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Intelligent lining technology minimises risks in mining

Röchling Industrial develops plastics equipped with sensors

In mining, materials handling is very challenging for engineering and equipment alike. Wherever bulk materials are transported, stored, or processed, damage and wear cause unplanned downtime and inefficient processes. Losses that can now be avoided based on intelligent lining technology. Plastics processor Röchling Industrial has developed a sheet equipped with sensors that monitor the condition of the sheet.

 

Lining material made of plastic has been used in mining and materials handling for years. There, the lining material protects underlying components and machines and, owing to its good sliding properties, ensures the smooth flow of bulk materials. Sensors that monitor processes in mines or in plants are also not new. The plastics processor Röchling Industrial has now combined these technologies, Smart Matrox® is the name of the new intelligent plastic sheet equipped with sensors. It not only combines the properties of the lining materials previously used, but it also provides information about the wear and temperature of the material.

 

Smart Matrox® facilitates monitoring components in remote locations: It provides a warning system that draws attention to critical factors - before failures occur
Photo: Andrey Radchenko / istock.com

 

Intelligent lining technology prevents damage due to fires in mines

The use of wear sensors and temperature sensors has proven particularly useful in mining and has already prevented major damage due to fires. “We have successfully tested both sensor types in our Matrox® material and are already providing reliable data for customers with applications in mining and coal-fired power plants. Tested areas of application are chutes and debris beds on conveyor lines, where a sliding sheet under the conveyor belt made from Smart Matrox® monitors the temperature of the conveyor system. In use, the material has already prevented major damage from overheating and fire," explains Michal Sladek, Industry Manager Mining Röchling Industrial. Smart Matrox® is also suitable for numerous other areas, and the number and placement of the sensors can also be individually adjusted.

Intelligent Mining: Smart Products have been developed as intelligent plastic components equipped with integrated sensors to permanently monitor important process data of a component

 

Temperature sensors and wear sensors assume important warning functions

Topics such as pro-active and predictive maintenance and automated spare parts supply can also be implemented much more easily based on intelligent lining technology. “Our experience of Smart Matrox®, especially in remote locations where material monitoring is complex, has been excellent. The material provides an important warning function and enables easy monitoring even remotely,” says Sladek. The sensors in the sheet emit a signal when predetermined limit values are reached. The replacement of components can then be scheduled in time.

The sensors are integrated into the sheet during the manufacturing process. While wear sensors and temperature sensors have already proven themselves in mining, other types of sensors can also be integrated into the sheet at the customer's request to measure different parameters such as water flow, loading pressure or noise level. All measured data are collected by a so-called SmartBox and made available to users on a platform. A dashboard or mobile devices can be used to retrieve and represent any desired data.

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