Monitoring systems detected excessive startup torque on a 4,200-foot Joy underground-to-surface conveyor system at an Illinois coal operation. Since the system is the main production artery for the mine, site operators needed the issue resolved quickly to avoid months of potential downtime.

Solution design

Smart Solutions experts took baseline readings of the system during the commissioning process. However, once the system was in regular operation, operators detected excessive startup torque. The Smart Solutions team used the baseline readings to quickly target the problem area.

Personnel immediately went to the site to investigate the problem area with handheld vibration monitors and confirmed there was excessive vibration on the head drive pulley due to a faulty coupling.

Left undetected, this could have lead to damage of the four 2,500-hp gearbox shaft assemblies, which are long lead-time replacement items.

Normal production was able to continue while our teams monitored the situation and determined how to resolve the problem and prevent damage to the gearboxes.

Through data tracking, consistent monitoring and quick action, Smart Solutions experts quickly addressed the issue and devised a solution.

The results

None of the four gearboxes were damaged by the excessive vibration, saving the customer months of costly downtime. The issue was fixed during a scheduled maintenance period, eliminating the need for any unplanned downtime and allowing nonstop production at the site.

Recognizing the potential severity that was avoided through quick detection and action, the customer then worked with our teams more proactively moving forward.

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