Frequently Asked Questions

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The answer to a question you have may be found below! If not, please feel free to contact us now to ask for more information.

How early does the Smart-Idler™ detect roller failure?

The on-board analysis technology of Smart-Idler™ has been proven to detect a bearing defect at stage two of a four stage failure progression. This provides months of warning before catastrophic failure, so that roller maintenance can be arranged for a scheduled downtime period.

Smart-Idler™ also detects roller bearing failure by sensing acoustics, and temperature. This means that all modes of conveyor roller bearing  failure can be detected and tracked as the condition worsens. The severity of the failure can be escalated in the reporting software for urgent attention.

Uniquely, no other technology in the world can also measure the wear of the conveyor roller shell in real-time. Smart-Idler™ can accurately determine conveyor roller shell wear and report for maintenance the rollers which should be changed out due to thinning tubes.

 

Does every roller require a Smart-Idler™ sensor?

No. The Smart-Idler™ system can still operate with great results when implemented in localised areas on the conveyor, such as high wear zones, hard to inspect areas, dangerous locations such as tunnels or high gantry sections of conveyor.

 

What is the most common Smart-Idler™ system roll-out strategy?

Every bulk handling conveyor operation has problem areas throughout the site. These are areas where roller failure is higher than the site average, or inspection is difficult/not safe. Also, some conveyors cannot afford to have even a single unplanned stoppage. By targeting these areas first and installing batches of rollers in these locations, a faster realisation of the benefits of the Smart-Idler™ technology and therefore a greater return on investment can be achieved.

After these areas are covered, more widespread coverage can be achieved by replacing conventional rollers with Smart-Idler™ enabled rollers as a part of the sites regular maintenance roller change-out schedule. Over a period of time, it is possible to phase in comprehensive use of the technology across the entire site.

 

How much can the Smart-Idler™ system save my operation?

This question is site and commodity dependent. Every operation knows the cost to the bottom line associated with unplanned downtime. Conveyor roller related downtime is in the top three causes of unscheduled conveyor production stoppages. By eliminating this associated cost of downtime attached to operating conveyor rollers, the total cost of ownership (TCO) of the roller can be reduced significantly.

The fact remains, every roller WILL fail. It is a matter of when and how. Smart-Idler™ provides a previously non-existent safety net. This can save millions per annum for some operations.

In one calculated Pilbara Iron Ore scenario, the technology payback occurred in the first 15 minutes of saved downtime.

 

Apart from helping to eliminate roller related downtime on our conveyor system, are there other benefits?

Other benefits include;

  • No longer needing to conduct bulk/batch roller change-outs in large sections of conveyor as a maintenance practice. This process is by nature a wasteful process that not only results in higher roller consumption costs but also greater labour during maintenance shut-downs.
  • The targeted list based reports generated for rollers needing replacement at the next shut-down means that a few weeks out from the scheduled maintenance period, an exact list of the rollers required to be replaced can be sent to the roller supplier for manufacture and just-in-time delivery of stock. This reduces the need for spares to be held on-site, therefore reducing inventory costs.
  • Although not currently implemented as a reporting parameter, the Vayeron team is learning that additional condition information may be determined from the sensor data such as;
    • Chute loading profile – to determine if transfer chutes are loading centrally.
    • Belt tracking.
    • Belt tensioning issues which cause ‘skipping’ events on the rollers.
    • Weight

 

What are the safety benefits of using the Smart-Idler™ technology?

The Smart-Idler™ system has many advantages of use. The system helps with statutory compliance in underground coal mines and other conveyors which are at risk of combustion, because it provides a comprehensive monitoring solution for the most numerous bearing category on conveyor systems – the conveyor rollers.

 

In Australia, there is a statutory requirement to limit the surface temperature of any component in an underground coal mine to a maximum of 150 deg C. It is a fact that a conveyor roller bearing failure can reach temperatures beyond this.

Globally, conveyor roller failure is the number one cause of fires in underground coal mines. This poses a hazard to personnel in these explosive environments. Currently, without an adequate solution, this risk is unfortunately tolerated.

Smart-Idler™ technology is a diligent solution to this now no longer necessary risk.

 

How easy is it to install a Smart-Idler™ system?

Once an initial gateway has been installed (often as simple as mounting an electric enclosure and ensuring an adequate power supply), the rollers themselves are a ‘drop-in-replacement’ for conventional conveyor rollers. The laborious manual tagging or data entry process when recording a roller failure is replaced by an RFID scanner/android phone, which can assign frame location and idler number to the newly inserted smart roller. This allows physical location information to be matched to a smart roller that will eventually send a condition alert back-to-base.

 

Are there any other technologies on the market which automate the detection of conveyor roller failure?

None that detect roller failure as holistically as Vayeron’s Smart-Idler™ technology.

Fragile fibre optic cable is an alternative technology which is still in a research and development stage with testing being conducted to try and demonstrate system reliability. It focuses on applying acoustic monitoring only.

A major downside of using fibre optic cable routed along the conveyor length is that any damage to the cable will likely require replacement of the entire cable length.

Smart-Idler™ is the only system in the world that monitors temperature, acoustics, vibration AND shell wear, to accurately preempt roller failure in advance of it occurring and causing belt downtime. It is also the only technology in the world which will hone in on the EXACT roller which is failing.

There is no substitute for monitoring the problem at the source and utilising the array of detection methods that Smart-Idler™ employs.

 

What is the operating life span of a Smart-Idler™ sensor?

The Smart-Idler™ conveyor roller sensor is designed to last 10+ years. This is well beyond the average life expectancy of a conveyor roller (3 – 5 years). At best case (clean laboratory conditions), a quality conveyor roller bearing should achieve approximately 80,000 hours of operation.

Even with this design requirement, the American Bearing Manufacturers Association (ABMA) indicates that 10% of all bearings will fail early during their design life. This is an added reason that Smart-Idler™ should be used as a safety net sub-component of a conveyor roller.

 

Can I put a Smart-Idler™ sensor in any conveyor roller brand?

Yes. The Smart-Idler™ is designed to be integrated with a universal range of conveyor rollers. In the case where an integration is particularly tricky, the Vayeron team is always available to ensure that the product can be integrated, one way or another.

Never worry about your rollers again.