Choosing the right conveyor belt has a decisive influence on the operating costs of mining operations. Top-quality components and state-of-the-art technologies play a key role in the lifeline of a mine and make a lasting contribution to efficiency, which is especially important in times of low raw materials prices.

The Phoenocord St 6800 belt from Phoenix Conveyor Belt Systems demonstrates that Phoenocord conveyor belts meet these requirements exactly.

In 2015, Phoenix Conveyor Belt Systems replaced a Phoenocord St 6800 at Freeport-McMoran’s and Codelco’s El Abra Mine in northern Chile after almost 20 years of continuous service.

The steel cord conveyor belt measuring 20,000m in length and 1,600mm in width first went into operation in June 1996 and since then transported aroud 900MT of aggressive copper ore in challenging climatic conditions.

The process allows the entire belt to be replaced in one go with only a few days of interruption to production. The new Phoenocord St 6800 belt will be constantly monitored to detect any external or internal changes using the Phoenoguard PX monitoring system.

This allows virtually every cubic millimetre of the entire conveyor belt to be monitored constantly, delivering real-time information about its overall condition and the state of all of its components.

Bernd Küsel from Phoenix Conveyor Belt Systems said: "The advantage is invaluable, as damage can be detected immediately and eliminated efficiently."

Phoenoguard PX constantly digitalises the entire belt while it is in operation, recording all data and comparing it with target values. In addition to showing damage on the computer screen, it provides a large, clear picture of any areas of concern, all at the press of a button. Any changes that exceed certain tolerances are categorised as requiring one of three possible responses. This allows downtimes and production stops to be kept to a minimum.

Other issues the system can detect include foreign objects, protruding cords, belt mistracking, abnormal cover wear, insufficient belt cleaning, and the condition of transverse cords and sensor loops.

Designed for outstanding results

Produced in Germany, the now replaced Phoenocord St 6800 was originally designed for a service life of at least 17 years.

Realising this ambitious goal involved a number of special measures, including a special notch and abrasion resistant rubber compound was developed for the belt covers, which also offers a high elongation at break and high-tensile strength.

The covers of the belt’s carrying and running sides were equipped with the special Phoenotec synthetic single-cord transverse reinforcement, an additional wear protection system that doubles the belt’s resistance to impact damage and ripping.

The 1,600mm-wide belt has 82 steel cords integrated into it. These measure 12.4mm in diameter and give it a minimum breaking strength of 6,800N / mm.

The cover is 14mm-thick on the carrying side and 10mm on the running side, bringing overall belt thickness to 36.4mm.

Eleven years after going into operation and having conveyed 500MT of ore, the belt was found in 2007 to have lost no more than 2.7mm of thickness to abrasion wear and just 1.4mm on average.

Now, after almost 20 years of continuous operation, a section of the belt was cut out and examined in detail. The results are outstanding again:

Küsel said: "Given the belt’s extremely rough, heavy, sharp-edged cargo and the extreme climatic conditions in which it operates, a service life of so many years is exceptional."

For more information, please contact PHOENIX Conveyor Belt Systems.