Conveying a safer approach

Diacon Australia is a pioneer of plastic conveyor guards in Australia and has continued to remain a cut above competing products for conveyor systems.

For any conveying application at a mine site, steel conveyor guards have long been accepted as the go-to standard for guarding.

Diacon Australia has shifted the status quo for conveyor guarding by developing a high-quality plastic alternative that delivers significant benefits over the traditional steel offering. 

The Diacon conveyor guard uses a light-weight plastic mesh to provide corrosion-free guarding, while offering safer installation and storage. 

This is one of a range of products that make up Diacon’s system to deliver higher productivity and safety standards for conveying.

Other parts of the system include the Diacon Conveyor Hungry Board, which is a stainless-steel reinforced plastic panel that prevents spillage on conveyor belts, and the Diacon Conveyor Cover, which completely encloses the product on the conveyor belt. 

With the conveyor guard its key product, Diacon business development manager Brad Tibbits says the idea emerged from the sugar industry despite the mining industry now being its largest customer.

“Diacon established plastic guarding in 1988 and it was then developed into the complete conveyor guarding system approximately 10 years ago,” Tibbits tells Safe to Work.

“Customers had issues with the manual handling of steel guarding as they were too heavy and created too many issues when it would come time for guard removal for conveyor maintenance, so Diacon was the first to introduce the custom engineered plastic conveyor guarding system in response.”

The switch to plastic came from the sugar industry’s demand for a non-corrosive conveyor guard. 

“Steel guarding was prominent in the sugar industry at the time and there was a real call from industry leaders to find a guarding solution that would last longer than steel, and Diacon was able to deliver this and more,” Diacon general manager Matt Kennett says. 

“There’s a lot of issues with corrosion for steel guarding because of the hazardous environments the guarding systems are exposed to.”

Diacon’s conveyor guards feature an impressive 15-year UV exposure guarantee, proof that they can withstand these harsh mining environments across Australia.

Typically weighing between 12 and 16 kilograms, the plastic conveyor guards weigh significantly less than their steel alternatives, which allows for installation and maintenance to be a one-person job. 

And with most guarding installed on catwalks, the lighter footprint prevents any potential drops from occurring, stopping the guards from falling and striking workers. 

Diacon’s conveyor guards also feature a locking mechanism to ensure it is stored safely to avoid any trips or collisions with other workers. 

With Diacon specialising in conveyor guarding for a decade, this proven track record has benefitted its reputation, which has led to consistent work with all the major mining companies throughout Australia.

Outside of Australia, the company has received customer enquiries across Europe, South America, Africa, Mongolia, Russia, the United States, Canada and New Zealand. 

Diacon has also secured distribution of its conveyor guards in the United Kingdom, as well as Papua New Guinea. 

The company’s plastic conveyor guards guarantee a 15-year lifespan, which is triple of what is offered with regular steel conveyor guarding. 

According to Tibbits, educating the industry that there is an alternative to steel conveyor guards is a key goal for the company. 

“Our guarding prevents customers from the need to replace their conveyor guards so frequently, which leads to lower lifetime costs. Our biggest hurdle is that people just don’t know that this alternative exists, yet,” he says. 

Diacon offers bespoke solutions for its customers, delivering a custom
in-house design.

Rather than dealing with multiple companies, Diacon handles the entire end-to-end process from the initial site measure right through to the installation of its products.

“You can come to one company (Diacon) to get a start to finish package from site measure, laser scanning, design, engineering, manufacture and installation,” Kennett says. 

“We also have that above our competitors – to have just one contractor rather than multiple.”

Diacon’s products are designed and manufactured in Australia, which is a significant aspect for the company. 

“When you buy Diacon, you’re supporting local Australian industry and helping to provide local jobs,” Kennett continues.

“It also helps it be seen across the world as a quality Australian-made product that can be exported. It highlights what can be made here in our backyard.”

With Diacon’s conveyor guards highly praised in Australia, the company has earned positive feedback from its customers, who credit the company as being a one-stop-shop solution.

“Our customers tell us that they value Diacon, as we are able to provide a premium yet cost effective solution when you consider the overall project and lifespan of the product,” Tibbits says. 

For Kennett, the conveyor guards represent an Australian-engineered safety solution that can service the largest processing applications.

“We are proudly Australian owned, operated and manufactured,” he says. “Our guarding is born and bred out of safety issues, to prevent hazards and manual handling. It’s custom created with safety at the forefront.” 

This story also appears in the July issue of Safe to Work.

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