February 25, 2019
Conveyors serve a variety of different purposes, whether they're located in the warehouse, in the mine, in a facility or quarry. You already know that the type of conveyor you select should be contingent on the location it's set to be installed in as well as the product it's designed to move.
However, when it comes to selecting the right conveyor to operate in more rugged environments, it's essential to choose one that's as powerful as it is reliable and long-lasting. This is especially true when you're dealing with conveyors that run underground while transporting product because they’re subject to extreme environments.
Steel rigid rail structure is one option for the harsh underground environment.
Here, we’ll take a closer look at the types of steel rigid rail structure and benefits of such pertaining to underground applications.
There are two main types of rigid rail structure, floor-mounted structure, and roof-mounted structure. The structure type refers to how the conveyor is positioned or hung.
Floor-mounted structure, fitting to the name, is anchored from the floor, while roof-mounted structure is hung from the ceiling. This type of structural flexibility can come in very handy in confined spaces, such as tunnels and other underground environments.
Rigid rail structure is offered in a few different designs, the two most common being box frame and single beam frame. Rigid rail structure is also able to handle various conveyor belt widths, typically up to 84 inches.
One of the main benefits of rigid rail structure is that it is built to be extremely durable. Helping such structure achieve these properties is the fact that it is commonly outfitted with mine-duty idlers and other industry-grade components.
Additionally, the idlers usually attach right to the steel structural frame with either bolts or clamps. When you're running a conveyor anywhere underground, it needs to be able to stand up to demanding environments — and we're not just talking about moving product, but withstanding any falling debris, dust and other hazards that may be present.
A failing conveyor line is going to cause delays, lost productivity and ultimately lost profits if it is not designed to handle such conditions. That's one of the areas where a rigid rail structure excels.
While we've already hinted at some benefits of rigid rail structure for underground conveyors, they're worth highlighting in greater detail.
One of the nice things about rigid rail structure is that it is not only durable but very flexible as well — and this goes beyond the type of structure (i.e., floor or roof mount) or structural design (i.e., box frame, single beam).
Rigid rail structure is also flexible in that it is versatile. It is known for being easy and fast to assemble and disassemble, meaning the structure can be used in multiple locations and for multiple jobs.
Combine their flexibility and versatility with their durability, and rigid rail structure offers a significant return on investment.
Rigid rail is made from industrial steel, so it's strong and long-lasting, but may corrode if not properly coated. This is especially true in underground environments, where moisture and dampness may be present.
West River Conveyors powder coats their rigid rail structure for maximum corrosion resistance. Many other structure manufacturing companies do not powder coat, causing rust or corrosion quickly, but West River has the unique ability to add this layer of protection.
Depending on how fast you want the underground conveyor to operate and how much weight is needed to process, rigid rail can be produced in CEMA B through CEMA E+ arrangements.
The way the idlers and other components are installed also helps enhance durability.
The bottom line is if you need a conveyor to work in a demanding environment — such as an underground one — then you'd be best served by considering rigid rail structure. You won't be able to beat the durability and long-lasting design that this type of structure offers.
When it comes to conveyor types, you have your options. The three main types are catenary, rigid rail, and wire rope — and they all have their places in various environments. There isn't necessarily a right or wrong type of conveyor so much as there is the right conveyor for a particular environment.
Underground environments tend to be far more demanding than those in other areas or facilities, so you don't want to settle for just any conveyor to help move product and get the job done. You need a tough, durable, long-lasting conveyor — and that's where rigid rail can help.