Diacon Australia pioneered its plastic conveyor guarding solutions more than 20 years ago and the company continues to offer a safer and more convenient option to steel alternatives.
Backed by 30 years of experience in engineering plastics for industrial applications, Diacon Australia’s Queensland-made plastic conveyor guards provide a simple yet effective solution that solves a number of common conveyor guarding issues.
Traditional steel conveyor guards are notorious for being heavy to lift and timely to dismantle, not to mention they are often forced to be removed and placed on the site’s catwalk, posing serious hazards for workers.
Diacon Australia managing director Brendan Refalo says there are many standout benefits to plastic conveyor guarding over steel counterparts.
“Diacon guarding is lightweight, corrosion free and never needs to be painted,” Refalo tells Safe to Work.
“Our guarding system also has a hook and hang mounting system and a lockable slide lock that meets Australian standards for connection of conveyor guards.”
This hook and hang mounting system is a unique feature to Diacon guarding, and is able to store the guards when they are removed for maintenance work.
For Refalo, this not only provides an easier conveyor maintenance process, but also prevents any unwanted trips or falls on a catwalk.
“It’s common in the mining industry that when conveyors are dismantled for conducting maintenance work – things like doing belt splicing and changing rollers – the guards are removed and discarded on the floor or placed onto the catwalk,” Refalo continues. “Our guards are designed to eliminate this problem.”
Designed for materials handling applications, the Diacon conveyor guard uses a custom, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic guard panel with holes for ventilation and visibility, and customised panel sizes up to 3000 millimetres long.
“Every guarding system we provide is bespoke,” Refalo says. “We utilise the latest in laser scanning technology to go and measure an existing conveying structure using 3D modelling CAD systems to design the guards to perfectly suit the on-site conveyor. Diacon’s customised guarding is able to fit around any obstacle.”
Diacon Australia’s conveyor guards also prevent ‘creeping’ – a common issue with plastics – by including a reinforced stainless-steel frame that keeps the guard in shape.
“All materials creep to some degree,” Refalo says. “With plastic, creep is a significant design consideration. With our guards we control the creep in the plastics by reinforcing the plastic with stainless steel.”
Diacon is the only company that includes an in-built handrail hanging feature, a reinforced frame and a 15-year UV (ultraviolet) guarantee for its conveyor guards.
This is a testament to Diacon’s 20-year history in supplying conveyor guards, which have continued to improve safety and maintenance processes at mine sites, ports and other process industry sites.
Prior to Diacon’s market inception in the mining industry, steel conveyor guards were the only option available.
In Australia’s harsh mining landscapes, steel often faces rust and corrosion problems, but plastic is able to prevent this from occurring.
“We have been working with plastics for over 30 years,” Refalo says. “Our knowledge and experience with using these materials has afforded us the ability to be the only conveyor guarding specialists that are able to guarantee a 15-year lifespan for our product.”
The local manufacturing of Diacon Australia’s conveyor guards presents customers with confidence in supply and liberation that they’re supporting Australian workers, keeping work on local shores.
“We manufacture our guards in Queensland using modern CNC cutting and processing equipment to manufacture Australian-made guards,” Refalo says.
Unlike traditional conveyor guarding, Diacon’s conveyor guarding also meets Australian standards for load/deflection requirements, including AS4024.1601-2006.
“Australia has some of the highest mine site safety standards, and Australians take safety very seriously,” Refalo says.
“For us to sell a guarding system into the Australian industry, it is paramount that we meet all Australian standards. No shortcut will be taken to eliminate the need to meet the standard.”
Compared with its competitors, Diacon maintains its position as the original innovator and supplier of plastic conveyor guards, offering a sophisticated design that is always under review and evolves to suit client expectations.
Refalo is thankful for the support the company has received from the mining industry for Diacon’s products, which have kept mine operations user-friendly, while also helping to achieve a less hazardous working environment.
“We get very few chances to thank our customers, but we really applaud and thank the Australian mining community and other processing industries for their continued support of our product and the implementation throughout their sites to protect their people,” he says. “We would like to thank them for that and we look forward to working to keep Australians safe for another 30 years.”
This story also appears in the May issue of Safe To Work.