Commercialisation of An Intrinsically Safe Portable Acoustic Bearing Fault Detection Unit for Underground Conveyors

Underground » Maintenance

Published: April 98Project Number: C5020

Get ReportAuthor: Shaouki Ismail | Vipac Engineers & Scientists

Idler bearing failure on underground conveyors is a significant problem in the Coal Industry. Trunk conveyors in underground coal mines have around 5000 idler bearings per kilometre. With a normal life of about 5 years, this can lead to as many as 10 failures per kilometre per day. The present practice is for damaged idlers to be hopefully identified by inspectors walking the belt. If the failing idlers are not detected and replaced promptly there is a serious risk of belt damage and fire risk due to seized idlers. If they are changed early, idler replacement costs increase.

VIPAC Engineers & Scientists Ltd. responded to the need for rapid Idler Condition Monitoring by developing in 1989, a vehicle mounted Bearing Acoustic Monitor (BAM) for surface conveyors.

Since the BAM system was delivered, VIPAC has been continuing the development of this technology, and trialing its applicability to various applications including rail and haul-truck wheel bearings.

VIPAC's effort in this area culminated in the development in 1996, of a prototype portable Acoustic Bearing Fault Detection Unit for underground conveyors with funding from ACARP, under ACARP Project C4019.

During ACARP Project C4019, a lightweight, hand-held prototype Acoustic Bearing Fault Monitor that relies mainly on digital signal processing was designed, built and tested. The instrument was proved to be capable of:

  • remote detection of bearing faults from a distance of up to 1m.
  • detection of build-up on rollers
  • screening out extraneous noise
  • ranking the severity of detected faults to provide an early notice of bearing damage

The objectives of the current project C5020 were to carry out the final product development phases, including Intrinsic Safety, to develop the prototype unit into a commercially viable instrument.

In view of the difficulties and uncertainties associated with IS (Intrinsic Safety) issues, the approach adopted by VIPAC and ACR was to release two versions of the instrument, a non-IS version first followed by an IS version thereafter. The advantage of this is two-fold; a) to minimise uncertainties on the release date for the product; and b) mines can purchase a non-IS version for use in non-hazardous areas at reduced cost.

The development of the non-IS version has now been completed successfully and the instrument has been successfully trialed at BHP's Tower Colliery.

Work is now focused on the IS version. As the design strategy adopted favoured a product which would offer minimal differences between the two versions, from the beginning of the project, IS issues have already been addressed. We therefore do not anticipate any major difficulties during the development of the IS version.


Health and safety, productivity and environment initiatives.

Recently Completed Projects

C28026Measuring The Height Of Fracturing Above Extracted Longwall Panels To Improve Reliability Of Groundwater Impact Predictions

Longwall mining is a mining method widely used in the Australian und...

C25059Development Of An Intrinsically Safe, Integrated Wireless Communications Network With A Distributed Array Of Geotechnical Sensors

For over 20 years, SCT Operations (SCT) have provided a range of ind...

C26051An On-Machine Bolting And Geotechnical Monitoring System

The primary objective of this project was to investigate how laser s...


Open Cut

Safety, productivity and the right to operate are priorities for open cut mine research.

Recently Completed Projects

C27046Estimation Of True Deformation Vector From Slope Radar Monitoring

Slope deformation radar monitors are now widely used in open cut coa...

C29003Wear Debris Removal From Dragline Commutators

The original aim of this project was to establish a method of removi...

C28037Local Scale Dispersion Modelling To Support ACARP Emission Factors

There remains significant concern in the industry regarding the accu...

Open Cut

Coal Preparation

Maximising throughput and yield while minimising costs and emissions.

Recently Completed Projects

C27032Coal Grain Analysis Applications Handbook

This Handbook sets out recommended practices for using coal grain an...

C26012Improved Flotation Recovery Via Controlling Froth Behaviour

There is no real-time measurement for coal flotation performance, ma...

C27012Towards Better Fine Coal Classification

It is well recognised that the efficient classification of fine coal...

Coal Preparation

Technical Market Support

Market acceptance and emphasising the advantages of Australian coals.

Recently Completed Projects

C26039Nanoporosity In Cokes: Their Origin, Control And Influence On CO2 Reactivity

This project using the outcomes of previous project C24060, examine...

C28063A Comprehensive Technical Review Of High-Efficiency Low-Emission (HELE) Pulverised Coal Combustion Technologies For Power Generation

Research and development has been undertaken worldwide to realise co...

C28064Carbon Structure Transformation During Coking Of Australian Coking Coals: Better Understanding The Coke Formation

Carbon structures of coke that are formed during the plastic layer a...

Technical Market Support

Mine Site Greenhouse Gas Mitigation

Mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from the production of coal.

Recently Completed Projects

C26004CFD Modelling Of Reverse Thermal Oxidisers For VAM Abatement - CFD Modelling Of Fixed-Bed RTO Devices

The project is part of a larger multi‐phase program of study a...

C27058Technological Assessment Of A Recycle Reactor For VAM Abatement

Underground coal mining emits high volumes of methane, diluted in ve...

C27008Selective Absorption Of Methane By Ionic Liquids

The connection of a ventilation air methane (VAM) abatement plant di...

Mine Site Greenhouse Gas Mitigation

Low Emission Coal Use

Step-change technologies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Recently Completed Projects

C17060BGasification Of Australian Coals

Four Australian coals were trialled in the Siemens 5 MWth pilot scale ga...

C17060AOxyfuel Technology For Carbon Capture And Storage Critical Clean Coal Technology - Interim Support

The status of oxy-fuel technology for first-generation plant is indicate...

C18007Review Of Underground Coal Gasification

This report consists of a broad review of underground coal gasification,...

Low Emission Coal Use

Mining And The Community

The relationship between mines and the local community.

Recently Completed Projects

C16027Assessing Housing And Labour Market Impacts Of Mining Developments In Bowen Basin Communities

The focus of this ACARP-funded project has been to identify a number...

C22029Understanding And Managing Cumulative Impacts Of Coal Mining And Other Land Uses In Regions With Diversified Economies

The coal industry operates in the context of competing land-uses that sh...

C23016Approval And Planning Assessment Of Black Coal Mines In NSW And Qld: A Review Of Economic Assessment Techniques

This reports on issues surrounding economic assessment and analysis ...

Mining And The Community


National Energy Research,Development & Demonstration Council (NERDDC) reports - pre 1992.

Recently Completed Projects

1609-C1609Self Heating of Spoil Piles from Open Cut Coal Mines

Self Heating of Spoil Piles from Open Cut Coal Mines

1301-C1301Stress Control Methods for Optimised Development...

Stress Control Methods for Optimised Development and Extraction Operations

0033-C1356Commissioned Report: Australian Thermal Coals...

Commissioned Report: Australian Thermal Coals - An Industry Handbook