Baumer Offers HeavyDuty Encoders for Harsh Industrial Environments

Baumer HeavyDuty encoders ensure reliability under tough conditions.

Baumer HeavyDuty encoders ensure reliability under tough conditions.

March 31, 2020—
Minera El Abra is an open pit copper mine, located 75.6 kilometers northeast of the Chilean city of Calama. Mine output per day are more than 200,000 tons of copper ore for copper cathode production. Conveyor belts transporting the ore over many kilometers must deliver maximum performance. For doing so, they are driven by powerful electric motors. HeavyDuty incremental encoders HOG 10 by Baumer Hübner are ideal for motor speed feedback in a such a demanding outdoor application. They endure dust, dirt, vibration and other harmful impacts that occur every day in open pit mines. 

10,000 kilometers away, at the port of Rotterdam, the Baumer model POG 10 is on duty. In the largest port of Europe, more than 300 million tons of bulk cargo is handled every year, including more than 55 million tons of iron ore and coal. These intermediately stored goods are handled with bucket wheel excavators with a capacity of 5,000 tons per hour. HeavyDuty encoders by were chosen for this application because they withstand salty air, rain and frost without any problem

The HeavyDuty line of encoders must deliver the same precision signals as their little brothers. Plant control systems utilize these signals for speed monitoring at drives or position feedback at machine parts. To controllers, this is the only way to “get informed” of any excess speed or the 1/3 drive falling below a defined speed limit so they can intervene accordingly. Even minor measuring errors can have drastic consequences that may result system damage, e.g. in bulk material conveyance.

Besides precision, reliability is likewise important – as shown in the examples of open pit mining and bulk material transport. For reliable performance in the harsh conditions present in open pit mines and port installations, the encoders must withstand hard shocks, vibration and other shaft impacts without losing their precision capabilities for many years. Product exchange is expensive, not because of encoder pricing but because of installation in places difficult to access and system downtime for the time of exchange. Robust, thick-walled housings and a shock and vibration resistant interior are basic requirements. Additionally, the encoders provide generously dimensioned bearings with large bearing spacing at both shaft ends.

Not only mechanical robustness but also electrical resilience is a must. For example, if electromechanical fields generated by live, unshielded cables are present close to the encoder. Without appropriate shielding, the encoder electronics may be destroyed or at least be impaired at an extent resulting in measuring signals of bad quality. Shafts currents generated by voltage difference may burn the bearing lubrication and lead to bearing damage or destruction. Electrical isolation is therefore indispensable for HeavyDuty encoders.

Tightness is another must. Whether moisture, dust or dirt - HeavyDuty encoders must be well sealed. This is especially important at critical, neuralgic points: shaft and electrical connections. Sealing includes corrosion protection by appropriate materials and coatings, against salt water and chemicals that would impair encoder functionality.

Incremental and absolute encoders are available in 58 mm housings and as large designs with 287 mm flange size and 150 mm hollow shaft. These encoders support all relevant analog and digital interfaces. High power outputs ensure excellent and noise-immune signal quality even over long a distance - depending on the product variant up to 550 meters, in fiber optic transmission even up to 1.5 kilometers.

To ensure fail-free operation, electrical functionalities and signal quality undergo 100 percent inspections. Comprehensive quality certificates certify customers absolute encoder reliability. No matter whether copper mining in Chile or bulk materials handling and transport in the port of Rotterdam, HeavyDuty encoders ensure permanent operation reliability without downtime under the toughest conditions.

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