After two years of testing, Soucy Group subsidiary Soucy Plastiques has unveiled a heavy duty impact bar for use in mining applications that it claims will help cut down on operations and maintenance costs.
The Soucy HD Impact Bar consists of a two-inch rubber layer encased in two layers of ultra high molecular weight polyethylene.
The bar is manufactured in a one-step compression molding process using proprietary rubber and UHMW-PE formulas developed by the Soucy Group.
The rubber portion of the bar absorbs the impact of falling materials onto a conveyor belt, Soucy said, while the plastic outer layers seal the load zone, resulting in longer belt life, reduced spillage and decreased costs.
Drummondville, Quebec-based Soucy tested the new bar for two years at a crushed stone quarry in Canada.
The firm claimed the test showed the Soucy HD Impact Bar increased service life by 55 percent compared with current bars.
The bottom layer, which replaces an aluminum frame, provides a consistent load transfer, is flexible and snaps back to its original shape after impact, giving an improved seal between the conveyor belt and impact bed.
In addition, Soucy Plastiques said the product is metal-, rust- and spark-free. It has no glues and adhesives, and the firm is offering lifetime warranty against delamination of the three segments.
Without the absorbing properties of the rubber, the conveyor belt would spring back, and the rocks would tend to fall off the belt, said Gilles Boilard, a project manager for Soucy Plastiques.
The subsidiary worked with sister company Soucy Techno to develop the proper rubber compound for the bar, he said.
Soucy Plastiques previously had used two rubber compounds in other products, but neither was right for this application.
Boilard said the long field test was necessary because the company had to prove the new bar worked before trying to market it. Otherwise, the cost of lost production at the mine would outweigh the cost of the part greatly.
Soucy Plastiques is now starting to market the new product actively, he said. It has two reps in the U.S. who work with this kind of product, and the firm is starting to exhibit the line at industry shows. “We're trying to let the people know that this is a new product,” Boilard said. “Those who have already tried it love it.”
But he acknowledged that penetrating the big players in the mining market will be difficult, because the price for these products isn't high when compared to the cost of the belting or stopping a mining field.
“When you buy it, you won't save a lot of money at the first moment, but you won't have to buy it each year,” he said. “And when you stop your field to change that bar, you lose money. For the entire mine, it costs a lot when you stop the field.”
Boilard is confident, however, that Soucy will be able to break into the market with the impact bar. It will be sold basically at the same price as competing bars currently on the market so Soucy Plastiques can get across its message that the product is an improvement.
“Money doesn't talk with this industry,” he said. “It's a minor budget for them to replace, but for us it's a lot of volume.”