Importance of addressing system for long conveyors in heavy industries

  • Articles
  • Nov 28,23
Long Conveyor is an important component in heavy industries. Ashish Chane conducts a study and presents a white paper on addressing its importance and benefits to the organisations.
Importance of addressing system for long conveyors in heavy industries

Long distance conveyors have several instruments for various functions like Emergency Stops at intervals, Belt Misalignment Switches usually a pair at every fifty-meter, Zero Speed Switch, Belt Speed Sensors, Encoders, etc. These switches and instrumentation parts increases as the length of the conveyor increases. With the increase in number of switches, it becomes difficult to locate the fault or operated switch over the length of conveyor. So, the addressing system has an importance in long conveyors for ensuring the faster responses and effective working of the system.

In the first part of the study, we will discuss importance of addressing systems. The available options for addressing techniques with us are mentioned in second part of study. In third part, some case studies of application we have done with these systems, brief information of these systems and its contribution to improve efficiency to decrease downtime by using addressing system.

Conveyors are used in heavy industries mainly for material handling having lengths from few meters to several kilometres. In India we have worked on Projects up to 22-kilometre-long conveyor. In long conveyors, the location of fault is very critical and time consuming. Traditionally customer is making groups of 5-6 switches and wires them up to controller and considers one digital input for a group. Even after this arrangement locating fault is not that easy particularly in case of emergency this matters most.

Introduction of addressing system over two wire bus system for the switches along these conveyors helps the user for locating fault and its location from control room, number and location of the operated switch can be displayed in the SCADA system and alarm can be generated so that the user can address the issue immediately without any time lag. Besides that, installing the addressing system contribute to overall efficiency and productivity of the plant.

Additionally, we can use these systems as a part of Industry 4.0 based solutions and we can log the data from the switches such as no of operations of switches which can be further utilised for analytics, trends of operations of particular switch, asset management and can maintain the history of entire number of switches.

Addressing: An address is a collection of information, presented in a mostly fixed format, used to give the location, generally as reference to make identification easier and helps to locate the actual location of fault.

Addressing Concept: Addressing is the process, coded or numbered to a location of a switch which will be monitored by a process defined. In case of longer conveyor each switch along the conveyor has an address by a sensor module which will be communicating to a controller on a two-wire bus system.

Addressing Technologies: There are several addressing Systems used globally for the switches around long conveyor. These systems can be further categorised as safe and standard addressing systems. We are working on below technologies for addressing of switches along long conveyor.

  • Safe Addressing System – We have developed Safety Addressing System in association with our global vendor using the versatile bus for Industrial Applications. Bus is used for transferring analogue and digital information over distances up to 10 km. It can be stand-alone or as part of a PLC based control system. There are no special protocols to learn - all modules are simply and quickly configured with a small hand-held device.
System is used extensively in mining for ventilation, lighting, and conveyor control applications for signal transmission.

Our Safe Addressing System is a TUV approved SIL 3 system for monitoring of E-Stops and pull cord switches, especially on long mining conveyor systems. It can be used to identify which switch has been pulled as well as to shut down the conveyor.

  • Standard Addressing System - Schmersal India developed the Standard addressing system in association with an Indian company which is based on two wire bus system. The system uses the drop in current in the sensors installed in the switches. Standard addressing system can be installed over maximum 9 km distance of conveyor.
  • AS-Interface (Actuator Sensor Interface, ASi) is an industrial networking solution (physical layer, data access method and protocol) used in PLC, DCS and PC-based automation systems. It is designed for connecting simple field I/O devices (e.g. binary ON/OFF devices such as actuators, sensors, rotary encoders, analog inputs and outputs, push buttons, and valve position sensors) in discrete manufacturing and process applications using a single two-conductor cable. AS-Interface is an 'open' technology supported by a multitude of automation equipment vendors. The AS-Interface has been an international standard according to IEC 62026-2 since 1999. AS-Interface having limitation of distance and can be used for maximum of 1.2 km.

Benefits of Addressing System 
Addressing systems are information systems technology that supports all operations carried out at regular routine for long conveying systems. Provides great ease in the realization of the functions and faults in long conveyors. 

The main benefits to the long conveyor system are as follows: 
? Exact location of Fault
? Increase in safety of operators.
? No information errors.
? Reduction of time access to information. 
? Increase the efficiency of system. 
? Increased employee productivity.

The benefits of addressing system to the business and operations: 
? Accuracy 
? Standardization 
? Ease of Use 
? Timely feedback 
? Increased efficiency 
? Increased profitability 

Addressing System Implementation
For the implementation of addressing system on long conveyor system, we need to calculate the number of switches to be addressed on the long conveyor. Based on the number of switches we need to engineer and design the system and calculated the number of sensors to be connected in the loop. In some of the addressing systems the end termination sensor is used to terminate the loop. In some addressing systems harmonic filters and repeater needs to be considered based on length of the conveyor.

Results and Findings
Industry's most encounters problems are with safety and location of Fault on the long conveyor which can be resolved by using addressing systems. We can further extend these systems for higher level of automation, Industry 4.0 which can used for asset and inventory management.

The conveyors with addressing system, has achieved the following benefits,

  •  The Faster notification of fault.
  •  Increase safety on conveyors.
  •  Improvement in productivity with implementation of addressing system. 
  • Provided an ease of reporting and traceability.
  • Can also be used for implementation of IIOT. 

About the Author

Ashish Channe is the Dy General Manager in the Industry Verticals with Schmersal India, Pune. 

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