The Essential Air Seal, designed with a combination of products provided by Kinder Australia, has opened up a new way of suppressing dust within quarries.
Providing the Essential Air Seal, a combination of specialised products that provide the ultimate dust seal around conveyors, Kinder is helping increase the efficiency and longevity of conveyor systems.
Rather than contacting the conveyor belt, the seal suspends over the belt with zero contact, thus eliminating skirt friction and damage to the conveyor belt.
Traditional transfer points rely on a rubber or polyurethane soft skirting system to make contact with the conveyor. The solution from Kinder, however, hovers one millimetre (mm) above the surface of the belt, ensuring that the dust remains inside the system.
Quarry had the chance to speak to Kinder Australia’s business development manager, Sean Kinder, on how the multiple parts work together to form the Essential Air Seal system.
“The Essential Air Seal has come to be,” Sean said, “because of innovative European technology that we have found to complement our Kinder products.”
“We first became aware of the AirScrape and TailScrape technologies from Germany as a part of our research and development. From there, we began looking for specific products to complement our range.”
The system’s design starts with the AirScrape, a contact-free conveyor skirting and sealing system that acts as a side seal suspended over the conveyor belt. TailScrape, a proprietary and intelligent blade structure, combines with a K-Containment seal and a K-Sure belt support system from Kinder to form what Sean described as the “ultimate team of dust suppressing products.”
“The arrangement of the lamellae, together with the movement of the material and belt, increases the suction effect, which in turn, keeps fine dust particles within the conveyor section,” he added.
“AirScrape works best with the one mm air gap underneath it and to do that, Kinder Australia’s K-Sure belt support system has provided the best support to enable the AirScrape to work as intended.”
According to Sean, designs for the equipment making up the Essential Air Seal system came as a part of a significant interest in contact-free skirting technology from Kinder’s customers. Switching to contactless design has many benefits for the industry, as Sean explained.
“The service life of the belt and conveyor components has been drastically extended and with that lessened damage to equipment. We have also been able to generate improved safety outcomes.”
The Essential Air Seal system is suited for the wider quarrying and aggregates industry, but has found particular use in the high dust environment that comes with cement production materials, such as clinker sand and gravel.
With health and safety at the “forefront of Kinder’s innovation ideas,” Sean said many Kinder products have been designed to minimise the spillage of materials and generation of dust and keep operations productive and safe.
“Airborne dust can create serious personal health risks if inhaled, not to mention other site safety issues such as poor visibility and slip hazards,” Sean said.
“Dust can interfere with the correct functioning of conveyor componentry and cause extended shutdown periods and increased component replacement and maintenance clean-up costs.”
The Essential Air seal finds a secondary function in extending the time between scheduled servicing and downtimes. Using this system, other conveyor components suffer less wear due to reduced exposure to dust.
Limiting the need for operators to go near the conveyors comes with additional safety benefits.
“Moving conveyor parts and exposed machinery have serious safety risks for maintenance workers and technicians. Pinch points, moving parts and moving materials increase the risk of slip, trip and fall hazards,” Sean said.
“Part of what we do is to limit the workers’ exposure, not just to dust itself, but also to the dangerous conditions that come about as part of the effect of dust on equipment.”
Kinder maintains a dynamic team of field application specialists and engineers, who are regular visitors at operations. The team at Kinder also provides inspections and guidance for various conveyor productivity improvements with their technical expertise and run regular training for customers, both in person and remotely via webinars.
“We want to open up discussions about common conveyor issues, and areas for improvement,” Sean said.
“Our engineers have designed and worked with the latest on the market technology, in order to provide the best, most effective dust-supressing solution available.”