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Quarries are on a roll with polymer

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In the quarry industry, high-density polymer conveyor rollers are increasingly appreciated for their OH&S value as well as for asset protection and spillage control.

The Readymix Pakenham quarry is one example.

Commissioned in 1972, the existing crushing plant at the Pakenham quarry processes extensive older basalt reserves. The 1050mm wide rising conveyor from the jaw crusher was chosen to first incorporate the use of the K-Polymer conveyor rollers supplied by Kinder & Co.

Kinder & Co boss Neil Kinder tells Australian Mining that the quarry chose the rollers because of their significantly lighter weight and, therefore, safer handling.

“Conveyor C4 is a 1050mm belt using heavy-duty rollers 127mm in diameter by 383mm face width,” Kinder says.

“Conveyor maintenance with roller change-out is a constant requirement. Steel rollers are heavy; especially the return rollers as these are often positioned in inaccessible places.

“Pakenham quarry management is always reviewing safe weight limits on all materials handled by personnel from laboratory samples to conveyor rollers. Conveyor rollers can fall outside of the safe weight limit because of the difficulty in installation,” he says.

The K-Polymer trough rollers lower lifting weight from 6.7 to 3.3kg. For the return application and most difficult to manoeuvre and install, weight reduces from 19kg (steel) to 8.96kg (K-Polymer).

At Boral Linwood quarry the existing crushing plant was commissioned in 1986 to crush its extensive dolomitic silt stone reserves. The plant has two conveyors where they are replacing steel rollers with polymer rollers.

Conveyor C1 is a 1200mm belt conveying -300mm product direct from the crusher while conveyor C1A is a 750mm belt conveying -150mm pre-screened product. Their combined output is about 500tph operating 10 hours a day.

“This high productivity means the conveyor hardware is subject to continuous loading on the steel rollers. Conveyor maintenance with roller change-out is again a constantly required,” Kinder says.

“As the existing damaged steel rollers fail they are being replaced with the K-Polymer rollers because they are lightweight and non-corrosive.”

Quarry manager Adam Betterman says the price is comparable to steel and they seem to be performing as well as steel, but time will tell us the true value of the product.

“Staff prefers manoeuvring these as they are a third of the weight of steel rollers. That makes a big difference, especially on the C1 conveyor 1200 belt,” Betterman says.

“The management has more peace of mind because personnel handling the rollers are much less likely to sustain a back injury,” he says.

As is known, when steel rollers do fail they often produce sharp rotating edges that can cut and rip conveyor belts at considerable cost and cause unscheduled shut down.

In addition, a cut conveyor belt travelling at high speed can pose a significant safety risk for plant operators and maintenance personnel.

“Because the K-Polymer rollers are plastic, if they do seize they don’t damage our expensive belts, which pretty much guarantees them an extended lifespan with far less unscheduled maintenance,” Betterman says.

Another advantage of polymer rollers is their resistance to the build up of material, which is primary cause of belt mis-tracking, spillage and leakage.

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