A revolutionary new beltweigher (belt scale) product has just been released by Control Systems Technology Pty Ltd. Called the IntelliRoll, this wireless ‘Weigher in a Roller’ can be placed directly into a conveyor belt idler frame in place of a normal roll. It looks like a normal roll, but is an amazing ‘microbot’, containing all the usual belt weigher electronics, load cells, highly efficient energy harvesting generator and a battery so it can still work when the belt is not running, all of this inside the actual roller. As well as measuring weight, the IntelliRoll can also measure temperature, angle of inclination, and conveyor belt speed. The IntelliRoll can be placed anywhere on the conveyor structure, and is supplied pre-calibrated for speed and weight.
One interesting outcome from this development is that the installation of the IntelliRoll belt scale does not require the services of an electrician. The system is completely wireless.
The seed idea came from Mr Paul Chase, an engineer with more than 50 years’ experience in conveyor belt weighing, who previously worked with Ramsey, USA. The concept was developed by CST CEO Ian Burrell, and his highly experienced R&D team, including Dr Vladimir Sin, Dr Yuantu Huang, Ms Amanda Wynne, and Mr Paul Lillington. This paradigm changing new product represents a quantum leap forward for the in motion weighing of bulk materials, particularly in its ease of installation and change out. Thus, downtime will be minimal, and replacement will normally not require specialist knowledge.
A further exciting feature is the associated development, by R&D team member, Dr Yuantu Huang, of a smart phone app, to be available in the app store to provide an operator interface connected by Wifi to the IntelliRoll. The IntelliRoll electronics not only calculates flow rate and total tonnes, it stores weighing data for many years all accessible via Wifi.
The challenge, and critical goal for all weighing is, of course, accuracy. Tests at TUNRA (The University of Newcastle Research Associates) by Dr Vladimir Sin, a key member of CST’s R&D team, have produced encouraging results, which give the company confidence in offering it as a as a viable replacement for traditional one- two idler belt weighers with weigh frames and achievable accuracy 2% to 5%. This would be a good time to mention that the IntelliRoll cannot flout the normal rules of good belt weighing, each application can still benefit from application engineering. Good alignment also remains necessary for a good result.
The IntelliRoll can be applied as a single unit or in one or more sets of three IntelliRoll units depending upon accuracy requirements. Multiple IntelliRolls can linked together as one weighing system, and can communicate with each other through Zigbee protocol, which is a low-cost, low-power, wireless star/mesh network standard designed for applications like this. The whole IntelliRoll array communicates with the user as a single Wifi server. The IntelliRoll array can be permanently connected into the site SCADA system via Wifi if desired or some sites may prefer to just operate the system from a smart phone.
The IntelliRoll will initially find application in process control and in ‘process investigations’ where a metallurgist might like a temporary belt scale where there is not one installed. As CST gains experience with this product , we expect to apply IntelliRolls into applications which require higher accuracy and eventually into trade certified projects. CST is already experiencing strong market interest.