Determining Stress Cycles for Belt Conveyor Speed

Control in Transient Operations
Yusong Pang, Gabriel Lodewijks
Section of Transport Engineering and Logistics
Delft University of Technology
Delft, the Netherlands

Abstract—Belt conveyors are important equipment for large- In practice a belt conveyor continuously runs at a constant
scale bulk material transport and logistic distribution in very nominal speed during steady operation. The average utilization
wide industry fields. In line with the variance of material loading of the belt is less than the designed when the loaded material
degree, belt conveyor speed control has been proved as an flow on the belt is smaller than the nominal conveying
effective way to reduce power consumption and to improve the capacity. DIN 22101 [4] indicates that reducing the conveyor
service of the equipment with respect to system lifetime and speed and thereby maximizing belt loads always lead to a
maintenance. Since discrete control is preferred to regulate the certain reduction of the required electrical driving power. It
speed of conveyor, control methods based on fuzzy logic can be indicates the possibility to save energy by regulating the belt
applied. However, speed control is not always applicable for all
speed based on the variance of material loading degree, which
conveyor operation scenarios. The stress cycles generated during
fuzzy speed control in transient operations may lead to extra
is known as the speed control of belt conveyors. Besides the
degradation of the equipment and should be limited. This paper potential of energy savings towards sustainable production,
presents the determination of the stress cycles during the fuzzy speed control lowers the constant nominal speed of the system
control for belt conveyor transient operations. After categorizing to match the variable material loading situation. It also
the loading scenarios that can be normally found in different provides the opportunities to improve the service of belt
application fields, the outputs of modeling and simulating a fuzzy conveyors, including reducing maintenance costs and
speed control system display the effect of stress cycles on belt increasing the service lifetime of the equipment.
conveyor operations. The determination of minimum stress cycles
Traditional speed control of belt conveyors aims to achieve
along with maximum energy savings can be used to improve the
algorithm and settings of belt conveyor speed control systems. continuous and soft startup profile of the system. Compared to
the control of belt conveyor startup procedures, for practical
Keywords—belt conveyor; speed control; operation scenarios; reasons during transient operations, discrete speed adjustment
energy savings; transient operation is preferred above continuous speed control [5]. The transient
operation of a belt conveyor is the operation regulating belt
speed to match the variable material loading degree, which
includes accelerating and decelerating of the system. One of
Belt conveyors are the most widely used equipment in the the practical reasons is that the belt speed should not be
continuous transport and logistic distribution of large quantity continuously and frequently adjusted to avoid the stressful
dry bulk materials. Applications can be found in mining continuous accelerations and decelerations of belt conveyors,
industry, power plants, chemical production, bulk terminals, namely the stress cycles, when the material flow fluctuates
etc. Over the last decades the development of design considerably. When short-term excessive loading happens, the
technologies has enabled the realization of longer, faster and number of stress cycles need to be limited during speed control
more efficient belt conveyors with higher capacity and less to prevent unnecessary and sometime harmful acceleration and
environmental impact [1]. Typically, a large-scale conventional deceleration of belt conveyor systems.
troughed belt conveyor is driven by drives in the range of 500
kW to 6 mW. Transport distances may cover a range from Due to the requirement of discontinuously controlling the
100’s m till 30 km. Conveying capacity can be from hundreds belt conveyor speed in transient operations, fuzzy control, as a
up to 10,000 tons per hour. Due to the extensive application of control philosophy applying fuzzy logic to provide discrete
belt conveyors, energy consumption forms a large part in the control strategies, has been introduced to combine fuzzy
total material handling operational costs, e.g. over 40% [2]. control algorithms with discretized belt speed and material
Meanwhile, the carbon dioxide (CO2) emission caused by the flow fluctuation [5][6]. However, current development of fuzzy
generation of required energy during conveyor operation is speed control aims to adjust the belt speed responding to the
considerable. For instance, belt conveyors may cost 70% of the variance of material loading degree, by means of the settings of
total electricity demanded in a dry bulk terminal [3]. This fuzzy ranges and fuzzy boundaries which are derived from
opens the possibility of improving belt conveyor operations by fuzzy membership functions. With respect to the variances of
means of energy saving solutions. the patterns and the magnitudes of material loading, the effects

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Material loading on conveyor belt in underground mine Fig. The relative long.of stress cycles were not yet taken into account during speed term changes of loading degree are caused by the control of the control. the minimum stress cycles along with maximizing the potential energy savings need to be determined. it causes high stress on the equipment. Stress cycles can lead to wear and degradation of Fig. which speed control is not always applicable for the purpose of energy savings. 2. for instance the material flowing rate always keeps on constant during all operations. literatures contain the lack of categorizing the diversity of material loading scenarios. based on previously proposed fuzzy speed control applications. the energy saving effectiveness needs to be loading degree can be distinguished within half an hour. After introducing the basic principle of a fuzzy speed control system and the simulation model in Section III. When and the operation of the shearer in short-term (e. in minutes) and high the effects of stress cycles along with the energy saving magnitude from 20% to 95%. In this paper. the material loading degree changes. To improve the speed Fig. conclusions of the research is given in Section V. five major changes of the material loading situations. Typical Transient Operation Scenarios The effectiveness of applying speed control to reduce the consumption of electrical power varies along different loading situations. 1. A. balanced with limited stress cycles. too frequent a belt varies along with the changes of the quality of the coal system acceleration and deceleration should be avoid. silo discharge device. Fig. Currently. Further. There are all sorts of loading scenarios for belt conveyors. effectiveness can be analyzed. Finally. II. different material loading mine [8]. Due to the change of the number of the cranes in relative long-term operating (e. Due to the fact that stress cycles always result in wear and degradation of conveyor components. Taking the look to belt conveyor practice in different material conveying applications. The stress change in one cycle of speed regulation is named as a stress cycle. 4 is of a conveyor drive control application in a surface control for effective energy savings. where the conveyor is loaded by multiple grab quay cranes through hoppers. Material loading on conveyor belt to stockpile conveyor components. Material loading on conveyor belt in surface mine 125 . especially in transient operations. The number of stress cycles indicates the frequency of speed regulation during speed control. In Fig. the loading scenarios can be further categorized. it firstly relies on identifying material loading scenarios with respect to the applicability of speed control. 3 is the data of material loading collected from order to avoid the harm to the conveyor system and to prevent underground long wall mining process. To determine the acceptable stress cycles for the control in transient operations. the material loading situations in different conveyor application sites are analyzed and the categorization of four loading scenarios is given in Section II. Fig. 3. Material loading on belt conveyor in dry bulk terminal Section IV presents the simulation results of the control system for determining the optimal stress cycles. in minutes). 2 presents the material loaded on a inclined conveyor in between a silo and open stockpiles [7].g. 4. The material loaded on the potential damage of system components. OPERATION SENARIOS OF BELT CONVEYORS When a belt accelerates from one non-zero speed to another in transient operations. it is important to balance the number of stress cycles during operations with the energy saving effectiveness of speed control. in hours). It can be seen that the fluctuation of material loading scenarios in transient operations need to be identified so that contains short-time frequency (e. Fig. the speed of conveyor is controlled based on the different As shown in this figure.g. Fig.g. 1 shows the material loaded to a single conveyor in the bulk terminal of EMO Rotterdam the Netherlands.

The B. the stress cycles during speed control algorithm can be applied to adjust the belt speed at control rely on the fluctuations of the material loading. based on the discretization of the loading rate to avoid the influence of short-term extreme loading scenarios during speed Scenario CLLO: Constant Loading degree in Long-term control so that frequent stress cycles can be avoid. the changes of the loading rate follow the variance material loaded to conveyors during transient operations can be of actual material flow. the relationship. The boundaries of bi and bi+1. occur. a fuzzy membership function material loading degree only changes when one operation is finished or restarted (e. Due to the linear loading fluctuations in different belt conveyor practices. given a value of material long-term operation. bi 1 ) within a range in between the fuzzy feed the belt conveyor without significant variation. Operations. There is mainly one type of operation to loading x  [bi . 1). where certain occasions when the disturbances of material loading the loading scenarios need to be categorized. Loading Scenarios and Control Requirements loading rate is obtained by dividing the actual material degree Based on the frequency and the magnitude of material by the nominal capacity of the belt conveyor. This scenario has a roughly constant flow of the material to be fed to the same belt conveyor during the same In a fuzzy control system [5]. Fig. for instance at the peak applied. When fuzzy speed control is flow fluctuations at extreme values. Further. the regulation of the conveyor speed is in accordance to the variance of actual material loading rate. Based on different loading scenarios a fuzzy the fuzzification algorithm. The changes of material loading situation in various A. Then the belt speed can be adjusted categorized to four scenarios.g.  1 bi 1  . Principle of Fuzzy Control application sites imply the different applicability and The regulation of the belt speed depends on the material effectiveness of speed control. besides the stress cycles generated by the settings of loading degrees.

2).  f bi 1 ( x) x .  Scenario MLLO: Moderately varying Loading degree in f bi ( x) x between Long-term Operations. This is the scenario can be bi  bi 1 bi  bi 1 found at controlled material feeding devices. Fig.g. where the material loading degree to the same conveyor varies in between two long-term feeder control scenarios and relies on the degree 1 bi  of the open outlet of the feeder or discharger (e.

  bi  bi 1 bi  bi 1 Scenario MLSO: Moderately varying Loading degree in between Short-term Operations. Fig.g. Compared to scenario 2. conveyor vi_act can be determined as Scenario ELAO: Excessively varying Loading degree in All Operations This scenario can be considered to be the  vi _ act bi 1vnom  . Then at time i the regulation of the speed of the belt term (e. some can be constructed to fuzzify the actual belt speed under loading scenario contains roughly constant material flow in multiple fuzzy ranges in between the boundaries of fbi(x) and between operations but the operations varies relatively in short. fbi+1(x). 3).

Speed adjustment principle for fuzzy control III. fuzzy logic has been introduced into In principle. the material loading degree significantly varies either in short- vi 1 term or in excessively random patterns. the regulation of belt speed can scenarios CLLO and MLLO may provide good effectiveness of be determined to be within its relative fuzzy range (the right energy savings with less stress cycles due to less material figure) but lower than the higher boundary so that the fluctuations.  completely random loading scenario where the feed onto a belt conveyor is completely unpredictable and non-controlled. 4). FUZZY SPEED CONTTROL IN TRANSIENT OPERATIONS In the past few years. saving effectiveness and the stress cycle risks in different 126 . two boundaries (the left figure).g. Fig. Therefore. one operation and in all operations (e. Fig. In this scenario the feeding rate may change excessively both in where vnom is the nominal speed of the system. As shown in Fig. which show less applicability of speed control. 5. Therefore. speed control may f bi1 ( x) ! f bi ( x) cause considerable stress cycles which may be harmful to the bi 1 vi Loading rate (%) conveyor system and its components. when an actual loading rate falls into Considering the applicability and effect of speed control. speed of stress cycles presented in this paper is based on a previously control needs to consider the balance between the energy developed fuzzy control method [5]. The determination more stress cycles the system can encounter. when fuzzy speed f bi1 ( x) f bi ( x) f bi1 ( x) f bi ( x) control is applied. 5. due to the fact that belt overload. it is important to determine the acceptable bi vi 1 number of stress cycles during transient operations taking the f bi1 ( x)  f bi ( x) different material loading scenarios into account. Although scenarios MLSO and ELAO potentially maximum belt load can be achieved with avoiding the risk of have the opportunities of energy savings. higher potential energy savings can be expected but effective approach for energy savings [5][6]. more fuzzy boundaries in the control system belt conveyor speed control and has been proved as an are set.

2 the least stress cycles. Speed regulation of fuzzy speed control Fig. stress cycles. which reflects the the controlled belt conveyor is up to 87% of the nominal belt variance of material loading degree in different material capacity (the blue line). shows the implementation of the (Fig. For instance. 9. Simulation model of conveyor speed control system IV. it can be seen that with increasing the number of fuzzy ranges. the The implementation of the control system can be illustrated total amount of acceleration and deceleration needs to be by some example outputs of the case study [9]. In the upper figure of Fig. 8. To achieve the balance in speed control. In the case of the speed controlled Belt width (m) 1. Fig. Fig. four material loading scenarios control system with 10 fuzzy ranges. The results of simulation can be used to predict the energy savings under different material loading scenarios. can be set and switched in between to simulate the practical 8. simulation results can indicate the built to analyse the energy saving effectiveness by changing prediction of the energy savings based on different fuzzy both the material loading scenarios and the fuzzy boundaries settings. To lower the amount of stress cycles. Fig. Further. 9. different fuzzy ranges were set from 2 to 10. 8. by adjusting the fuzzy boundary settings of the control system. MAIN PARAMETERS OF THE CONVEYOR FOR CASE STUDY In the simulations of the four categorized material loading Parameter Value scenarios. 127 . the control is sufficient to prevent the risk of material overload. Speed regulation of fuzzy speed control TABLE I. 6).2 conveyor. speed regulation for material loading scenario of MLLO. Further. the analysis of the Density of material (kg/m ) 850 simulation results is given in Fig. IMPLEMENTATION To demonstrate the behavior of the fuzzy speed control system and the effect of stress cycles. speed is only regulated when significant difference between the The middle figure shows that the material loading situation of current speed and the desired speed occurs.0124 and decelerations. the scenario of moderately varying loading degree in between B. a long horizontal belt conveyor system is adopted for a case study to show the simulation during transient operations. The power consumed by the speed loading scenarios. 6. the number of stress cycles increases due to more Nominal capacity (t/h) 2500 frequent speed regulations on the modalities of accelerations Cross section area of belt (m2) 0. which can be used to Length of conveyor (m) 1000 determine the most suitable fuzzy boundaries to be set in the fuzzy control system to achieve maximum energy savings with Nominal belt speed (m/s) 5. The fuzzification of the regulated speed controlled conveyor can be seen in the bottom figure which prevents the conveyor belt from continuous acceleration and incurs total energy savings of 14% after 50 simulation runs (the deceleration during speed control and results in less number of blue line). For predicting controlled in an optimal way by means of setting the fuzzy the energy savings. 7. Fig. Big differences of the relationships between energy savings and stress cycles can be found in Fig. the speed regulation (the blue line) shows that the speed transient operations. 7. based on 5 fuzzy ranges and 6 fuzzy A simulation model of the fuzzy speed control system has been boundaries. shows the outputs of simulated boundaries and adjusting the fuzzy ranges. In this control system.loading scenarios. Material (-) Coal Combining the effectiveness of energy savings and the number 3 of stress cycles during the speed control. TABLE I gives the main configuration of the conveyor system. the acceptable stress cycles can be determined along with the effectiveness of energy savings. Fuzzy Control System long-term operations.

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