OEMS, Technology

Braking technology in full flight

With more than 60 brands to its name, Regal Rexnord continues to grow its presence in the power transmission industry.

The acquisition of Altra Industrial Motion in 2023 saw Regal Rexnord add a suite of esteemed clutch and braking brands, including the likes of Svendborg Brakes, Stromag, Twiflex and Marland Clutch.

Svendborg has long been a key player in the Australian mining industry, providing intelligent braking solutions for many of the sector’s conveyors, ball and semi-autogenous grinding (SAG) mills, shovels, draglines and reclaimers.

And Svendborg isn’t sitting still, with a constant focus on research and development (R&D) to continually improve its products.

“Svendborg is on the leading edge of development of braking systems for heavy applications,” Regal Rexnord regional marketing manager – Oceania Greg Josephson told Australian Mining.

“We’ve got products like the SOBO intelligent soft braking system, which is like the ABS (anti-lock braking system) of conveyor brakes. It’s a brand that’s continually innovating and trying to look for the safest possible way to handle the massive loads you see in the mining and bulk material handling sectors.”

Svendborg Brakes’ SOBO braking system ensures consistent conveyor braking to ensure greater operational predictability.
Image: Regal Rexnord

The SOBO braking system provides a range of safety and durability benefits in harsh mining applications by enabling conveyor systems to safely decelerate and stop heavy conveyor loads.

Regal Rexnord Australia national product manager Rex Sinclair told Australian Mining the system is based on closed loop control.

“With the SOBO technology, a speed sensor connected to the conveyor sends feedback to a controller that is programmed to a certain stopping time,” Sinclair said.

“For example, if a conveyor has a 15-second stopping time, regardless of the load on the conveyor, whether there’s zero load, half load, partial load or full load, it will always exactly stop in 15 seconds.”

The SOBO system’s consistent conveyor braking helps to ensure greater operational predictability, which provides not only safety advantages but also enables greater synergies between linked conveyor systems.

“In a mining operation where there is more than one conveyor connected to each other, if the conveyors don’t stop at the right time operators will end up with all sorts of issues, including blocked shoots,” Sinclair said.

“But if operators can rely on a consistent conveyor stopping time, then there will naturally be more synergy in their operation, leading to improved productivity.”

Given the SOBO technology enables conveyor systems to gradually decelerate to a stop, regardless of whether the conditions are dry or wet, less strain is placed on the brakes, bearings and rubber belting, prolonging the life of the equipment.

The SOBO soft braking system is also compatible with the Svendborg Brakes IoT (Internet of Things) gateway technology, which enables operators to monitor the performance and wear of their brakes in real-time.

Regal Rexnord offers 24–7 service support for its Australian mining customers, with OEM-trained technicians operating out of service hubs in Newcastle, Perth and Mackay, and the US company also has an engineering facility in Australia.

“Our engineering team based in Newcastle has the capacity to not only design and build customers a single gearbox but the full end-to-end drivetrain, which consists of the gearbox, coupling, brake system, backstop and electric motor,” Sinclair said.

Josephson said Regal Rexnord has turned to its engineering team in Australia to help support a rapidly growing footprint.

“Because Australia is geographically remote, we’ve set ourselves up to build end-to-end powertrain solutions ourselves,” he said.

“And we’ve now come full circle where we’re not just building for our local area, but we’re now augmenting the global supply of some of this equipment. We’re supplying into Chile, Asia, Europe and Canada, to name a few.”

While Regal Rexnord is a global company, it maintains a local presence wherever it operates, with service offerings and products tailored to the unique operating environments that each jurisdiction presents.

And with emerging technologies like Svendborg’s SOBO intelligent braking system consistently entering the fray, customers can be assured that Regal Rexnord is always innovating to ensure it finds the next cutting-edge solution.

This feature appeared in the May 2024 issue of Australian Mining.

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