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Radio Controlled Conveyor Loads 11,500 Tons Of Coal Into Vessels Every Hour

Problem
A midwest energy terminal that provides low sulfur western coal to power plants located in the Great Lakes region loaded over 200,000 tons of coal daily via a crane into vessels as long as 1000’. A 96-inch transfer conveyor system transports the coal directly from the car dumper or from the storage pile to the loading dock and traveling shiploader. In the past, two to three operators were required to operate the shiploader, and operators were required to visually distribute the coal into bins throughout the vessel to balance the load. Loading a vessel typically took 22 hours.

Solution
Radio remote controls were employed to control all functions of the ship loader, including:
  • Speed of belt 
  • Travel from bin to bin 
  • Pick and place 
  • Movement of shoot to fit bin 
  • Flow of coal 
  • Move shuttle boom 
  • Start/stop 
  • All inputs provided to PLC for balancing 

Coal can now be loaded into the waiting vessels at rates up to 11,500 TPH. Cost savings are realized as one operator can now single handedly operate the ship loader. The loads are balanced in the bins via the PLC as opposed to relying on operators to visually determine the placement of the coal. The ships can now be loaded in 16 hours versus 22.

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