Smart cleaners reduce replacement costs

Uncover the true costs of premature belt cleaner blade replacements with this new case study from Flexco Australia.

Without a true sense of remaining blade life, it is not uncommon to see belt cleaner blades discarded with usable cleaning life still available. In many instances, these blades could likely have lasted until the next scheduled downtime, and the cost of these premature replacements can add up to more than you realise. That was the case for one Flexco customer who would learn that prematurely replacing cleaner blades to fit maintenance schedules was creating a costly problem.

Your hidden cost

Many heavy-duty operations try to get ahead of problems and address repairs or replacements during regularly scheduled belt shutdowns. However, this maintenance strategy requires replacements or repairs to be made around the schedule of the operation, not necessarily as the parts require maintenance.

This was a common occurrence at one cement operation where maintenance teams were discarding blades with 20 per cent or more usable life available that would likely have lasted until the next scheduled downtime. At a cost of approximately $US500 per replacement blade, the operation was wasting a lot of operational expense by not fully maximising the usable life of each blade.

Because of prematurely replacing belt cleaner blades during scheduled belt shutdowns, the maintenance team was also spending unnecessary time, at $US35 per hour, which could have been focused on other critical needs of the operation.

Our found solution

After partnering on a trial program, Flexco determined that this customer was an ideal candidate for a Flexco Elevate Smart Belt Cleaner, the first remote belt cleaner monitoring technology of its kind.

The operation needed the real-time belt cleaner performance monitoring that Flexco Elevate provides, as well as the unmatched level of insights and alerts to items such as blade wear rates it can deliver for every Flexco cleaner across the site. Before implementing a complete site installation, 10 belt cleaners were upgraded to Smart Cleaners by equipping them with a Flexco Elevate i3 Device for remote monitoring.

Once installed, the i3 Devices were immediately gathering data and wirelessly transferring it to the Flexco Elevate i3 Dashboard monitored remotely by the operation’s maintenance team.

With an up-to-the-minute record of belt and cleaner runtimes, Flexco Elevate helped the team accurately gauge the remaining blade life for polyurethane precleaner blades across the operation. Additionally, the data insights helped remove the guesswork for the maintenance team allowing the operation to save time and improve employee safety by minimising physical inspections.

Add it up

When the operation had a more precise understanding of the remaining cleaner blade life from the data insights gathered from just 10 of the operation’s smart belt cleaners, polyurethane blade replacement rates decreased from an average of three times per year to 2.4 times per year.

This resulted in material savings of $US15,000 and $US9,000 in reallocated labour hours in the first year alone. By delaying blade replacements until the next scheduled shutdown and maximising usable blade life, Flexco Elevate Smart Belt Cleaners directly contributed more than $US24,000 in added value for the operation in the first year.

Want to learn more about the ways your operation can save when maintenance teams can prioritise inspections and repairs? Check out www.flexcoelevate.com

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