We have been working on a new innovation here at KRS Design & Drive Systems.
What if you could harness the kinetic energy from the Idler Rolls on a conveyor to provide light, WiFi and monitoring capabilities in areas along a production transport line without the need to do a costly install of power circuits for kilometres at a time? This could open up a world of possibilities not limited to remote checks, increased safety via LED lighting and in turn productivity. Not to mention money saved on expensive and time consuming large scale power installations. At KRS Design, is no longer a question of ‘what if’ as the time is now.
Presenting the “Energy Harvester Lighting and Control System”. It is a plug and play style system, wherein an in-house designed generator is coupled to an Idler roll on the bottom return path of a conveyor system. The energy harvested from the conveyor powers a control circuit enclosed in a heavy duty control box which powers sensors, internet, cameras and LED lighting for 100 meters of a conveyor run. That’s 100 meters of light, internet and monitoring capabilities.
The lighting and sensors are straight forward enough, being connected directly to the Energy Harvester control box. The really interesting and exciting part of all of this is the ability to monitor and control the system remotely utilising purpose designed software via a dedicated WEB server and Modbus TCP/IP interface. This allows the end user to easily integrate into their existing SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) system or if no SCADA is available, the in-built WEB server can be used to remotely monitor the system via Ethernet or WiFi.
Each “Energy Harvester” system draws approximately 150 watts from the conveyor infrastructure, that is 150 watts per 100 meters. In the case of a conveyor system run that stretches for kilometres, where numerous “Energy Harvesters” can be installed, it has been designed to not overload the power limitations of the existing conveyor system, as typically these systems tend to be using up to 200-500 Kilowatt motors.
Although conceived initially as a means of lighting up long and dark coal mining shafts, these systems are not only limited to underground mining operations. Materials and manufacturing plants could greatly benefit from this system, and it’s ease of installation and implementation means vast conveyor runs with little to no light and more importantly monitoring capabilities can now be luminous and viewed via camera for the entire conveyor belt run.
Since its initial inception and prototyping/testing phase at our factory located south of Sydney, we at KRS Design have three working demonstration systems installed and operating in three seperate locations. The first system is installed in a coal preparation plant (above ground) located in Lithgow. This system has been running for 15 months without failure or problems. The second and third systems are installed in two seperate underground coal mines and have been running for 6 months and 3 months respectively and both have also been performing perfectly.