Conveyor belt material flow scanners typically rely on load cell-based belt scales, laser scanners or radiometric mass flow measurements. However, these solutions have inherent disadvantages:
- Belt scales have a fundamental error in mass calculation due to the fluctuating moisture content of the ore and therefore need to be recalibrated frequently. Process and storage restrictions in handling bulk materials are generally due to the volume and not the mass. Therefore, operational volume flow information is much more valuable than just knowing the mass flow. Load cells or strain gauges must be mechanically integrated in a time-consuming process and need to be recalibrated regularly. Even sophisticated and well-maintained systems deliver measurement errors of 5–10%.
- Lasers require optimal visibility conditions as they are reflected by particles such as dust, rain, fog, snow, and steam due to their short wavelength (approximately 1μm). This leads to inconsistent and unreliable measurements. In addition, laser scanners require regular cleaning and maintenance and are therefore cost-intensive.
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