We invite you to register on our platform and characterize your technological solution, so you can participate in the open innovation processes that we carry on for the main mining companies in the country

Register here

Avoid direct intervention of workers during the idler changing process


Deadline 08/06/2023

Closing Time 4:00 pm

In plant, crushing and tailings area of Minera Antucoya, there are different types of overland belts, transfer belts, with and without elevation (at different levels and slopes), etc. The change of idlers is a frequent task in these material handling systems, which is carried out during plant shutdown periods, reducing the exposure of the workers involved to risks. The change of idlers requires manipulating the belt (by releasing and/or lifting it), moving the structure that supports the idlers (bedplate) to a safe working position, and then removing and replacing the idlers. It should be noted that the idlers that need to be replaced come in different sizes, materials and weights ranging from 22 kg to 70 kg. Normally, the replacement of the idlers is carried out manually by a crew of previously trained specialist workers. Due to the potential risks involved in the handling of these idlers during their change, the objective is to avoid exposure of the workers to risk.

Solutions are required to facilitate the change of idlers during the plant shutdown period (belt stopped) in a safe and integral way. The proposed solutions are expected to address some of the following technology areas: complementary tools or mechanised / automated / remote-controlled systems.

The proposed solution must:

  • Comprehensively address the task, which includes the handling of the belt and idler structure, together with the removal and replacement of idlers.
  • Be adaptable and deal with different types and sizes of conveyor belts and idlers.
  • Eliminate direct human intervention during the execution of the task.
  • Not significantly modify the plant infrastructure or interfere with other maintenance activities in the area during installation or execution of the task.
  • Have heavy duty characteristics due to the aggressive conditions of the environment (particulate matter, humidity, rain, snow, material projection, low visibility).
  • Have a technological readiness level (TRL) equal to or higher than 7 (prototype tested in operational environment).
  • Meet Minera Antucoya’s safety standards.

A training station has been implemented to simulate the task of changing the idlers in order to give the operators a more realistic approach to the procedure.

Consultancy or engineering studies

  • Reducing the risk exposure of workers during maintenance tasks.
  • Facilitating the execution of the task of changing the idlers.
  • Direct worker interventions during the task (should be none).
  • Time to implement the proposed system (weeks).
  • Time dedicated to the process of changing the idlers (hours).