How NEPEAN is building a conveyor revolution

Relocatable Conveyor

NEPEAN® Conveyors is planning to change the game for materials handling in 2019 by introducing its agile relocatable conveyor system, NSW general manager Bill Munday says.

Overland Conveyors are a vital piece of mining equipment, but they are not known for their mobility. Once in place, sites generally expect conveyors to remain put for several years.

Privately-owned original equipment manufacturer NEPEAN® Conveyors plans to disrupt this tradition with its latest project, a relocatable conveyor designed for ease of transportation, assembly and (eventually) dismantling.

The NEPEAN® Relocatable Conveyor system — has taken over two years of research and design to develop.

It promises to upend the traditional approach to conveyor design on account of its improved mobility, operational flexibility, ease of transport and speed of installation.

Instead of building conveyor parts to meet the needs of freight shipping container dimensions, the Australian and international patents pending NEPEAN® Relocatable Conveyor is itself a half-height high cube portal frame configuration that is certified for standard freight shipping.

This means the conveyor is transportable anywhere in the world as a fully assembled unit.

Not only does this approach allow the conveyor modules to be stacked and loaded for direct transport via sea, rail or road, it also makes the conveyors easier to move, remove, assemble and eventually disassemble as the site requires.

The units can, therefore, be stacked on ships, unloaded directly onto trucks or trains and transported to a site’s lay down area for direct assembly.

The frames are 12 metres long, with the unit inside supporting belt widths of up to 1800 millimetres on straight conveyors and 1600 millimetres on curved conveyors. Roof-mounted wind guards are also available for each module in a single curve or straight two-piece configuration.

The modules can be triple stacked on a prime mover and unloaded in one bundle using standard container handling equipment, such as fork lift trucks, reach stackers, franna’s and cranes, which can then place each module in line for final connection.

This approach vastly reduces the total install cost per lineal metre by minimising both time and staff requirements during setup.

“One of the areas we really wanted to target was logistics,” NEPEAN® general manager, New South Wales, Bill Munday tells Australian Mining during a site visit to Port Kembla.

“It can turn into a real logistical exercise moving all this equipment from one site to the next and doing so efficiently. The beauty of having a half-height hi cube shipping container format is that they can be multi-stacked on ships, trains or trucks.

“You can potentially get nine modules per road train at a length of 12 metres per module.”

The unit also minimises ground works. The frame’s integral legs can be set in place by removing a pin, folding them out and replacing the pin to lock the legs in position.

The foot plates also have holes in them for additional stakes to be inserted, which adds stability and security in cyclone-rated zones. While the exposed design of the frame means the unit lacks the surface area to be blown over, it can potentially slide sideways, so the stakes help to eliminate these issues.

Once the modules are aligned to an installation jig on the ground, which is adjustable for idler spacing and roller configurations, the structure can be super elevated by up to seven degrees and banked around corners.

Alternatively, ground screws are also available for added stability and flexibility. Trestles with independent walkways can also be assembled using these ground screw bases to build the conveyor over water courses or cattle crossings. These options allow for the conveyor pathway to be roughly graded within 100 millimetres.

“All the equipment is pre-designed for a fully functioning conveyor and the container module is just part of the system,” Munday says.

“We have also designed a unique one-piece head end that incorporates a drive system up to approx. 4000KW, a loop take-up and delivery jib that can be put on a 200-tonne float to transport around mine sites. It is held in place by large ground anchors — there’s minimal concreting or civil works — you just dig a couple of holes and bury the ground anchor.”

Interestingly, the conveyor is not classified as fixed plant due to the unique way it has been designed. In addition to significantly lowering civil works and installation costs, the NEPEAN® Relocatable Conveyors mobility allows it to be adaptable to changes in mining operations and positions it as a true alternative to mine trucks when it is time to move the conveyor on site.

Head end frame

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