Carryback doesn’t have to be an accepted part of doing business at your aggregate operation. Left unchecked, it will limit your production and cost you big money. If your belt cleaners are treated as an afterthought, you could literally be dumping money on the ground. That was the case for one Flexco customer that would learn carryback was creating a million-dollar problem.
Your Hidden Cost
A large US aggregate operation was struggling to manage the 60 Flexco belt cleaners utilized throughout its site without a regular maintenance program in place. While belt cleaners can regularly become disengaged due to day-to-day operations, the maintenance team on this site was unable to service them in a timely manner. The customer estimated that at any given time, 30-40% of its 60 cleaners were disengaged and not functioning properly. Sound familiar?
While it can be easy to overlook belt cleaners as just one small piece of a much larger puzzle, they play a critical role at your operation. These cleaners prevent carryback that can not only impact your throughput, but can also require frequent cleanup, cause premature belt wear and even threaten your workers’ safety. When functioning properly, precleaners can remove large pieces of material that account for up to 70% of initial carryback, and secondary cleaners scrape remaining materials, increasing cleaning efficiency to more than 90%. Without properly working cleaners, carryback can create huge, costly problems for you, as it had with our aggregate customer.
Our Found Solution
After consulting with the operation, Flexco determined that this customer was an ideal candidate for Flexco Elevate™, the first remote belt cleaner monitoring technology of its kind. The operation was in need of the real-time belt cleaner performance monitoring that Flexco Elevate™ provides, as well as the unmatched level of insights and alerts to potential maintenance issues it can deliver for every Flexco cleaner across the site. Prior to conducting a complete installation, 20 belt cleaners were identified at random and equipped with a rugged i3 Device to be monitored on a trial basis. Because Flexco Elevate™ offers the industry’s only technology capable of remotely monitoring precleaners and secondary cleaners, Flexco was able to install the devices across both cleaner types currently employed at the operation, including some that couldn’t be monitored this closely through manual inspections.
Installation was fast and seamless, and within minutes the i3 Devices were gathering data and wirelessly transferring it to the Flexco Elevate™ i3 Dashboard monitored remotely by the operation’s maintenance team. In a matter of days, the team was able to identify belt cleaners in need of inspection, gather critical intelligence about the factors causing the belts to disengage and use that insight to proactively service the cleaners. For the cleaners that did become disengaged, Flexco Elevate™ alerted the team and allowed members to more quickly respond.
Add It Up
The data insights gathered from just 20 of the operation’s belt cleaners helped this aggregate operation realize ROI from day one. Using weigh scale measurements from before and after the i3 Device installation, the site noticed a 0.6% improvement in production output as a result of decreased carryback. For an operation producing an average of 10 million tons per year, valued at $17 per ton, this equates to an average of more than $1 million in reclaimed production per year with potential for even greater improvement with a complete installation across all cleaners.
Want to learn more? Download our infographic detailing this case study, and complete our Readiness Checklist to see if your operation might be ready to benefit from the predictive insights of Flexco Elevate™.
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.