Increasing Conveyor Safety & Efficiency with QCTM retractable idler frames

In Bulk Material Handling operations such as mines and export terminals, an out of service conveyor belt means lost production and lost profit.  In today’s competitive environment, minimising downtime and increasing conveyor availability is critical.  Assuring safety of personnel and protection of the environment however, is mandatory.

ESS designed the Quick Change Trac-Mount (QCTM) retractable idler frame for a project at one of the country’s largest coal export terminals.  The aim was reduce the risk involved in roller change out for workers, and reduce the duration of roller change outs to increase conveyor availability.

The project scope included the design and manufacture of over 1,000 idler sets in an over ocean conveyor system which have to be changed at height. This task is traditionally dangerous and time-consuming, requiring scaffolding and fall arrest equipment to be deployed.

The ESS QCTM idler frame is designed to dramatically improve the safety of roller change outs on any elevated conveyor or in restricted access areas. By allowing rollers to be changed from the conveyor walkway, the hazards associated with manual handling, confined spaces and working at heights (EWP or scaffolding) have been engineered out.

According to the client, roller change outs on a boom conveyor previously took two or three workers up to eight hours to perform. This same task can now be carried out by one worker in less than two hours, representing big cost savings, quickly realising ROI for the QCTM idler frame installation and most importantly making the roller change outs much safer.

The QCTM idler frame possesses 80 per cent greater strength than traditional retractable frames, is customisable for each application, and is designed to ensure the slide out frame doesn’t topple or twist. Far greater torsional strength is achieved with a wider footprint. The QCTM idler frame is available in stainless or galvanised mild steel. Rollers can be free issued by the client or can be supplied by ESS.

Flat return versions of the QCTM idler frame feature an integrated belt lifter, which disengages the return side of the belt from the rollers during change out, reducing effort required to withdraw rollers. 

With over three decades’ expertise to draw from through its long history with Martin Engineering USA – ESS refined and improved upon the original design of the TRAC Mount Idler to develop the ESS Quick Change Trac-Mount retractable idler frame. The Heavy Duty series frame is suitable for 1,200 – 3,000 mm belt width, standard duty and light duty QCTM idler frames are available for smaller belt widths.

To read more on how the ESS Quick Change Trac-Mount idler frame was able to increase savings and safety recently at an Australian export terminal, click here to read Quick Change Retractable Idler Frames for Conveyors. 

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