All the ore from LKAB's operations in Kiruna, Malmberget and Svappavaara is transported to the harbours in Narvik, Norway and Luleå, Sweden. The handling at the production sites uses approximately 1,100 conveyors, which move everything from large rocks and crushed rock to slurry and ore pellets.
LKAB's ‘Safe conveyors' project aims to increase the safety of everyone who works near conveyors, without negatively affecting daily work from a maintenance point of view. Troax's Belt Conveyor System, designed and developed with LKAB, has been adapted to the harsh mining environment. Troax said the guard is easy to install onto belt conveyor beams, and easy to disassemble and reassemble during service and maintenance.
The system is built with the company's standard posts, tubes and ST 20 panels combined with special fixings to hold the panels in a horizontal position along with special fixings to the beams. The system is impact tested to a minimum level of 1,600 joules.
Adam Karlsson, product developer and project manager at Troax, said: "Mining environments are very tough, exposed to dust, dirt and water. Therefore, we have chosen to work with specially designed fixings with C4 class surface coating. There aren't the concrete floors or straight lines of normal production environments. Troax machine guards are flexible to start with, but we have taken it to the next level with a very user-friendly system."
Jenny Pyykkönen, project manager at LKAB, said: "We face a lot of challenges along the way, which means that we cannot use conventional solutions for machine guards. The Troax solution was chosen after reviewing potential solutions supplied by a variety of providers."
Josephine Granell, product manager for machine guarding at Troax, added: "We often develop special product solutions for our customers, but when it comes to the machine guarding for conveyors, we have developed a completely new system to meet the special requirements of the mining industry."
Installation of the Belt Conveyor System started during spring 2021 and it continues to grow in scale.
Pyykkönen said: "Our development work with Troax has led to a standardised guard solution that LKAB now uses to secure the working environment for everyone working in the vicinity of our conveyors."
Granell said: "We have applied for design protection for this new type of machine guard that in turn opens a completely new market for us at Troax. We see opportunities for the Belt Conveyor System throughout the global mining industry."