Africa|Coal|Conveyors|Health|Innovation|Mining|Risk Management|Safety|System|Technology|Tunnelling|Underground|Equipment|Maintenance|Tunnelling|Cables|Operations
Africa|Coal|Conveyors|Health|Innovation|Mining|Risk Management|Safety|System|Technology|Tunnelling|Underground|Equipment|Maintenance|Tunnelling|Cables|Operations

Conveyor monitoring system successfully trialled

Mining materials conveyor belt with Aura IQ Conveyor Health Monitoring

CLOUD-BASED MONITORING The system uses fiber optic technology, advanced signal processing algorithms and predictive analysis, along with cloud-based analysis, reporting and alerts

13th August 2021

By: Cameron Mackay

Creamer Media Senior Online Writer


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Mining technologies supplier Strata Worldwide partnered with fibre-optic company Future Fibre Technologies (FFT) to conduct a successful trial of FFT’s Aura IQ conveyor health monitoring system at a local coal mine.

“The installations were done on conveyors above and below ground. Owing to the success of this trial, which started last year, the mine has discussed having the system installed on equipment at three additional mine sites,” says Strata Worldwide South Africa GM Ian Cillie.

The Aura IQ system is designed to use real-time data to enhance asset management, improve reliability and introduce new predictive capabilities for monitoring the condition of conveyor belts.

Cillie says it is the only system of its kind that uses fibre-optic cables and photonic sensing technology to perform predictive maintenance on conveyors.

Conveyor belt roller failure can cause damage to assets and result in downtime for an operation. It can also potentially cause explosions or fires from the excessive friction and heat build-up that occurs because of an inactive roller.

The Aura IQ solution can quickly and safely identify and classify specific early-stage conveyor roller failure types and causes, providing unique and timely data for improved and more efficient maintenance. This can help to improve operational performance and enhance health, safety and risk management, adds Cillie.

The data can be integrated into on-site reporting and planned maintenance schedules. This capability reduces costs by eliminating unplanned maintenance work, consequently extending the life cycle of idlers.

Cillie explains that the system proactively tracks the health of rollers to ensure that they are not at risk of failure, which helps prevent issues that occur as a result of roller wear such as belt slippage, mistracking, splice strain and motor or pulley overload conditions.

The Aura IQ system’s predictive maintenance capability enables mine operators to identify which sections of the belt require attention and plan downtime for repair or replacement before parts fail.

Strata president and CEO Mike Berube remarks that the system also protects the workers: “Walking the belt for visual and auditory inspection is tiring and becomes virtually impossible in bad weather and on challenging terrain. The traditional methods for manually checking belts are time-consuming and arduous. This technology takes the burden off workers, and the guesswork out of maintenance”.

FFT Group head of innovation Andrew Hames elaborates on how Aura IQ uses the latest technology, including artificial intelligence, to replace the labour-intensive manual process.

“Maintenance staff walk kilometres of conveyor belt with infrared cameras, handheld audible devices and for visual inspections, looking for subjective indications of failed rollers, and then marking each for follow-up. Aura IQ tracks failure progression and flags wear causes, failure types and wear status, and shows operators where to find faults.”

Meanwhile, Strata Worldwide signed a new premium partnership agreement with FFT in May this year to distribute its Aura IQ system to mining and tunnelling operations.

“Predictability and reduced downtime for maintenance result in a rapid return on investment. We are thrilled to be the first to offer this technology to our mining and tunnelling customers.

“We’ve become known for our development of leading-edge underground communication and monitoring networks, and the Aura IQ system is an ideal complement,” concludes Berube.

Edited by Nadine James
Features Deputy Editor



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