When a customer in Arizona came to L&H to help solve failure problems with their apron feeder in their processing operations; L&H engineers knew they could design a solution for them that reduced both maintenance and downtime. The current piece of equipment was failing up to three times per year and was designed with timed sprockets. The fetter rings, which held the sprocket hubs in place would often become lose and the entire assembly would jump time. This would cause the apron feeder to be taken down for maintenance to tighten the bolts, which was 16 hours of downtime. With these failures reoccurring multiple times a year and impacting costs and production, the mine needed a reliable solution for their operation.
Elimination of fetter rings and sprocket hubs
L&H engineers worked together to design a solution that was more robust and required less maintenance. The solution was a one piece design and the removal of the fetter rings and sprocket hubs. Typical maintenance time to tighten the fetter ring bolts was entirely eliminated, and the chance of the assembly skipping time is now impossible.
A larger shaft diameter was also incorporated to support rollers which were mounted to the center and integrated the sprocket hubs into the shaft which were replaced with large dowels, bolt patterns and a new split plate design to hold the sprocket segments.
Additional design improvements to the assembly included the ability for the sprocket mount split plates to be removed and replaced without having to pull the drives or bearings. Also, the center rollers have a welded on split ring so they can be replaced in position without having to replace the shaft. L&H engineers also designed an upgraded work platform to ease create a safer work environment when working on the feeder. The new platform will create a much safer environment for employees in the future than they had previously.
The maintenance driven design will be installed in the coming months by L&H’s field service team along with mine personnel. L&H Industrial’s Mineral Processing Product Line Manager explained,
“This upgraded design will save the customer many hours of downtime and more importantly it should help to keep their employees safer when performing maintenance on the piece of equipment.”