In a move designed to reduce landfill waste from worn-out conveyor belt cleaners, while reducing labor time and safety risks associated with blade changeouts, Martin Engineering has announced a new family of replaceable tips to maximise the amount of usable material on each cleaner blade. Introduced in direct response to customer input, the replaceable belt cleaner tips have increased wear life in secondary cleaners by as much as 50%, while cutting replacement labor time roughly in half. Because the new tips are pinned in position and require no hammers or other tools to remove and replace, the risk of injury during service is significantly reduced.

"We were looking for a way to reduce the amount of urethane going to landfills from worn-out cleaners," observed Martin Engineering Global Research & Development Manager Adam Childs. "At the same time, we wanted to find a way to simplify blade replacement, helping customers reduce or eliminate injuries during the replacement process and shortening maintenance times. The new blade tips accomplish both of those objectives."

Childs cited the example of one of the company’s heavy duty primary cleaners. "The standard design has 8.12 total pounds of urethane in each blade," he explained. "Approximately one-third of that is in the tip or wear surface, with the rest making up the base. The result is more than five pounds of urethane per blade going to landfill at the end of the cleaner’s useful life. It’s not uncommon for South American systems to have 8-10 blades on a single conveyor, so that’s a significant amount of material."

In test runs on a standard primary cleaner blade, Childs said researchers logged 681 hours of run time. Each time a blade reached the end of its life, the old style base had to be removed with a hammer and a new blade installed. The process typically required about 35 minutes.

"The new primary cleaners with replaceable tips use a total of 8.59 pounds of urethane," Childs continued. "But the ratio of blade material to base is nearly reversed. About 5.5 pounds of urethane is used in the tip, with only around one-third of the total weight in the base." Further, the replaceable tips delivered 719 hours of run time in primary cleaning applications, an increase of about 5%. Each reusable blade base is good for 10-12 tip change cycles before it must be replaced.

The blade mounting system underwent a re-design as well, with a patented single-pin configuration to simplify replacement. The new tips can be replaced by hand without tools, dramatically improving safety and cutting the service time to just 15 minutes. Because the frame slides out on a track for servicing, no confined space entry is involved. "The belt cleaner comes out, instead of a worker going in," said Childs. A patent is pending on the design.

Taken together, these innovations result in longer service intervals, shorter maintenance times and less downtime, as well as a reduction of nearly 50% in landfilled material. With less frequent replacement and the long service life of the blade bases, customers are also finding they can cut down spare blade inventories on hand. At one large South American customer where initial trials were conducted, the approximate cost reduction in urethane consumption alone is projected to be more than $85,000 per year, not including the labor savings and the value of improved safety.