Every day countless tons of bulk material are handled.
From coal and lignite mines, the cement industry, quarries and tunnels, as well as salt works, fertiliser producers, sugar factories, steelworks, power stations, recycling plants and demolition sites, not forgetting ports and terminals; all these applications need exceptionally reliable transportation systems capable of providing the best possible solutions for the specific requirements of the material handled and the environment in which they are installed.
As well as the quantity of material transported, it is also necessary to consider all possible critical factors. Dusty, abrasive, corrosive and very damp environments are just some of the situations that need to be tackled and assessed in the design stage.
This is why a product such as the RULMECA Motorised Pulley is so often chosen. Thanks to its characteristics, unlike traditional drives, the RULMECA Motorised Pulley guarantees durability, safety and operational continuity even in extremely critical conditions.
Below are a number of experiences that have contributed to making RULMECA one of the most important manufacturers in the world for rollers and components for conveyor belts for the handling of bulk material.
Traditional system with external gear motor.
Traditional transportation systems are characterised by the installation of motors mounted to the belt flange.
It is a very simple system that however presents a number of problems that are not to be underestimated in the design stage. In fact, these motors are often fitted with cooling fins that, with various types of material, can become obstructed during operations, risking damage to the motor. In these cases, constant maintenance is essential in order to avoid possible damage leading to components breaking and, in worst-case scenarios, system downtime.
RULMECA’s new generation of Motorised Pulleys have been designed and manufactured in such a way that all of the components (motor and transmission) are integrated inside the product. They are practically dust, water and oil proof, and also resistant to other substances, and are capable of operating for years without any particular form of maintenance.
Protection against corrosion and abrasion
RULMECA Motorised Pulleys have passed the test with flying colours in the Louisiana salt mines in the USA, where corrosion and abrasion caused by the damp atmosphere can appear to be a problem that is impossible to solve.
Cargill Deicing is a deep salt mine and barge loading terminal in Avery Island, Louisiana, USA.
Cargill has standardized on two RULMECA Motorized Pulley models (i.e. 500M & 630H) to limit the number of spares protecting the system.
Special features incorporated into the Cargill Motorized Pulleys include inorganic zinc rich primer, 12 mils of Carboline Carbomastic CM15FC paint, regreasable labyrinth seals and stainless steel shafts.
The paint system protects steel and cast iron surfaces while the labyrinth seals provide a grease barrier to protect all double lip shaft seals. In addition, Class H motors and synthetic oil protect the drive system from the heat of the Louisiana marshland climate.
From Avery Island to Seward, Alaska conveyor operators are discovering that RULMECA Motorized Pulleys improve system reliability while decreasing maintenance expense.
Protection against occasional flooding
Another example of application is the Buzzi Unicem USA cement works, which has modernised the conveyor in its tunnels in order to resolve a number of operational problems.
These problems included production delays (due to inadequate power to start the conveyor under full load), severe belt bounce during “empty belt” start-up, and occasional tunnel flooding due to a high water table and heavy rains.
The company chose RULMECA Motorised Pulleys following its experience with smaller Motorised Plleys from the company employed in other systems.
The fact that the product is hermetically sealed proved fundamental for two main reasons: the abrasive nature of lime and the occasional flooding of the tunnels.
All the components of the Motorised Pulleys are sealed inside. The units are lighter than traditional drive systems, and thanks to their set-up they can also handle highly abrasive products.
Despite suffering flooding during occasional rainstorms, the drive system was not damaged, demonstrating that the internal hermetic seals managed to pass this test.
Aggressive chemical products
PT Petrokimia Gresik in Indonesia is another client that has been convinced of the quality and reliability of RULMECA Motorised Pulleys. Among other products, the company, situated 50 km from Surabaya on the island of Java, produces nitrogen fertiliser from urea.
The decision was made to install RULMECA Motorised Pulleys in this plant in order to use mechanical parts that are resistant to the aggressive chemical properties of the materials.
Quality and reliability in conditions of standard use
Not all systems have particular requirements, but even in normal situations, component durability is a fundamental factor. Return on investment is undoubtedly an essential consideration.
The use of exceptionally durable and quality products guarantees a reliable system.
The efficiency of these components also means that ecological aspects are considered. The use of more efficient electric motors has a positive influence on CO2 emissions.
The experiences described above highlight the importance of choosing a quality product with characteristics that guarantee durability in extremely critical environments such as fertiliser manufacture, salt mining, and areas characterised by extreme damp as well as corrosive and abrasive materials.
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