Unique machine guarding for conveyors within the mining industry
Increased safety – and easier maintenance. With help from Troax, LKAB has found the solution for improving the safety of the conveyors that make up the supply line for ore along the stretch between Narvik-Luleå.
All the ore from LKAB's operations in Kiruna, Malmberget and Svappavaara is transported between the harbours in Narvik and Luleå. The handling at the production sites occurs using approximately 1100 conveyors, which move everything from large rocks and crushed rock to slurry and ore pellets. Troax, a global leader in the supply of innovative mesh panel solutions for machine guards, warehousing and property protection, has now taken on the special challenges posed by machine safety and safe processing in the mining industry.
Developed a completely new system
The mining company LKAB's ”Safe conveyors” project is about increasing the safety of everyone who works near conveyors – without negatively affecting daily work from a maintenance point of view.
"We face a lot of challenges along the way, which means that we cannot use conventional solutions for machine guards", says Jenny Pyykkönen, LKAB project manager.
The Troax solution was chosen after reviewing potential solutions supplied by a variety of providers.
"We often develop special product solutions for our customers, but when it comes to the machine guarding for conveyors, we have developed a completely new system to meet the special requirements of the mining industry," says Josephine Granell, Product manager for machine guarding at Troax AB.
Maximum safety with easy installation
The solution is called Belt Conveyor System, based on Troax's basic philosophy of easy installation without compromising on safety. Hot dipped galvanized mesh panels – impact tested to a minimum level of 1600 joules – are installed horizontally, making them easy to assemble, and just as easy to disassemble whilst allowing access for service and maintenance purposes.
"Mining environments are very tough, exposed to dust, dirt and water. Therefore, we have chosen to work with specially designed fixings with C4 class surface coating," says Adam Karlsson, Product developer and Project manager at Troax AB.
Another challenge are the significant differences in levels in open cast mines and mines of more than a thousand meters depth.
"There aren't the concrete floors or straight lines of normal production environments. Troax machine guards are flexible to start with, but we have taken it to the next level with a very user-friendly system", states Adam.
New standardised safety solution
Installation of the Belt Conveyor System started during Spring 2021 and is continues to grow in scale.
"Our development work with Troax has led to a standardised guard solution that LKAB now uses to secure the working environment for everyone working in the vicinity of our conveyors," says Jenny Pyykkönen, LKAB.
From Troax's side we can see how this cooperation will lead to great opportunities."It has been very exciting to be part of this journey. We have applied for design protection for this new type of machine guard that in turn opens a completely new market for us at Troax. We see opportunities for the Belt Conveyor System throughout the global mining industry", says Josephine Granell, Troax.
Belt Conveyor System is a unique machine guard for conveyors, adapted for the tough environments within the mining industry.
LKAB is Europe's leading mining and mineral group and the world's second largest producer of iron ore pellets. Approx. 80 percent of all iron ore is mined within the EU. LKAB has more than 4500 employees in 12 countries and turns over approx. SEK 34 billion SEK (2020). During 2020 LKAB supplied 28.5 million tonnes of iron ore products.