Transco Industries Inc. has implemented Semtech’s LoRa devices and wireless radio frequency technology (LoRa Technology) into its conveyor belt applications.
Nasdaq-listed Semtech Corporation is a supplier of high-performance analogue and mixed-signal semiconductors and advanced algorithms, while Transco Industries is a specialist in conveyor components, design, installation, maintenance, and repair.
“Semtech’s LoRa Technology enables miners to remotely monitor conveyor belts, therefore reducing maintenance costs and helping to prevent belt failure,” said Jeff Brown, president and CEO of Transco Industries.
“Previously, mine operations had to contract specialists to monitor factors like belt idler temperature and typically, this could cost hundreds of dollars per hour. With LoRa-based sensors, managers are able to do this themselves in real-time without the risk of human error.”
According to market research cited by Semtech, the global conveyor belt industry is expected to reach a value of US$6.4B in 2022 with smart belt technologies leading this growth. Transco’s LoRa-enabled sensors were developed to flexibly fit into existing mining infrastructure including conveyor belts. The small and durable sensors connect to private networks based on the LoRaWAN protocol allowing the continued relay of real-time data in the extreme conditions found in a mine.
“A miles-long conveyor belt is equipped with an end-to-end solution consisting of several sensors embedded in the belt itself to measure stress and prevent potential ripping,” stated Semtech. “In the event of a belt rip, LoRa-enabled sensors transmit a signal to the belt control, shutting the belt down immediately to halt the hazardous and expensive rip from worsening.
“Mine operators can then inspect the damage and decide how best to repair the system. Additional sensors are placed on belt idlers to measure temperature of the idler bearing as sensors report temperature data to allow mine operators to monitor bearing status to prevent overheating and fires.”
Transco’s LoRa-based conveyer belt application is used in collaboration with Polysense Technologies Inc, which specialises in enterprise Internet of Things (IoT) solutions for fibre and wireless sensing.
“Transco’s extensive experience with the mining industry, coupled with LoRa Technology’s proven capabilities for IoT, make this a perfect match for a smart mining solution,” said Rick Li, Founder and CEO of Polysense.
“For mining operations, conveyor belts often cost several hundred dollars per foot to fix, and failures can be hard to predict. LoRa-enabled sensors providing real-time data can trigger a belt shut off in the event of a rip. This saves mining operations millions of dollars, and keeps miners safe.”
Vivek Mohan, director of IoT, Wireless and Sensing Products at Semtech, said: “Semtech’s LoRa Technology creates industrial IoT solutions that are highly scalable by number of sensors and gateways to cover even the largest work site or mine.
“The technology’s easy to deploy, flexible capabilities allow mine managers to leverage real-time data to predict maintenance and increase operating efficiency.”