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Online measurement of particle size and mass flow rate in conveyor belts


Deadline 30/12/2020

Closing Time

The instrumentation currently installed at Codelco, El Teniente Division (DET) for dry particle size measurement (conveyor belts) is based on 2D image analysis technology providing a good and reliable approach for the operational control of grinding processes.

Objective and scope

Identify technological solutions that allow simultaneously, online and in real time, the measurement of particle size and provide information to estimate the mass flow rate in conveyor belts. A unique solution is sought to determine both variables.

Solution requirements

The proposed technological solution must consider the following requirements:

  • Generate and provide information online and in real time.
  • Capture and processing of 3D images.
  • Software and Hardware incorporated in the solution.
  • Indicate percentage of accuracy of the technology.
  • Compatibility with the existing control and data acquisition systems in Codelco DET.
  • The solution must be incorporated into the DCS with a proposal for data architecture.
  • Indicate the methodology, resources, frequency and time required for calibration for
    both variables.
  • Compatibility with the operating conditions, in presence of particulate matter and eventually moisture in the environment.
  • Meet the safety standards of Codelco, El Teniente Division.

Consulting and engineering studies will not be considered in the evaluation process.


The incorporation of technology is required to make shut-downs less frequent (ideally eliminate them) for
manual calibration of the belt scales.


  • Reduced use of grinding equipment due to frequent shutdowns for calibration of belt scales.
  • Cost involved in calibration tasks.
  • Risk related to the safety of the people who operate equipment on site.

When does the problem occur?

  • Every 3 months the operation must be stopped for 4 to 5 hours to calibrate current equipment.
  • The risk of decalibration of belt scales is permanent.

How is it currently resolved?

  • The particle size is measured with 2D image processing.
  • The mass flow rate is determined by belt scales.

Tested technologies
Technology has been tested to measure online particle size with 3D image processing.