Flexco recently welcomed a new addition to its product development lab, which will accelerate the design and testing of new products. The 120,000 lb. capacity test rig will boost product development efficiency, making way for new concepts and solutions. While there are other test rigs in the industry, the custom-made rig was specifically designed by Flexco engineers to put a variety of products to work and measure the success and compatibility of each.
The rig replaces the previous test rig, which was utilized heavily for the past 30-plus years at Flexco.
“The diversified product offering at Flexco, combined with increased belt tensions and the continuing evolution of belt construction, prompted us to invest in this new rig,” Greg Westphall, director of engineering at Flexco, said. “It’s a one-of-a-kind machine designed and built by Flexco to enhance our testing platform and accelerate our design process.”
Westphall is quick to point out that, although the new rig is a significant upgrade from the previous one, it is not designed to replace field-testing. Instead, the new test rig ensures that products have undergone rigorous in-house testing before being placed in the field.
While the previous rig was focused mainly on testing mechanical belt fastening systems, the new rig will test the full line of Flexco products, including trackers, cleaners, plows, rollers, and lagging. Located in close proximity to the engineering department at the Downers Grove, Ill. headquarters of Flexco, the rig measures 24 feet (7.3 m) high and 12 feet (3.6 m) feet wide and weighs approximately 60,000 lbs.
The rig is modeled after the DIN-22110-2 Standard. It is equipped with six lagged 32” (800 mm) pulleys with a maximum belt speed of 1600 ft/min (~8 m/s). Belt widths from 8” to 32” (200 mm to 900 mm) can be tested, while tension can be cycled dynamically up to 120,000 lbs (533 kN) of force. The rig also features HMI touch-screen technology, hydraulically-actuated dynamic tracking, and a catwalk that hugs the perimeter of the machine for easy viewing and testing. The new design also allows for greater accessibility of data acquisition equipment, including high-speed cameras and vibration and force transducers.
“While the capabilities of the rig are impressive, the size offers additional benefits,” Westphall states. “When you can test cleaning, fastening, tracking, and other product functions all at the same time, you not only gauge the performance of individual products, but also their compatibility. This aligns with the Flexco philosophy of a holistic approach to maximizing belt conveyor productivity.”
For more information on Flexco products, programs, or services, log on to www.flexco.com.