Strategies for automated maintenance of belt conveyors by means of wireless
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
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
Reports on Transport Engineering and Logistics (in Dutch)
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