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Main causes of fire in conveyor belts

April 20, 2022
Main causes of fire in conveyor belts

Cases of fire in conveyor belts are common and can affect operations and generate incalculable losses.

The truth is that the conveyor belt is an easy equipment to spread fire, due to its movement and the material present in the belt cover.

In some cases, the elastomer takes on a combustible role when exposed to high temperatures, and this usually occurs when it is operating in misalignment, generating friction between the elements and starting the flames.

The consequences of this type of accident can be enormous, and can cause damage to the professionals’ lives and also a high loss in the asset.

Not to mention that an unscheduled production stoppage generates huge costs.

Recent cases in Brazil and Australia have shown that the positioning of the conveyors close to the ground, twisted profiles, and upper banzo with strong buckling caused plastic deformations in the lateral diagonals, reaching 70% of the conveyor structure.

The reports prove the importance of preventive measures calculated for this type of situation.

Check out some points of attention below:

5 ways to prevent conveyor belt fire

1- Locked Roller

The heat generated by friction can start flames and automatically lead to fires, especially on rubber-coated conveyor belts.

Wireless vibration and temperature sensors, coupled with an integrated predictive maintenance system are a good option for continuous monitoring of the rolls.

2 – Conveyor Belt Lock

When the belt has its motion interrupted and the drum continues to rotate, the heat generated by the friction can also cause fire.

To this end, the installation of sensors in the drum’s mirror would be an effective preventive measure, being able to anticipate the temperature rise and avoid a stoppage.

3 – Drums Blockage

Drum blockage is also known as skidding, and occurs when the heat generated by friction in the process overheats the elastomer, and can consequently start a fire.

Misalignment or blockage can be identified by the sensors, mainly through vibration.

4 – Misalignment of the conveyor belt

When the belt operates out of alignment, in addition to overheating, the problem also affects the structure of the equipment.

This is why it is so important to have a continuous analysis of this type of machine, especially in long-distance conveyor belts, but also in ship loaders, independent transporters, among others.

5 – Vegetation near the conveyor belt

The risk of fire started in the vegetation can easily spread to the conveyor belt.

Especially in dry periods, it becomes an unnecessary exposure.

The ideal is to maintain a safe distance between vegetation and equipment, as well as regular pruning to reduce risks.

Why monitor vibration and temperature?

The basic intent when measuring the vibration and temperature of an equipment is that it makes possible to map and interpret information and movements that may be altered and oscillating beyond normal.

Through this type of analysis, it is possible to anticipate the repair of anomalies such as component wear or overheating, indicating immediate or scheduled maintenance action.

By using Dynamox’s wireless sensors for machine monitoring and gateways for automated data collection it is possible to track the “health” of the asset remotely and instantly.

The data is sent directly to the web platform, where it is centralized and evaluated for decision making.

This data interpretation is advantageous because of the amount of specific information collected from the equipment at short intervals, thus ensuring more assertiveness in the repair.

Within the DynaPredict Web Platform, in addition to the three alert colors (green, yellow, and red) available to identify the criticality of the problem, e-mails are triggered to technicians as soon as an anomaly is detected.

This function not only speeds up the evaluation process, but also prevents it from getting worse.

It is important to note that to reach critical cases such as a fire means that a certain variation in the machinery’s operation was not identified in a timely manner.

Therefore, investment in monitoring technologies is something that needs to be considered as a safe strategy to prevent accidents like this from occurring.

Besides, we have the sensitive maintenance module that acts in an integrated way, so that the technician can respond to a checklist, send photos, geolocation, or even audios about the detected problem, making the process more agile and centralized.

In addition, vibration and temperature data can be added to this analysis, and specific alarms and reports can be created in the solution’s dashboard in critical cases.

Did you like this article? Read more about the importance of vibration monitoring for industrial assets or request a quotation here.


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