The Conveyor Manufac-turers Association (CMA) is concentrating its efforts on raising the level of competence in the materials handling industry by providing a number of practical, focused training programmes.
“Conveyor systems are potentially one of the most dangerous structures in mining operations if safety standards and mechanical specifications are not strictly adhered to. Safety aspects have been put under the spotlight.
“The demand for higher rates of cost-effective production has resulted in major technological advances and materials handling has become more sophisticated. “The lack of a well-trained and competent workforce is thus of increasing concern,” the CMA states.
The association’s training programmes are aimed at improving the knowledge, skills and workmanship within the industry, as well as at improving safety and ensuring conformance to all standards and specifications.
“Although many industry members run their own training courses, these are tailored to meet only their own specific in-house needs,” says CMA chairperson Simon Curry. “Our courses and workshops are applicable across the entire industry and, as they are designed and conducted by us, they are fully accredited by the association.”
He notes that the CMA’s first major training investment was a six-day Design and Operation of Belt Conveyors diploma course.
“This gives across-the-board insight into the complexities of conveyor system design to engineers with little or no experience of conveyors and includes a visit to a working conveyor site.
“Candidates who pass the written examination at the end of the course are able to solve common problems associated with conveyor design,” explains Curry.
Following five years’ successful presentation of the diploma course, the association realised that the lack of basic skills in belt operation and belt splicing was growing at an alarming rate.
“The mining industry has a large installation base of conveyors, yet, as the industry expands, there is a noticeable lack of suitably qualified skilled and semiskilled workers. To rectify this problem, three new certification courses were designed and offered to the industry: the CMA Beltsman certificate course, the CMA Conveyor certificate course and the Conveyor Belt Splicing certificate course.
Beltsman Certificate Course
The CMA Beltsman certificate course is a one-day course that covers all procedures applicable to the correct inspection, functioning, care and maintenance of conveyor belting.
Tracking and training of the belt and belt spillage are major course components.
Besides mentioning the methods that are used to join different belts, belt splicing and conveyor design are not included. The course is designed specifically for beltsmen, artisans and staff operating in a conveying environment.
A written examination at the end of the day assesses the knowledge acquired by the participant.
Conveyor Certificate Course
The CMA Conveyor certificate course is a comprehensive three-day programme that familiarises participants with all aspects of conveyor operation, excluding design. A written examination at the end of the course assesses the level of knowledge acquired by the candidate.
This course is intended for artisans, draughtspersons, junior engineers, apprentices and all technical personnel involved in operations where conveyors are used.
Conveyor Belt Splicing Certificate Course
“Adherence to South African National Standards manufacturing, belt splicing and safety standards are being increasingly scrutinised by end-users in the materials handling industry in an attempt to increase the life of belting and other components and to increase productivity,” Curry points out.
“Underqualified and unskilled technicians will find it difficult to operate under these conditions,” he adds.
The CMA developed a five-day course particularly for those who may already have some experience in belt technology and splicing, but anyone wanting to learn belt splicing may do the course.
“It is a detailed course for splicers to bring them up to date with new developments in belt splicing and, in particular, to familiarise themselves with the most recent belt splicing standards,” says Curry.
These standards include SANS 484 Part 1 – Hot Multi-ply Splicing Procedures; SANS 484 Part 2 – Cold Multi-ply Splicing Procedures; SANS 485 – Splicing of Steel Cord Reinforced Conveyor Belting; and SANS 486 – Finger Splicing of Solid Woven Construction Conveyor Belting.
The course entails one day of theory, followed by four days of practical work in a fully oper- ating training venue with all the equipment needed by candidates to obtain hands-on experience. This includes tools, samples of the different types of conveyor belting, cutting tables, vulcanising presses and splicing compounds.
The course content covers splicing, lagging and lining; steel cord belt splicing; step splicing of fabric belts (hot and cold processes); pulley lagging and rubber lining; and vulcanising press set-up and operation.
Training techniques include a variety of approaches and learning methodologies including classroom instruction, small group discussion, question and answer sessions, multimedia presentations, hands-on application and exclusive training manuals.
Since this course covers a great deal of information in a relatively short time, the CMA also offers a five-day in-depth workshop (on request) for each speciality, such as steel cord, fabric or finger splicing.
Intensive Splicing Course
Run under the auspices of the CMA, a comprehensive belt splicing course, including both theory and practical, is also run over a period of five days.
It provides formal education of a measurable standard for splicers, which is recognised by industry and is seen as the only route to becoming a qualified splicer by aspirant splicers.
Conducted according to South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) specifications, splicing methods are standardised, which will, as a result, resolve many of the splicing problems in the industry. It is geared to qualified splicers and those splicers already working in the industry, as well as school leavers wanting to make splicing their career.
Curry maintains that this course sets the splicing standard throughout the mining industry and is turning out world-class belt splicers.
“It has been an intense couple of years, with major input and effort by our training committees and industry members to develop these four courses. “We are proud of the CMA’s effort to promote growth and development in the conveying industry and applaud industry members for their enthusiastic participation in the courses,” comments director and holder of the education portfolio on the CMA board Peter Ellis.
Meanwhile, Curry believes these training courses go a long way towards redressing the problems of inefficient conveyor operation, short belt life, downtime and accidents.
“The CMA will continue to be proactively engaged in raising the standard of professionalism and upgrading the knowledge and skills of personnel operating in the industry,” he states.
The CMA is Southern Africa’s primary source of up-to-date belt technology information, which is communicated to members and the conveying industry, in general, through regular technical meetings, joint forums with other interested bodies, symposia, conferences, lectures and short courses.
The biennial International Materials Handling Conference, or Beltcon, is a significant international platform for presenting new ideas and technology relevant to the conveying industry.