Innovative motion control solutions since 1947

How an Impact Saddle Works

The conveyor belt revolutionized the mining industry, replacing much more labor-intensive methods of hauling and drastically reducing the cost-per-ton of handling mine output. But everything was not bread and roses at first – quite often, belts were damaged by the tons of jagged debris that fell onto them at whichever spot the belt was being loaded. The material would perforate, slice, and abrade the belt. Occasionally, foreign material – anything from soda cans to roofing nails – would manage to find its way into the output stream, and they could cause serious damage to conveyor belts.

Enter the impact saddle. An impact saddle is a piece of heavy machinery that sits underneath the conveyor belt right where the oncoming mass hits. At first, a different technology called an impact idler was used – but impact idlers had a fatal flaw: they consisted of only three rotating bars, and in the narrow areas where the bars met but the belt flexed into a curve, enough of the belt’s surface area was left unprotected that serious damage occasionally occurred in the idler’s ‘weak zone’.

An impact saddle, on the other hand, is a curved line of rubber-like squares that much more closely – as in, within a quarter-inch of clearance – matches the curve of the conveyor belt itself. Furthermore, the rubber-like squares are set loosely enough in their frame that they can bend and flex to more appropriately support odd impacts or load angles. The Richwood Combi-Pact Saddle, as perhaps the top-of-the-line example, can be bolted into the same anchors that held an impact idler, providing 100% protection for the width of the entire belt without having to strip out the old settings and replace them.

Built on a single-unit steel frame and girded with Ultra-High Molecular Weight polyethylene ‘impact segments’ (rubber-like squares), the Combi-Pact impact saddle is designed to be both mechanically simplistic and utterly effective. Combined with a high-quality conveyor belt cleaner, the impact saddle forms half of a conveyor belt’s best defense against rips, holes, and abrasions. With the impact saddle absorbing potential damage at the impact site and the conveyor belt cleaner insuring that no damaging material ‘rides’ the belt around and gets into the interior belt machinery, your conveyor belts can last decades longer.

Save Space and Time With a Hydraulic Manifold

Hydraulic manifolds are powerful and compact valve assemblies that do for hydraulics very much what integrated circuits do for computers: they create a system where a relatively simple set of hydraulic inputs can be used to create a startling array of hydraulic outputs. The end result is a single smallish chunk of machinery that replaces hundreds of feet of tubing, hose, fittings, and line-mounted valves. While hydraulics still use liquid rather than electrons – and thus a hydraulic manifold will never reach the staggeringly small size of a modern integrated circuit – they do squeeze a huge amount of functionality into a very small space.

That’s not the only advantage to a hydraulic manifold, however: there’s also the issue of leakage. That aforementioned hundreds of feet of tubing, valves, hose, and fittings means scores of individual parts each one of which can go wrong and cause a leak (which is a death sentence for a hydraulic machine). Hydraulic manifolds are prebuilt out of as few parts as possible for the various valves to do their jobs, and that means significantly less opportunity for leaking (and correspondingly less need to spend time and labor on fixing the leaks.)

Hydraulic manifolds also require less assembly, which means easier maintenance and troubleshooting, which again saves money on the project’s bottom line. With so many components built into or mounted upon a single common manifold, the need for a tech to climb all over Kingdom Come to find the leaky piece is dramatically reduced. Should the hydraulic manifold itself fail, there are dozens of identical units – swapping one out is the job of less than an hour, and that’s in poor circumstances. Furthermore, oftentimes the faulty manifold can be repaired on the spot and kept en situ as a swap-in replacement should something happen to the manifold that was just installed.

Modern hydraulic manifolds also provide advanced capabilities like load sensing, which allows the manifold itself to detect how much pressure is needed to lift a certain load and provide exactly as much as is needed, conserving hydraulic power to direct elsewhere for other jobs. Some such manifolds even have a hydraulic filter built into them so as to further reduce technician’s walking time. When everything is in one place, you waste a lot less time getting from wherever you are to where the problem is.