Using conveyor covers to reduce dust and enhance safety


Tuesday, 12 April, 2022


Using conveyor covers to reduce dust and enhance safety

Conveyor belts can be used to convey a variety of bulk materials; in the process, they are exposed to constant and unrelenting environmental conditions, such as extreme wind, precipitation, heat and humidity. This can damage the conveyor belt and its conveyed materials. The harsh conditions conveyor belts are exposed to can lead to the issues of material runback and damaging material spillage, having negative impacts to productivity targets and operational bottom lines. Selecting and installing the correct conveyor belt cover for specific applications and environmental exposure is critical. For applications where a consistent and high-quality finished product is imperative, conveyor belt covers act as protective barriers.

Keeping conveyor belts completely covered with the use of conveyor covers results in less wear on critical high-performance conveyor components and the conveyor belt itself. Due to the overall reduced weight of installed conveyor components, protection provided from the conveyor belt covers can improve the service life of the conveyor hardware and the conveyor belt.

Dust becomes a concern when it becomes fugitive and airborne, increasing costs along every step in the production process. There are also the ongoing costs and additional maintenance resources allocated to cleaning up dust and personal protective equipment required by workers when dust is not contained effectively. Many operators have turned to conveyor belt covers as an economical, effective and safe solution for dust containment and airborne dust reduction. By covering up conveyor belts, the chance of dust emissions going outside the boundaries and negatively impacting nearby residents, communities and ecosystems is minimised and the health and longevity of these communities remains intact. The ability to suppress dust emissions makes conveyor belt covers an asset to the conveyor and a useful OHS implement. Uncontained, excessive dust in the air leaves operators exposed to potential health hazards. Long-term inhalation of dust can lead to potentially irreversible lung damage and diseases such as silicosis.

Durability, lightweight, aero-dynamic materials and ease of maintenance access are important aspects to look for when considering which conveyor belt cover is suitable. Conveyor belt covers can be designed and manufactured using a range of high-performance materials including galvanised steel, pre-lacquered steel, stainless steel and aluminium, and fibre-reinforced polyester. From these engineered materials, conveyor belt covers can be designed for any size, shape and application, as well as to suit the varying extremes of weather that the conveyor belt is exposed to and the level of protection required.

Traditional conveyor belt covers are high strength and versatile, shielding the entire conveyor belt from all weather conditions and suppressing dust emissions. Some also feature a lock/hinge system, which is designed to withstand the extremities of heat, wind, humidity and precipitation over long periods. Conveyor covers that are hinged on both sides provide ongoing access and simple maintenance from both sides of the conveyor. Like conveyor covers, service props and struts also come in varying designs, shapes and sizes. These tools allow operators to gain access inside the cover to conduct routine maintenance. Service props are fully adjustable systems that hold up the conveyor belt cover safely and securely, enabling maintenance inside the covers to be performed easily. Conveyor covers are designed to provide protection from nature’s harsh elements, while also keeping materials contained within.

Image credit: Kinder Australia

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