Monday, January 28, 2013

Our Work in Open-Pit Mining (Part One of a 2-Part Mining Series)

Blast Furnace
All components of a blast furnace must be
able to withstand extreme heat.

When one of the largest mining consortiums in the world contacted us to deliver conveyor belting for their mining operations on two different continents, we knew it would be a challenge, but we also knew we were up for it. What we didn’t know at the time was that the customized weaving we would eventually produce would prove to be our most ambitious industrial belt-work to date.

The client in question operates multiple nickel refineries in different locations across the globe. One essential part of the nickel refining process is the desulfurization of unrefined “ore” into nickel briquettes. Desulfurization allows for excess quantities of extraneous sulfur to be extracted from the raw material, leaving the nickel itself in a more “purified” state, as well as giving it greater properties of corrosion-resistance. Needless to say, desulfurization requires a blast furnace of epic proportions, particularly on the monumental scale by which most nickel processing operations get carried out in today’s hyper-industrialized world. Furthermore, and almost needless to say, the conveyor belting that carries the raw nickel into the blast furnace in order for it to be desulfurized needs to have two essential qualities: first, that it be capable of withstanding the tremendous heat of the blast furnace; and second, that it be capable of handling the tremendous turnover rate at which industrial-scale mining is conducted.

We set out to instill those two qualities in the work we performed on behalf of our client. What we ended up delivering to our customer was, in of itself, a work of art by the standards of our industry: a 60” wide conveyor belt capable of enduring immense blast furnace heat at a level commensurate with our client’s rigorous standards.

With our experience crafting high-performance equipment for major players in the mining industry, we have grown increasingly interested in the various types of mining operations that happen around the globe, and how our belt weaves can be adapted and/or customized for specific kinds of mining (open-pit mining, etc.) An upcoming blog will explore some of the various types of mining operations that require industrial-sized conveyor belts to insure their proper functioning. In the meantime, we are pleased to add that our client has been very happy with the work we delivered on their behalf. For further questions about how Furnace Belt can be of service to your given mining operation, please contact us today by phone or by email.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

HSE Guidance Code Issued for Conveyor Workstations

The Health and Safety Executive Council (HSE), England’s foremost workplace health regulator, has issued guidelines for companies operating conveyor belts in the United Kingdom. These reports are drawing some appreciative buzz from “across the Pond” in North America. Primarily, the HSE has found that one of the leading causes of injury for those who sort through packages and/or components on a conveyor belt is musculoskeletal disorder.

Musculoskeletal disorders, or MSDs for short, come in a nasty variety of types. While certain injuries to the human musculature or bone structure can transpire suddenly, others are slow-developing, harder to detect, and all the more insidious for being those things. Specifically, the awkward physical postures that conveyor line workers often have to assume during the course of sorting can lead to long-term problems such as spinal or back-related injuries, as well as deterioration of the arms and hip-joints. Repetitious twisting, leaning, and stooping, not to mention repeatedly lifting heavy objects from off a conveyor line can lead to all these things.

Workplace safety is something we all need to take seriously; manufacturers as much as plant operators. The need for conveyor belt sorters and workers to be seated at workstations whenever possible is something that can prevent a large number of these injuries from occurring over the long-term. At Furnace Belt, we can easily accommodate any workplace safety issues customers may have while designing our conveyor belts. A healthy worker is a productive and happy worker, it almost goes without saying. Let us know at Furnace Belt how we can help make your workplace healthier, safer, and more productive.