Conveyor belt monitoring

2022-10-30

Robust solutions are needed for critical production lines and harsch environments. Process industry companies, such as mining companies, want to take the next optimization steps and improve their use of resources by early detection of deviations. If deviations are not detected quickly, there is a risk of breakdowns and wasted product that must be re-processed. An unplanned stop also represent a risk for the workers.


Production availability is one of the most important performance indicators

The overall site performance can be described in many parameters, but one of the most common is to track the production availability, how much % of the production time that is used. Every stop, both planned maintenance and breakdowns, cause costly downtime. If something has happened with a critical line, it can cause a total stop in production. Every hour the production is stopped can be explained in costs and following consequences. Although the production has been almost fully automated, operators have an important responsibility to keep track of the production flow and react early if deviations occur.

To prevent breakdowns and deviations, industrial sites use measurements tools and video cameras, the same cameras that have been around industries for a long time. Almost all control rooms are covered by screens that show different parts of the production and activities combined with other measurement data. It is an overload of information and data provided to the operator in charge. Smart video and AI are not adopted as much as in other industries. The need for robustness sets high requirements on the technical solutions, especially when introducing new technologies.

Lidar technology analyzes the material and production flow in real-time and 3D, which creates new opportunities to detetct devations, more detailed and earlier than an operator could.

Start to track these parameters to prevent downtime

The lidar sensor is constantly scanning its environment with thousands of measurements that create a 3D model. This allows analysis in terms of volumes, shapes, and distances, compared to video analysis. To detect devations and potential breakdowns early, we need to look at both the conveyor belt and the material.

Analysis of how the belt is moving can be used to detect changes early, and plan maintenance of the belt before damage occurs. Parameters that are used to analyze the belt movements are side movements, velocity (an indication can prevent fires), and more visible belt damage

Material parameters that can be tracked to prevent breakdowns are spillage, overfillment, particle size distribution, top size estimation, volume flow, and detection of foreign objects.   

Conveyor belts are often the cause of downtime, accidents, and loss of productivity

In all process industries that are handle raw material, there are a magnitude of transportation solutions. The conveyor belts are often subject for extreme wear and operation in harsch environments. Many incidents are related to the transportation of the material, which requires good maintenance planning and early detection of deviation. Flasheye lidar monitoring provides the early warnings needed to take the right actions before damage occurs.

Since the lidar sensors monitor both the belt and the surrounding environment and do not breach the laws of GDPR, the industrial customer could set up safety zones close to the conveyor belts. The safety can be increased in two ways, 1) Increased control of the production let the workers stay in safe environments during operation and 2) If workers need to be present, machines can be stopped if dangerous movements are detected in the safety zones.      

A conveyor belt and its surrounding environment is monitored with an actively sensing lidar sensor.

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