Contitech’s underground vertical conveyance just got better

ContiTech prides itself on pushing the frontiers of conveyance and is currently injecting a lot of focus into promoting Pocketlift.

This technology is a revolutionary solution for the underground mining sector which entails continuous shaft conveying, writes Sascha Solomons.

This article first appeared in Mining Review Africa Issue 11 2018

It is no secret that the successful exploitation of new ideas is crucial to a business and its ability to improve its processes, bring new and improved products and services to market, increase its efficiency and improve its profitability.

“We have developed Pocketlift to eliminate tonnage capacity constraints with our current Flexowell vertical continuous conveying system which directly benefits the underground mining industry as well as broaden ContiTech’s ability to penetrate a wider market,” says Friedhelm Litz, manager for innovative products at Continental.

For this reason ContiTech has ensured that its product portfolio, specifically the Pocketlift system can be used across the globe under almost any working conditions.

The company’s goal in establishing a presence with the system in South Africa brings ContiTech closer to the right people in a country filled with underground mining operations.

ContiTech’s Pocketlift system can be found wherever raw materials are extracted, processed and distributed.

Making materials available in an as environmentally sound manner as possible, presents a technological challenge, since raw material belts are scattered throughout the world.

They are found in rough topographic areas, above and below ground.

Due to the known harsh environments and based on the limits of the Flexowell technology and the high capacity bucket elevator, the Pocketlift system was developed for the deep shaft underground applications in mining and tunnelling industry with a lifting height up to 700 m in one flight.

Since September 1996, when the vertical Pocketlift S-Shape conveyor installed for the New York water tunnel project, the system has established itself in many other projects mainly in the coal and gypsum underground mining industry.

With outstanding features the Pocketlift has many advantages in comparison to the traditional skip hoist stope system.

Ideal for underground mining

The Pocketlift technology is giving mining engineers and the operators the opportunity for continuous mass flow over several hundred meters lift height, providing additional benefits such as 65% lower energy consumption, with a small shaft diameter which contributes to quick installation of the system and low maintenance costs.

The Pocketlift system has a light steel structure for the feeding section and headframe; it requires no underground bunker system and is environmentally friendly with no mechanical parts in the vertical shaft.

A further benefit of the Pocketlift system is the ability to install the system in new operations from lower depths.

This can also be provided to customers as a full service package which includes the package as well as the maintenance

Technical overview

With the Pocketlift the function of the power transfer is achieved by two narrow steel cord belts which are connected with rigid triangular cross bars.

The material to be conveyed is fed into the fabric reinforced rubber pockets, which are bolted at the centre of the cross bars that also has a guiding function.

All three elements are connected detachable and allow separate shipment and easy installation on site.

Litz highlights that the Pocketlift reaches capacities up to 3 000 m/h, adding that different pocket widths tailor-made design exactly to the customers’ requirements.

“As the main application fields are underground mining and tunnelling it is mandatory that we hold the quality approval from the major mine inspectorates like MSHA or ISO 340/EN 20340,” comments Litz.

Litz explains that moving forward customers can expect continuous optimisation and improvement of ContiTech’s services across the mining industry.

He concludes by saying that the Pocketlift system is a few steps ahead of conventional systems and customers can rest assured expect value for their money with this system.