Australian Mining Firm Chooses British Made Safety for Inclined Conveyors


Sprag Clutch Tension Release Mechanism 

Renold Clutches & Couplings, of Cardiff, has supplied a safety critical Sprag Clutch Tension Release Mechanism for a new inclined conveyor, built by a large mining company at the port of Cape Lambert in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

Renold worked in conjunction with David Brown to design a tension release mechanism that will allow the safe removal of any obstructions at the return end of the conveyor in the event of such an obstruction causing the conveyor to stall.

Following two fatal accidents in the mining industry in 1981 it was realised the danger that existed when attempting to remove obstructions from the return end of stalled conveyors without firstly releasing the tension in the upper side of the belt.

When an obstruction at the return end of the conveyor causes the conveyor to stall then the upper belt is tight and loaded with tension while the lower belt is slack.  Removal of the obstruction without first releasing the tension in the upper belt will result in the upper belt rapidly pulling the lower belt around the return roller with great force.  This would obviously pose a great danger to any worker who had just removed the obstruction without a tension release mechanism to enable the task to be carried out safely.

Renold Clutches & Couplings supplied a torque limiting safety holdback sprag clutch that will allow the safe and controlled release of tension whenever maintenance work is required when the inclined conveyor is jammed when loaded.

The new conveyor was part of a port expansion at Cape Lambert that will enable increased capacity from 55 to 80 million tonnes of ore per annum.  Following completion of the expansion the mine, rail and port capacity in Pilbara will be matched, and capable of exporting 220 million tonnes per year.