The innovative ODT 3C sensor from Leuze can handle both measuring and switching tasks. The new 2-in-1 solution is thus suitable for a wide range of automated industrial applications.
Is there an object on the conveyor belt? If yes: What is its position or distance to the machine? These are typical issues that need to be addressed in a wide range of industrial applications and processes. In the past, to solve this problem required the use of multiple sensors. With the new ODT 3C from Leuze, only a single device is needed: The innovative sensor can transmit both switching and measuring information to the machine control system, which makes it an efficient and economical 2-in-1 solution.
The operating range of the ODT 3C can be set numerically via IO-Link, and also very accurately thanks to device calibration and nearly reflection-independent from a distance (remote)
Flexibility with a single sensor
The ODT 3C transmits measurement values and extensive diagnostic data via IO-Link. The data includes temperature values, warnings, and signal quality. It features impressive black-and-white behavior (< ± 3 millimeter at 150 millimeter). The operating range can be easily adjusted via the teach button, remote signal or IO-Link. The new Leuze sensor also offers impressive functional reliability: Active ambient light suppression prevents faulty switching, even when exposed to direct light from LED building lighting systems. LEDs that are easily visible from all sides allow you to quickly read the status of the ODT 3C. Two independent switching outputs and sensor models with warning output or a small light spot (pinpoint) round of the sensor’s functions. This enables plant operators to use the ODT 3C flexibly in a wide range of applications.
Thanks to ambient light suppression, the ODT 3C sensor from Leuze is not affected by direct light from LED hall lighting – this prevents incorrect switching and increases the functional reliability of the sensor
Application example from the food industry: A machine is rolling off dough for baked goods. The ODT 3C sensor is pointing down onto the dough. It sends a distance value to the parent control. The goal is to regulate the dough within an optimal distance range of 100–120 mm. If the sensor detects a measurement value outside the target range, the conveyor belt motors adjust the speed of the conveyor accordingly. The measurement value is evaluated in the process data via IO-Link. In addition, diagnostic data is transmitted to the controller via IO-Link for Industry 4.0 purposes.
Plastic modular belts reach new heights
Two new modular belt solutions from Habasit bring new possibilities for industrial packaging applications, especially in applications where space is at a premium. The HabasitLINK M2592 raised deck radius belt saves up to 5 times the space needed for a traditional radius conveyor. The HabasitLINK M0870 HighGrip Micropitch delivers 50 per cent lower minimum transfer distance, enabling use of grip top plastic belts on nosebar applications with a knife edge down to 6 mm.
Conveyors for use in the packaging industry face several challenges including limited floor space for machines, meaning belts must operate in tight spaces and at tight angles. It is crucial that conveyors are optimised for the space, so they don’t harm production layout. Furthermore, the relatively large transfers achievable with traditional grip top modular belts led to many customers being unable to take advantage of modular belts. The two new products from Habasit help to overcome these limitations.
“Plastic modular belts with a grip top feature are ideally suited for incline and decline solutions. However, until now they were unavailable for tight transfer conveyors,” explained Anders Nilsson, R&D portfolio manager for HabasitLINK. “The new M0870 HighGrip Micropitch 0.3” provides reliable product positioning with no slippage and transfers as narrow as 23 mm, a 50 per cent reduction compared to other grip-top modular belts.
“With its high grip surface, this micropitch belt also allows for higher operating speeds in some applications because of the reduced product slippage on the belt. It also copes better than traditional modular belts in incline and decline applications.”
The second novelty by Habasit is the M2592 Radius Raised Deck 1”, which allows to optimize line layout and reduce the conveyor system footprint.
“We understand that, for many businesses, space is at a premium and this has caused problems in finding suitable plastic modular belts for packaging applications,” continued Nilsson. “The M2592 space saver belt allows customers to save up to five times the floor space compared to alternative solutions. This permits increased flexibility in terms of plant and production layout.
“Furthermore, thanks to the raised deck surface, customers can transport products with a wide range of sizes, from small boxes to wide pans, without interference from lateral wearstrips. This is in addition to the fact that it is one of the most robust belts available for radius applications, enabling longer conveyors and less drives and delivering an overall lower cost.
“Finally, it is worth noting that plastic belts emit less noise when transporting crates and pans compared to using rollers or chains. This facilitates a better working environment while also helping to protect the pans and crates being transferred from damage,” concluded Nilsson.
Continental Radar-Based Monitoring System Makes Conveyor Belt Systems More Efficient and Reliable
Continental is taking another step towards predictive maintenance and condition monitoring in conveyor belt technology by launching the new Conti Load Sense monitoring system. The special feature: The system is based on 2D radar technology and measures the material flow on the conveyor belt. It can be used in almost all industries where conveyor belt systems are in operation – for example as it is currently the case in gravel extraction.
Up to 100,000 tons more gravel in a year
At the gravel plant of August Oppermann Kiesgewinnungs- und Vertriebs-GmbH in Northeim (Germany), the extraction of material depends very much on the individual loading of the belt by each worker. Thanks to the volume measurement of the Conti Load Sense radar-based monitoring system, gravel plant operators are now able to use the so-called deep grab even more efficiently. This increases the output by up to 100,000 tons per year. What’s more, Conti Load Sense can be connected to the Conti Cloud. This means that the recorded data can be processed in a visually appealing way for the end customer via a web service or the Conti+ online service portal and the associated Conti+ app.
Solutions from Continental provide valuable information
The gravel industry – like many others – faces the challenge of extracting and processing material more efficiently, reliably and in a more environmentally friendly manner. This is where not only Continental’s high-quality and robust conveyor belts come into play, but also associated equipment and service tools – above all, digital components that comprehensively monitor the conveyor process and the material. For years now, the technology company headquartered in Hanover, Germany, has been focusing on condition monitoring and predictive maintenance as important topics for the future. With the Conti Load Sense, which is based on radar sensors developed by Continental and used millions of times in cars and industrial vehicles, the company is now expanding its portfolio in this area. “This is what makes Continental so special and strong. The steady transfer of technology in other procucts and new areas is really unique and shows Continental’s broad positioning,” states Mario Branco, responsible for Business Development for Off-Highway Applications at Continental.
Here’s how it works: using 2D radar (radio detection and ranging) and ultrasonic technologies, the system scans the material and conveyor belt from different angles to determine the position of the load and the belt. This accurately calculates the volume of material being conveyed. “The risk of spilling material is determined by monitoring the belt edge position in relation to the profile of the material. The load center of gravity on the belt, as well as load distribution, is monitored 24/7 along the entire conveyor length,” Patrick Raffler, responsible for Digital Solutions for the Conveying industry at Continental, says. “Data correlation is used to calculate volume flow, monitor overrun and belt skew. Belt speed is measured to track belt and load position along the entire length of the conveyor.”
Based on this precise information, operators of stone, sand or gravel quarries can measurably increase their productivity. “The plants run more economically due to the automatic material detection, and the radar sensor reports deviations before losses occur, thus preventing follow-up costs,” Raffler says. Other advantages: Compared to previously used technologies such as laser or belt scale, the radar sensor requires less maintenance and is less sensitive to external influences like dust, rain and vibrations, which could negatively affect the measurement results.
The importance of gravel extraction
Gravel extraction is one of the most important industries worldwide. According to the German statistics portal statista, an estimated 265 million tons of industrial sand and gravel were produced worldwide in 2020. In Germany and many other countries, gravel is in fact the most important construction raw material, mainly needed to produce concrete. According to industry analysts at IBISWorld, gravel and sand mining sales in Germany have grown by an average of 1.3 percent per year since 2016 and are expected to total €2.6 billion in 2021. However, in order to continue to extract gravel sustainably, the industry needs modern and efficient solutions – because despite large gravel deposits, it is becoming scarce in many places.
In other applications, the new Continental system can be used in combination with other sensors for performance monitoring and thickness measurement, for example in the raw material conveying industry to measure bulk material volumes, check the durability of conveyor belts, forecast the service life of the conveyor belt, and save energy and costs. Conti Load Sense can also be easily integrated into existing plants.
Worldwide development team
Since 2006, the in-house development and production service provider Continental Engineering Services (CES) has been offering its engineering services and carrying out feasibility studies, measurement campaigns and integration work to match. At 24 locations worldwide CES also develops and applies radar sensor systems including hardware and software development for new customer-specific applications.
Continental develops pioneering technologies and services for sustainable and connected mobility of people and their goods. Founded in 1871, the technology company offers safe, efficient, intelligent and affordable solutions for vehicles, machines, traffic and transportation. In 2020, Continental generated sales of €37.7 billion and currently employs more than 192,000 people in 58 countries and markets. On October 8, 2021, the company celebrated its 150th anniversary.
More Efficient and Sustainable: Continental Plans to Invest in Steel Cord Conveyor Belt Production in Brazil
Continental plans to significantly expand its capacities in Brazil with an investment of 25 million euro (more than 160 million Brazilian Real). “At the moment, we are negotiating a tax incentive package with some states in Brazil to confirm the final location in February”, says Hannes Friederichsen, heading the global conveying solutions activities at Continental. “The additional capacity will ensure that we can better meet the growing need for high strength belts – with a strength higher than 6000N/mm and up to 10000 N/mm – used in mining operations throughout the South American market.”
Additionally, the expansion of mixing areas is planned and will accommodate future compound demand. Further activities in the pipeline: building expansion and installation of a press line.
This investment will ensure that Continental can equip the chosen plant with the latest conveyor belt manufacturing technology. These changes would then help lead the way for Continental’s sustainability goal of being complete climate neutral along the entire value chain by 2050 at the latest. Since the end of 2020, all purchased electricity for the company’s manufacturing sites worldwide has been switched to green power and is already climate neutral. By 2040, Continental’s entire own production will be climate neutral. Correspondingly, as part of the expansion, Continental is working to improve the chosen plant’s ecological footprint by making the production 100 percent carbon neutral – similar to its plant in Santiago de Chile, Chile.
Furthermore, as part of the Continental Recycling Initiative, the business area Conveying Solutions, serving the global raw material industries with solutions around bulk material handling, is exploring sustainability options for recycling as well as for the refurbishments of belts.
“Around the globe, Continental is committed to employing and providing the safest and most sustainable solutions in the mining industry,” says Friederichsen. “By far the world’s largest regional market for heavy steel cord belts is in South America, determined by the three countries Brazil, Chile and Peru. With the planned expansion, we are therefore responding to the ever-rising local demand for ores like iron and copper as a result of urbanized and electrified mobility. We are supplying this market with two production sites, one in Ponta Grossa and one in Santiago de Chile. By continuing to produce locally, we reduce CO2 emissions and can save transportation costs. This is part of our commitment to a sustainable future.“
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