Delft University of Technology
Faculty Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering
Transport Technology

T. Sun Fuzzy logic applications in conveyor belt monitoring
Literature survey, Report 2006.TL.7033, Transport Engineering and Logistics.

In this paper, a literature review about conveyor belt monitoring is given. Summary of fuzzy theory in the recent, concepts of fuzzy systems, rules and control are discussed and an application of fuzzy logic in monitoring of conveyor belt system is worked out.

Belt conveyor systems are used everywhere world wide. Many manufacturing assembly lines, moving sidewalks, self-unloading bulk freighters and stores often have conveyor belts at the check out counter. Especially, belt conveyor systems are extensively used to transport industrial materials, such as coal, ores and so on. In these fields, large scale belt conveyor systems play an important role, not only production-wise, but also profit-wise.

The downtime of belt a conveyor system means downtime of the whole production. So it makes sense to take good maintenance over the belt conveyor system in large scale industrial fields. Nowadays, there are four maintenance strategies for the systems, namely, preventive, random, corrective and predictive maintenance. Among these four strategies, only the predictive maintenance is capable of application in a so called intelligent maintenance system which enables the maintenance automation. Maintenance on conveyor belt contains two parts: condition monitoring of the total system and servicing of its components. The purpose of condition monitoring for belt conveyors is to find a parameter that can be regularly measured and trended to show up a significant change that is indicative of a failure developing on belt conveyors. The most commonly used measurement for the idler, bearing and pulleys is 'vibration analysis'. Handheld data collectors are now commonly used. The operators can collect data samples from a number of machines, and then download the data into a base computer, which can compare to the latest sample with the previous ones and shows up any change for the operators. Then, according to the 'suggestions' coming form the computer and the maintenance experience, the operator makes maintenance decisions to leave the component alone or repair/replace it. Normally, the decision making process is totally done by human beings because the computer can not 'think' like a man. But, this is what fuzzy logic is good at. From 1965, fuzzy logic was introduced by Prof. Zadeh, 40 years have passed. The fuzzy logic technology has become more mature and is applied widely in a lot of industrial and non-industrial fields. That makes us know it is possible to apply fuzzy logic in belt conveyor systems maintenance. This is the general start point of this paper.

In the application, the problem of holes on belt is elaborated. With the help of fuzzy logic, we assume a fuzzy model, which has three fuzzy inputs: the size of a hole, the shape of a hole and the relationship of holes and one output: the status of the belt. After getting several outputs form the fuzzy model, a final maintenance decision about the belt is got.

Reports on Transport Engineering and Logistics (in Dutch)
Modified: 2006.04.10; , TU Delft / 3mE / TT / LT.