Siemens drives world's longest conveyor belt | Automation.com

Siemens drives world's longest conveyor belt

Erlangen, Jul 20, 2007 - Siemens Industrial Solutions and Services Group (I&S) has equipped a 19-kilometer-long conveyor belt system with drive systems for Alcoa Inc., based in Texas (USA). The Siemens systems offer precise methods of control, can be quickly and flexibly adapted to different loads and are highly energy-efficient.

Alcoa is a leading producer of aluminum. The mill in Rockdale, Texas, needs a constant supply of brown coal for energy to maintain production around the clock. For this purpose, a conveyor belt system transports the necessary coal from the Three Oaks Mine to Rockdale, a distance of 32 kilometers.

The critical section in the middle of the transport route, which is approximately 19 kilometers long, is bridged with the longest single conveyor belt in the world, parts of which have to pass over uneven terrain. It is the link between the point where the material comes out of the open-cast mine and the place from where it is then taken to the power station.

The belt system was fitted with a solution from the I&S product family Simine Con, which features robust and energy-efficient drive systems. Five drivessystems of the type Simovert Masterdrive VC, each with 556 kW, were installed. The drives are strategically positioned in such a way that the complete system can be optimally operated, stopped and started up. One drive has been installed at the loading point, two drives in the middle of the route and two at the unloading point.

Fiber optic cables between the conveyor belt stations enable the operator to individually control the belt speed, for example slowing down when the load is extremely heavy, accelerating or stopping quickly. The belt control system prevents oscillations of the conveyor belt during starting and stopping. The system was matched to the following loading situations: no load, partial load and full load. This method of operation uses considerably less energy than conventional uncontrolled belt drives.

Moreover, the mechanical components are protected. High round-the-clock availability with low operating costs is attained. The drives are first powered up to ten percent of the total speed and, after a stabilization phase of approximately 60 to 120 seconds, the system is accelerated to its 100 percent target speed.

The Siemens Industrial Solutions and Services Group (I&S) is the integrator of systems and solutions for industrial and infrastructure facilities and global service provider for the plant and projects business covering planning, installation, operation and the entire life cycle. I&S uses its own products and systems and process technologies in order to enhance productivity and improve competitiveness of companies in the sectors of metallurgy, water treatment, pulp and paper, oil and gas, marine engineering, open-cast mining, airport logistics, postal automation, intelligent traffic systems and industrial services. In fiscal 2006 (to September 30) I&S employed a total of 36,200 people worldwide and achieved total sales of EUR 8.819 billion, according to U.S. GAAP.
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