DYNA Engineering’s high-density polyethylene plastic conveyor guards provide all the benefits and more of the older steel alternatives, but in a more robust, lighter and sustainable package.
Mine site maintenance is often a laborious task that requires strenuous activities, which can pose significant safety risks and hazards to workers.
For example, the replacement or repair of steel conveyor guards for a materials handling application can be a challenging exercise.
While the role of a conveyor guard is to keep personnel safe from a conveyor’s line of fire, the traditional steel variations are associated with costly and time-consuming maintenance that potentially leads to safety hazards.
This is further amplified by the potential risk workers face from heavy lifting.
However, DYNA Engineering’s HDPE (high-density polyethylene) plastic conveyor guards take the burden out of heavy lifting, providing a lightweight and low maintenance alternative that meets all required Australian standards.
The HDPE panels can be removed or installed within minutes to save valuable uptime, offering a product that is up to 40 per cent lighter than traditional steel conveyor guards.
It is versatile enough to incorporate metal detectors, belt change stations, access platforms, conveyor pull wires and retractable idler roller frames, while also being resistant to most common chemicals.
DYNA Engineering general manager Thomas Greaves says the HDPE conveyor guards have significant advantages over their steel counterparts.
“The mining industry has a focus on reducing heavy lifting. Taking 100 steel guards off is quite a heavy job to do,” Greaves tells Safe to Work.
“The HDPE conveyor guards lower the risk of heavy lifting by reducing a two-man job to a one-man job.”
Maintenance for steel conveyor guards is costly and time consuming, but since the plastic conveyor guards are resistant to corrosion and rust, low maintenance is made possible.
“The main cause of rust on the steel conveyor guards is scratches and chips that expose unpainted metal to harsh elements,” Greaves says.
“When a metal conveyor guard is delivered to site and someone scratches it by taking it out of the package, immediately those guards will deteriorate with rust and corrosion.
“Because the surface is quite easy to damage, deterioration happens faster than expected.
“Maintaining steel mesh is costly, repaints take a lot of time and money. Ordering a new guard has the same problem of being scratched or breaks the paint. It’s a constant cycle of the damaged surface treatment.”
This is not the case with HDPE, which is a highly robust alternative to steel for conveyor guarding.
The HDPE guards can be scratched or heavily handled without suffering deterioration like metal alternatives.
For Greaves, HDPE is a tried and tested material on mine sites, with customers already familiar with its capabilities.
DYNA’s HDPE conveyor guards are manufactured locally in Australia from recycled materials.
“Manufacturing our HDPE guards locally means more jobs for Australians through direct employment opportunities with DYNA,” Greaves says.
“Using recycled plastic is a benefit for the recycling industry itself and creates more employment opportunities.”
From a sustainability perspective, the company hopes to encourage a circular economy by using Australia’s recycled materials to produce the HDPE conveyor guards.
“We’ve always been focussed on sustainability and the environment, but when we invented this product, we identified that plastic is something everyone is trying to cut down on, where our guards provide a good use for recycled material.”
DYNA has also seen an influx in local demand for its HDPE conveyor guards and decided to invest in new workshops.
The company recently opened its latest workshop and is looking to create additional jobs by encouraging a circular economy.
“Since October 2019, we’ve seen serious demand for HDPE guards, so we’ve invested in a new workshop to facilitate future demand for what we believe is a strong growth area in the industry,” Greaves says.
“COVID-19 has accelerated the need to sure up supply chains, it’s no longer as simple as shipping things from overseas. Local industry ensures customers are choosing a product that meets the relevant quality and safety standards.”
DYNA is also undertaking accreditation for ISO 9001, IS 14001 and ISO 45001, which will further prove its safety and environmental capabilities.
“We believe gaining accreditation will help us maintain higher standards of customer services and maximise environmental improvements,” Greaves says.
While DYNA’s HDPE conveyor guards offer the obvious benefits of a lightweight, safe and durable product, Greaves says the company has also paid attention to the smaller features.
“It really comes down to the simple aspects like how the weights of the guards have been machined onto the panel for risk assessments and how the material is easy to handle without any sharp edges,” he says.
“You’ve got your big selling tickets and also these small things that are really good bonuses and prove to be handy on site.”
This story also appears in the May issue of Safe To Work.