Conventional conveyors refer to a flat belt running on flat rollers configured into a troughed
shape in order to haul bulk materials. Conventional conveyors use pulleys to change the direction
of the belt. At least one pulley will have a motor attached to it with torque being transmitted to the belt
through the friction between the belt and pulley.
A conveyor is a moving belt that transports objects from one place to another. We have all seen them on a
small scale at grocery store checkouts or airport baggage claims. But in addition to what we all see, belt
conveyors have thousands of additional uses in most all industries around the world that we rarely hear
about. Maybe we have seen conveyors moving sand or gravel in the hundreds of thousands of small aggregate
pits along many of our rural roads. But did you know that conveyors in use in the mining industry affect
each of our lives every day?
The Mineral Information Institute of Golden, CO, US, states that every American born today will use
3.6 million pounds of minerals, metals, and fuels in their lifetime1. In 2004, the needs of 293.7
million people in the US required nearly 7 billion tons of minerals and energy fuels. That’s 46,414
lbs per man, woman and child in the country. These resources are required to provide the basic needs of
food, clothing and shelter as well as the materials needed to build transportation, manufacturing and
recreational facilities needed for all of us to pursue our everyday activities. A 1999 study states that
ordering a book from Amazon.com requires ½ pound of coal to energize the transaction. Did you know that
95% of all these raw materials that come from mining are transported from one place to another on conveyors?
Conveyor design and engineering for mining applications can be traced back to Thomas Edison’s
developments at the Ogden Iron Ore mine near Odgenburg, NJ around 1900. Mr. Edison understood the
benefits of automation and the need to move large volumes of iron ore reliably. He turned to conveyors.
And in the last 100 hundred years, all mining has turned to conveyors which have developed into huge,
complex machines carrying up to 30,000 tons per hour over many miles. Today, belt conveyors used in
mining have the distinction of being the longest machines ever designed and built in the world.
Bulk material handling is an engineering field that is centered around the design of equipment used for
the transportation of materials such as ores and cereals in loose bulk form. It can also relate to the
handling of mixed wastes.Bulk material handling systems are typically comprised of moveable items of
machinery such as conveyor belts, stackers, reclaimers, bucket elevators, shiploaders, unloaders and
various shuttles, hoppers and diverters combined with storage facilities such as stockyards, storage
silos or stockpiles.