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Conveyor Steel Belts

Conveyors: How to Find an Optimum Gear Unit for Steel Belt Systems

| Author / Editor: Jürgen Thuilot / Wolfgang Geisler

For large conveyor belts required to carry heavy loads, drive systems incorporating suitably designed gear units are an excellent solution.
For large conveyor belts required to carry heavy loads, drive systems incorporating suitably designed gear units are an excellent solution. (Picture: © Siemens)

Do the right thing: In the mining industry, drive technology has a decisive influence on conveyor performance and system availability in continuous processes. Three-phase asynchronous motors plus gear units have proved a robust, quick-to-install, low-maintenance variant here.

In mining there are typical areas of application where the axiom “Fit and forget!” applies. That means that all the technology used serves to maximise profit direct and just for this reason has to be favourably priced, long-lived, powerful and robust. Belt conveyors (be it as steel or endless belts) are also subject to these demands by mine operators. In this respect there is a number of important aspects that ultimately result in the perfect conveyor belt drive.

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Siemens has decades of experience in bulk material conveyor technology. High availability, proven technology and low costs are the advantages of the drive solutions for these applications.

Gear Units with Highly Efficient Axial Cooling Fans

What exactly are the advantages of this gear unit solution? Whereas for lower outputs standard gear units are frequently used, individually adapted solutions are needed for conveyor belts that shift especially heavy loads – in some cases over many kilometres. Here thermal capacity is regarded as the decisive factor in the selection of the right gear unit.

In practice, the required output and desired rotary speed are specified by the operator as design parameters, which determine the heat to be dissipated, which in turn may correspondingly strongly influence the dimensioning process. This may partly result in operating conditions that make a gear unit advisable that is larger than the output originally necessitates.

Cooling: The Overlooked Factor in Conveyor Belt Operation?

So, if conveyor belts operate in climatic zones which are particularly warm or are even prone to extreme heat-cold fluctuations, a lot of attention has to be paid to cooling. Here the Siemens electrical group has invested a great deal in development and fitted its gear units with highly efficient axial cooling fans.

These direct the air over the housing and ensure that the heat is drawn off from the housing. Specially designed air guidance hoods distribute the air evenly over the entire surface – that is, over all four sides.

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For operators this has the advantage that they can manage with outputs of up to approx. 2000 kW without the need for an additional oil cooling unit. Optimum cooling is particularly decisive for the components and materials used, such as seals and gear oil. The cooling system ensures that the lubricating capacity of the oil is not impaired and the optimum carrying capacity of the gear teeth is maintained.

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