Belt Conveyor Technology US Cement Manufacturer takes Control of Fugutive Material
A global producer of cement, ready-mixed concrete, aggregates and related products has completed a significant upgrade to its bulk material handling conveyors, helping the company eliminate waste and reduce maintenance, while minimizing potential risks from airborne dust and fugitive material build-up. By avoiding accumulations that required cleanup, the company is also reducing the need for maintenance personnel to work in close proximity to fast-moving conveyors, helping further diminish the chance of accident or injury.
Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua (GCC) is a global producer of cement, ready-mixed concrete, aggregates and related products to construction industries in Mexico, the United States and Bolivia. The company began manufacturing operations in 1943, with a capacity of just 60 000 t. Expanding gradually according to a clear strategic vision, the firm has developed innovative processes and technologies that contribute to dynamic growth, while fostering an environmentally-responsible, community-oriented culture.
Like most cement manufacturing sites, GCC Dakotah employs an extensive conveyor system to handle raw materials and move finished product. In keeping with its long-range plans to employ industry best practices for bulk handling and fugitive material control in its plants, company officials conducted an extensive assessment of the conveyors in early 2013. It was determined that significant upgrades could be made on conveyor transfer points to reduce spillage and dust emissions, and they contacted Martin Engineering for a proposal.
“Virtually any time bulk material is moved, especially in large quantities or at high speeds, the potential exists to create and release dust,” explained Martin Engineering Product Engineer Dan Marshall. “Dust accumulation affects both safety and productivity, so it’s really more than just a housekeeping issue. Complicating the situation is the fact that bulk handling systems frequently must accommodate changing weather and material conditions, making dust management an even bigger challenge.”
Scope of Work
The upgrade involved a significant overhaul of six transfer points on four conveyors, which were originally constructed in the late 1970s. All belts are 24 in (61 cm) wide, and range in length from 40 ft (12.2 m) to 110 ft (33.5 m). During normal operation, they move 200 to 250 t/h of clinker from the storage building and carry it to the bins feeding the finish mills.
“Most of the material handling system at this plant was fairly standard issue for its time, but some of the components were nearing the end of their useful life,” commented GCC Maintenance Manager Ralph Denoski. “We were also aware that significant advancements had been made in some areas of bulk handling, and we wanted to take advantage of the newest technologies.”
With a detailed proposal from Martin Engineering in hand, GCC planned the upgrade process for a scheduled shutdown in March. In addition to supplying the components, Martin Engineering was responsible for planning and supervision of the project, while a mechanical contracting group assisted with the installation.