In large, heavy-duty operations, preventing belt conveyor failure or unexpected downtime is critical. Time is money, and knowing exactly when and where to deploy maintenance resources can save you both. Traditional belt inspection methods dictate that your employees must physically walk the line, covering large amounts of the site to manually inspect each belt cleaner. This is taking them away from other critical tasks. One Flexco customer found that partnering with us to utilize a smarter solution transformed the entire process, significantly saving money on manual inspections and allowing the reallocation of resources.
Your Hidden Cost
In order to keep things running smoothly, operations typically task on-site employees with monitoring belt cleaner performance throughout their operations. One large hard rock mining site relied on a single full-time employee (FTE) to manually inspect, monitor and perform basic maintenance tasks on all the belt cleaners on site. This presented a challenge, as the operation had many long conveyors, some in excess of 500 meters. Because of this, physically walking the lines and driving around the site monopolized the employee’s valuable time to perform the necessary inspections. Time the employee and the operation could have redirected to other equally critical tasks.
After diagnosing any problems, the employee was also expected to relay and coordinate all of the required replacement parts with purchasing to ensure they were on site and ready for scheduled maintenance shutdowns. And, while this method allowed the operation to identify short-term needs for maintenance priorities and replacement parts, it was not conducive to predicting future belt-cleaner performance or providing insight on where along the lines the next issue might arise.
Our Found Solution
Flexco Elevate™, an intelligent digital learning system that allows operations to remotely and in real-time monitor belt cleaner performance, proved to be the technological innovation this mining customer was seeking. Not only did Flexco Elevate™ empower the operation to more efficiently utilize employee time, the data insights it provided also maximized belt conveyor productivity and the ability to more accurately predict future belt cleaner maintenance issues.
Flexco partnered with the customer to install i3 Devices on 24 belt cleaners within the operation, which then immediately began gathering data using cutting-edge analytics. The data was accessed remotely from an intuitive, interactive dashboard and provided critical information such as belt cleaner engagement, belt and cleaner run times, blade wear, abnormal event notifications and cleaner spring tensioner reminders. The system saved precious labor time the FTE had previously spent on manually walking the lines, visually inspecting for problems.
By taking advantage of the easily installed Flexco Elevate™ system, which uses the power of predictive data to get smarter the more it is utilized, the operation projected an increase in efficiency by understanding exactly where and when the FTE should spend their time.
Add It Up
Flexco Elevate™ quickly proved to be a smart choice for this operation and demonstrated clear cost benefits and more efficient use of the employee’s time. Two months after implementing Flexco Elevate™, the time needed by the FTE to manually inspect the belt cleaners was cut in half. Because of this, in time alone, $35,000 in annual available labor was created.
Another demonstrable result of utilizing Flexco Elevate™ was its ability to predict future belt cleaner performance and proactively address issues before they necessitated a sudden, costly line shut-down for unexpected maintenance. Sixty days post implementation, the operation determined it saved $16,000 in maintenance labor after the inspections.
Flexco Elevate™ allows customers to transform the way they operate with innovative technology designed to allow them to achieve optimal efficiency and enhanced operational success. To learn how Flexco Elevate™ can take your operation up a notch, contact your Flexco representative.
Authored by: Ryan Grevenstuk, Director of Marketing – Heavy Duty
Ryan Grevenstuk is responsible for strategic global business and market plans, industry and market research, new product development, customer relationship management, and technical support for the heavy-duty product lines at Flexco.