Carryback can be a common occurrence at heavy-duty belt conveyor operations. But overlook it at your own risk. If the problem continues unchecked, you could be losing valuable product off of the belt. You could be sacrificing valuable equipment and manpower to clean it up. Most significantly, you could be compromising employee safety.
Your Hidden Cost
This was the reality for one sand and gravel operation that was routinely faced with carryback and how to address it. Employee time was wasted as two workers and a skid steer were tied up for the majority of each day with the sole task of cleaning carryback from under the belt. The inefficient use of manpower hours that could have been better allocated to other tasks – combined with the loss of product – was having a noticeable impact on the operation’s bottom line.
However, the greatest concern was the impact to employee safety. Cleanup efforts were causing repeat injuries for workers, including hand and back pain resulting from hours shoveling carryback. The operation knew that poorly performing belt cleaners were ultimately the cause of carryback, but didn’t have the time to manually monitor each cleaner and determine those in need of maintenance.
Our Found Solution
After meeting with a Flexco representative, the operation soon learned that the Flexco Elevate™ IOT platform could deliver the automated, real-time belt cleaner monitoring capability they needed to maintain their cleaners. State-of-the-art Flexco Elevate™ i3 Devices attached to the end of cleaners monitor performance and wirelessly transmit data to a cloud-based dashboard accessible remotely. As intelligence is gathered over time, the platform can help operations better predict and plan for maintenance needs.
The sand and gravel operation initiated a trial with Flexco, installing i3 Devices on eight Flexco belt cleaners mounted across the operation’s five conveyors experiencing the most carryback. As the team monitored data from the i3 Dashboard, it was able to prioritize cleaners causing carryback problems and assign maintenance accordingly.
Add It Up
After a 60-day trial of Flexco Elevate™, the carryback had declined significantly. The team estimated it reclaimed what amounted to 8,500 tons of annual throughput that had been wasted by falling off the belts. At a value of $7 per ton of sand and gravel, the estimated annual savings totaled $60,000.
More importantly, the operation was able to minimize maintenance time and the associated injuries. Through predictive maintenance and the ability to prioritize repairs, the operation was able to reallocate more than 12 hours per day of valuable manpower hours to other critical tasks. This represented a conservative $17,000 in added labor value within the first 60 days alone.
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.