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

S.Y. Güngen Strategies for automated maintenance of belt conveyors by means of wireless temperature monitoring
Computer program, Report 2006.TL.7112, Transport Engineering and Logistics.

This report discusses concepts for automated maintenance of belt conveyors by means of wireless temperature monitoring. A powered maintenance trolley that can travel autonomously over the structure of a belt conveyer system is adapted as a platform for the maintenance system. A robot on the trolley performs replacements of the conveyor's rolls. The wireless concepts are compared to an earlier maintenance concept, which is based on vibration analyses.

Temperature Monitoring is often used as a method to supervise bearings. However, tests have proven that other condition monitoring methods, such as vibration analyses, can indicate an upcoming bearing failure earlier than temperature monitoring.

Wireless Sensor Mesh Networks and RFID Systems are two wireless technologies which can potentially be used for condition monitoring of belt conveyors. With a Wireless Sensor Network, condition monitoring can be performed at any time, independent of trolley passage times. In case an RFID system is used, the data reader has to be located on the trolley, which is why condition monitoring is restricted to trolley passage times.

By means of a logistic simulation model, the performances of 5 different Wireless strategies are compared to each other and to the Vibration strategy, which was presented in an earlier paper [G. Lodewijks Strategies for Automated Maintenance of Belt Conveyor Systems", Bulk Solids Handling, Vol.24 no.1 (2004)]. Because the Wireless strategies in this report use temperature measurement as a means to monitor the rolls, it is difficult to compare the performances of these strategies with the Vibration strategy. Therefore, both the logistic performance and the performance of the monitoring method (temperature measurement vs. vibration analysis) have been scrutinized.

The best logistic performance is rendered by the Wireless Sensor Mesh Network, in combination with a trolley robot that does maintenance cycles at Flexible Intervals (WMSN Flex 2). Because of the relatively short time interval, during which a failing bearing's temperature rises, the wireless strategies, based on temperature monitoring, are restricted to small monitoring- and robot cycle intervals. This means that the total distance travelled by the robot is much longer. Vibration Analyses has proven to be a superior monitoring tool, whereas the Wireless Sensor Mesh Network has proven to be a superior communication tool.

Reports on Transport Engineering and Logistics (in Dutch)
Modified: 2007.01.10; , TU Delft / 3mE / TT / LT.