Atlas Energy Solutions has selected Voith Turbo to supply a total of 21 TurboBelt 800 TPXL fill control fluid coupling drives (including spares) to power 42 miles of conveyor belt as part of Atlas Energy Solutions’ historic Dune Express project. ELIN Motoren, a Voith company, will also provide 21 customized low noise electric motors for the project, including spares. Once in operation, the overland conveyor system will serve as a low-impact transport system, taking sand from Texas to New Mexico while establishing a new world record for a single conveyor flight without a mid-belt drive at an impressive 16.3 miles overall single flight length.
“As planned, the Dune Express is enormous,” said Roland Hoet, vice president sales, HDC Voith Turbo Americas. “Conveyor CV-004, the last in the system, will be the world-record holder, and combined with the three conveyors earlier in the line, this 42-mile conveyor system will be the longest in North and South America, and the second longest in the world.”
The system’s size is an important factor in the overall project, as it allows the system to positively impact its neighboring communities through the reduction in traffic congestion associated with sand delivery. To achieve this, the Dune Express addresses an explicit need for operations within Texas’ oil-rich Permian Basin: To limit highway traffic and road-safety concerns related to such an active venture.
Once in operation, sand will begin its journey from Atlas’ Kermit, Texas, facility and the Dune Express will carry material into New Mexico for storage or delivery. By powering the extensive conveyor system, Voith’s TurboBelt 800 TPXL coupling drives allow Atlas to eliminate millions of truck miles driven across the Permian Basin. This results in lower emissions within the communities where the sand would otherwise be carried.
The multimillion-dollar project required significant technical work by Voith, ultimately developing seven different drive package designs for the install. Most significantly, the Voith drives needed to be designed to provide a specified acceleration time of 10 minutes for the conveyors. This extended start-up time was required to maintain belt tensions, especially along the lengthy horizontal curves for two of the system’s four belts. This start-up time is significantly longer than most large conveyors, which typically require 60 to 120 seconds.
“Voith’s new TurboBelt 800 TPXL fill control couplings are the latest design update to Voith’s TPXL family of fill control models,” said Hoet. “This new TurboBelt technology uses an advanced oil-filling control system which provides continuous fill-level control through a forward and reverse flow pump. It eliminates the On/Off function solenoid fill and drain valves of the previous technology “TPKL” fill control models.”
Commissioning and installation of the full conveyor system, complete with the Voith TurboBelt TPXL coupling drives, is anticipated in Q4 2024. Once complete, the Dune Express will have more than 75,000 tons of storage space for sand.
“The Atlas project is the largest Voith order in North America for complete drive packages,” said Hoet. “We are responsible for the main electric motors; the TurboBelt TPXL couplings; the gear reducers; the base frames; the connection couplings, both low speed and high speed; the air-to-oil coolers for the TurboBelt TPXL units; and the control system for the TurboBelts. This is an exciting project for Voith Turbo since it proves that hydrodynamic drive solutions can provide critical torque control for even the largest overland material handling conveyor systems.”