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Cables to replace chains?

Published by , Editorial Assistant
World Cement,

While new technologies in the cement and mining sectors may not be as profound or as frequent as in other industries, quarry and mine operators are focused on the continuous improvement of the processes and equipment to achieve greater capacity and improved reliability. In industries that have invested very little in equipment upgrades since the economic downturn of 2008 and 2009, modernisation of existing systems to increase throughput is a focal point, as market demand continues to rebound in sectors such as cement.

The most common retrofits are occurring with bucket elevators and apron conveyors, where metal chain traction elements are still being utilised in conveying. For many years, conditions related to particle size or temperature required the use of only chains in both bucket elevators and apron conveyors. Notoriously expensive to maintain and replace, chains require continuous monitoring and must be shortened as they stretch. Knowing that anything mechanical begins wearing down as soon as it begins to operate, full system optimisation declines over time. A proprietary steel cable belting solution ,engineered by BEUMER to replace chain traction elements, can help systems to achieve the same level of performance as when they were first installed.

A steel cable reinforced belt requires a fraction of the maintenance of a chain and delivers a lifespan of three to four times. With apron conveyors, for example, belt alternative modernisations have inherent benefits. These include the following:

Reduction of the constant maintenance required by chain wear

With a belt, it is installed, the buckets or pans are attached, and everything down into the splice is tightened. Then only routine maintenance needs to be performed, with in-depth checks once or twice a year. Thus, the need to stop the machine for extended periods of time while chain stretch is measured, sprockets are replaced, and pans are removed is eliminated.

Improvement of the ambient working environment

The smooth transition of a belt/pulley traction element reduces the noise caused by a chain/sprocket element.

Longer wear life

Belts reinforced with steel wires are at the centre of a proprietary design that ensures a long service life of three to four times that of a chain.

Improved safety

Safety is improved through the reduction of maintenance touchpoints. The shortening process for heavy chains that often operate above grade, sometimes significantly so, present safety concerns for maintenance staff.


Belt modernisation capabilities are effective in a variety of industries, such as cement, lime, and gypsum, where bucket elevators and apron conveyors are used for transport or industrial processes, and where roasters are in use such as gold, precious metals, and iron ore.

About the author

Dane Olson joined BEUMER Corp. in 2016 and is a Customer Support Manager for the Conveying and Loading (CL) division of the company in Kansas City, Missouri. He is responsible for business development, sales support, and service planning for CL systems and products. Olson is a graduate of the University of Central Oklahoma and has a degree in corporate/organisational communication.

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Cement news 2018