Out of the tunnel, into the daylight and straight up at a 90-degree angle. What sounds like a ride on a roller coaster actually describes an innovative and sustainable transport solution from Continental: Flexowell. “This system is the world’s number one in up- and downhill conveying for any type of bulk material with a diameter of up to 400 millimeters,” says Product Manager Primoz Nelec. “Increasingly, it is the only solution for extending production without needing more land. This applies especially to metal processing industry because Flexowell provides smooth and reliable continuous transport with the lowest number of transfer points to the blast furnace. At the same time, Flexowell can also be used for handling ore, sinter, iron pallets or coke during storage and transport.”
The system already has a long tradition. Back in 1964, the first Flexowell conveyor belt opened up a new dimension in bulk material handling and conveying. Today, customers use the Flexowell technology in 45 countries and more than 15,000 installations.“
"The system is extremely reliable and environmentally friendly. It helps to decrease energy consumption and property ground costs for new production plants.It thus increases efficiency and sustainability and therefore makes an important contribution toward the corporate success of our customers."
Primoz Nelec, Product Manager
The solution’s sustainable character is also supported through a reduced belt weight and belt thickness since only one cross-rigid ply is required. A shorter belt-length also means less belt-installation and less splices. “This is not only environmentally friendly, it also reduces total equipment costs and enhances safety,” says Nelec. “Higher accuracy, flexibility, elasticity, tear resistance – ultimately, the system’s global success is based on many aspects.”
These also include its unique features, thanks to which the Flexowell technology holds all inclined and vertical continuous transport records in the bulk material handling industry:
- Highest performance: 400 m (1,312 ft) vertical up to 2,000 t/h (2,204 st/h)
- Vertical conveying: up to 500 m (1,640 ft) possible
- Widest belts: 2.4 m (7.87 ft)
- Highest tensile strength: up to 8,600 N/mm (4,910 PIW)
- Lowest belt elongation: by means of high tensile fabric or steelcord members
- Highest sidewalls: up to 630 mm (24.8 in
- Highest cleat profiles: up to 600 mm (23.8 in)
- Worldwide sales: in 45 countries
Moreover, the system is capable of running at inclinations from zero to 90 degrees, or at any angle in between. The Flexowell belt owes a further key benefit to its design. “Cross rigid base belts can be deflected from the horizontal to an incline or vertical and back again without bowing or sagging,” Primoz Nelec explains. This advantage applies, among other things, to the most popular example of the large variety of conveyor shapes: the vertical Flexowell S-system. Nelec: “The deflection points as well as the belt return on free lateral space supported by stub idlers definitely require the cross-rigidity of the base belt.”
These requirements have led to the special cross-rigid Flexowell base belts that achieve their characteristics through their fabric construction, a special belt composition and by a unique production process developed in-house. For a tensile rating of more than 1,000 Newtons per millimeter, steel cord belts with this cross-rigid belt construction are normally used. Furthermore, diagonal fabric reinforced sidewalls provide both high stability and flexibility.
Comprehensive services and customized features
Thanks to these properties, Flexowell allows heavy duty conveying systems with large capacities to be designed, constructed and maintained at considerably reduced initial and maintenance costs. This is made possible because Continental produces not only the Flexowell belts, but also provides various services and technical support for its solution.
Among other things, customers can choose a computer-aided design and layout of Flexowell conveyor belts according to their individual requirements and application. “Upon request, we also provide precise design requirements and specification for mechanical rotation parts for the conveyors,” says Primoz Nelec. “Our engineers carry out conveyor installation, splicing and inspections, including recording of the results. With our long-standing expertise and a worldwide network, we offer our customers a unique service package.”
Flexowell belts, always supplied in a standard black rubber quality with high abrasion resistance, can also be supplied with heat-resistant or flame-retardant rubber. With these properties, the belts are especially designed for horizontal, steeply inclined and vertical handling in the metal processing industry – while coarse-grained coal, rock, coarse sand, wood, or fertilizers can also be transported. But no matter the use scenario: With Flexowell, Continental lifts not only any type of bulk material to a new level, but also the overall performance of its customers.
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