evolve and improve in order to deliver the greatest return on investment. Measurement of mining processes typically occurs in large amounts: tons of ore per hour, megawatts of power consumed, etc.
“This has been part of normal operations when humans are the primary monitors of the processes involved, but we are limited in the amount of information we can take in, as is our ability to absorb that data and make informed decisions,” Harrison explains.
However, the advent of more intelligent automated control systems is making it easier to process greater amounts of information.
“These systems and the additional tools that evolve from them allow us to simultaneously monitor hundreds of parameters that have the potential to further modernise mining operations,” he notes.
From extraction to hauling, sensors are now able to provide information about the condition of vital equipment. In doing so, equipment can be used to generate greater revenue to the point where predictable maintenance needs become apparent.
While this helps to avoid unplanned shutdowns and improve safety, it also provides an opportunity to detect previously unknown defects and address them before a crisis occurs.
“With the level of sophistication in new and evolving software and control, this monitoring can all be done with little or no human intervention. All of this increases profit and reduces the need for manpower,” says Harrison.
With the push toward wider and higher-speed conveyors the need to control fugitive material, dust and spillage is greater than ever, says Harris.
As a result, Martin Engineering are focused on building more reliable components, such as idlers, impact beds, chutes and transfer points.
One such design is a Primary Belt Cleaner that features a matrix of tungsten carbide scrapers installed diagonally to form a three-dimensional curve around the head pulley.
The company’s field service division has determined that it typically delivers up to four-times the service life of urethane primary cleaners, without ever needing re-tensioning.
Moreover, in a bid to prevent on-site service issues, Martin Engineering is supplying heavy-duty engineered polyurethane blades made to order and cut onsite to ensure the freshest and longest lasting product, with a minimum of spare parts storage.
In addition, new belt centering devices can now use the power generated by the moving belt to deliver immediate and continuous precision adjustment of hard-to-track reversing conveyors, helping operators reduce spillage and extend the life of belts and other system components.
Adding to its already impressive product offering, Martin Engineering will soon introduce to the US market, a brand new belt cleaner tensioning design.
This device will deliver even more effective belt cleaning performance than has been possible to date, and will also have the ability to inform operators about the status of the system. The design is expected to be commercially available in early 2019.
Also in 2019, Martin Engineering will look to grow its African footprint. The company will expand its presence in East and West Africa by establishing partnerships with locally based companies and improving product support in these two regions, says Martin Engineering manager for sales and flow aids for sub-Sahara Africa Pieter Opperman.
Meanwhile, in sub-Saharan Africa, Martin Engineering will also focus on strengthening local partnerships while driving the brand awareness around its flow aid product lines, including Air Cannons and Smart Series Nozzles, owing to the large cement industries in the region.