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July 2018 - September 2018
Phase 1 Complete
Project Description


Bulk Solids Modelling (BSM) creates and tests fully-functional scale models of conveyor transfer chutes for the mining and minerals processing industries. Their 1:10 scale models accurately represent the geometry, rigidity, and the inner surface of the full-scale chute. These allow plant engineers to understand a chute’s performance, identify weaknesses, trial improvement ideas, and increase the confidence level in a transfer station design – all without having to construct an actual chute.

The Challenge

BSM tests its chute models in a conveyor loop that continuously recycles a moistened feedstock in a way that accurately replicates real-world behaviour. All belt motor drives were originally controlled and monitored manually, and the feedstock moisture monitored by a stand-alone PC.

BSM approached ICON Technologies to design and supply an integrated monitoring and control system that would streamline testing by providing a single user interface to automate all the motor drives and monitor the feedstock moisture levels. They also wanted to see live data trends and correlations throughout the test session and capture detailed logs for offline analysis and reporting.

The Solution

ICON Technologies supplied the system as two “ready-to-install” instrument enclosures containing the system controller and motor drives, plus a large touchscreen and custom software to convert BSM’s existing PC into an HMI and data repository.

The real-time system controller connects the HMI to a mix of sensors and actuators, including motor VFDs, hall effect sensors, and moisture sensor. Communications occur via 4-20 mA signals, 24 V digital I/O, Ethernet, and Modbus interfaces.

The data historian continuously logs all signals of interest, including motor power consumption, belt speeds, and moisture levels. The operator can plot live data from any tag, view previous tests, or export selected test data into a spreadsheet for detailed analysis and reporting.

This system is typical of many industrial R&D, pilot plants, or any other scenario that needs safe and robust control of industrial devices, the flexibility to quickly reconfigure the system as required, and intuitive access to rich real-time and offline data. See our Measurement and Automation solutions for more info.