Conveyor belt systems comprise a fundamental means of transferring bulk materials throughout industry. Typically, they are subjected to very high levels of utilisation and, because of their criticality to process flow, high reliability is demanded. Currently preventative approaches to the maintenance of conveyor systems are implemented in the majority of applications, in which time-based intervention intervals are applied. The effectiveness of time-based intervals can be limited, as their premise is based upon an assumption that asset condition is solely a function of operating time. In practice degradation of systems is primarily a function of usage, affected by intensity as well as duration of operation. Consequentially, this paper aims to investigate the feasibility of inferring the usage of a conveyor belt system from observation of changes in drive motor electrical power consumption and speed, to support improvements in maintenance effectiveness.
First, an industrial conveyor belt system is instrumented, and a range of test scenarios are designed such that the responses of parameters to various system usage patterns can be characterised. Through inspection of these responses it is found that the monitored parameters do show sensitivity to changes in operational conditions such as utilisation, inclination and loading events, and it is therefore feasible to infer conveyor belt system usage from motor power consumption and speed only. Next, a series of proxies for describing system usage are then proposed, as a means of transforming raw parameters into usage profiles. Finally, the technical challenges facing an industrial implementation of the proposed approach are discussed, and consideration given to how usage information may provide value to operators outside of maintenance.
How to Cite
Condition Monitoring, Maintenance, Conveyor Belt Systems, Electrical Power Signature Analysis
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