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The Conveyor Digital Twin

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Belt conveyors are complex machines that require all components and parts to work together in a harsh and demanding operating environment. A major challenge in designing, building, and operating conveyors is the difficult truth that the real-life operation and performance of a conveyor can differ from design expectations. Even identical conveyors, when installed and operated side-by-side, may see different performance issues. The many design variables and complex operating conditions are the main reasons for this potential mismatch.

OCC's Conveyor Digital Twin is a complete digital representation of a conveyor's mechanical components and their operation

  • An effective digital twin creates a useful link between the design and operation of a machine
  • The design of the machine can be continually evaluated and updated to improve how it operates.
  • The Conveyor Digital Twin allows for a concrete understanding of the effect that each change to the design has on the operating characteristics of the machine
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Digital Twin

Conventional reliability prediction requires a lot of information from the actual system in operation. Failure data, performance history and other maintenance/operation issues are of utmost importance to drive the reliability. True system reliability comes from both quality-of-design/manufacture and operating/maintenance conditions. When a conveyor system performs poorly, it is all too easy for the designer to blame operations, and for the operations to blame the design. There is a clear gap between design engineering and operations/maintenance. If there is better data on how the conveyor responds to a range of operating conditions, better productivity-improvement decisions can be made without sacrificing reliability. A calibrated Digital Twin that predicts how each component responds to every operating condition and what effect each design decision will have on operations, enables moving to the next level of belt conveyor operation and maintenance. The truth is that when design and operation do work together, there is a lot that can be improved. Here is where the Conveyor Digital Twin plays an important and decisive role.

How does the Conveyor Digital Twin Work?

Import Data into Belt Analyst Conveyor Model
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Data can be continually fed (active conveyor monitor digital twin) or imported as a single data dump (conveyor health check by digital twin)

Calibrate the Conveyor Model to Match Reality
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Feed the digital model the exact same loading as the real asset (as read in from the belt scale).  If the digital model outputs the same power demand as the real asset, it can be considered a digital twin.

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Use Resulting Belt Tensions to Evaluate Component Loads

Are actual loads compatible with component design ratings?

Is the conveyor operating as it was designed to operate?

What Projects Need a Conveyor Digital Twin?

If we totally understand how the existing machine is operating, we will do a better job of making future decisions.

  1. Conveyor Capacity Upgrade/Revamp

    • the starting point for any upgrade is a quality benchmark of the existing system to fully understand what needs to change to meet the upgrade goal.

  2. Unreliable/Problematic Conveyor System

    • conveyors that regularly have reliability/maintenance issues can benefit from an accurate digital twin to find the root cause of issues.

  3. Nearly All Conveyors

    • Rarely are the true operating system conditions of a conveyor known during design phase.  When a conveyor is installed, a digital twin can be used to provide insight based upon actual operating conditions on how the conveyor can be optimized to last longer, save money, and increase safety.

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OCC's Expert Consulting Engineers Can Use The Conveyor Digital Twin Tool in Two Ways

One-Time Conveyor Health Check

Expert engineers will create a digital twin of your existing conveyor systems, analyze each of the major system components, and issue a health check report clearly identifying next steps to improving the performance of the conveyor systems.  Analysis will be based upon data provided from a discrete amount of time.

Active (Live) Digital Twin Conveyor Monitor

With our partners at FLSmidth, the conveyor digital twin tool can be used as an active conveyor health monitoring tool, used to identify problems before failures occur, and to ensure consistent health as the conveyor moves through its life-cycle.

Contact us using the contact information below for more information on how you can use the Conveyor Digital Twin tool to improve your conveyor operations

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