An iron ore miner in Western Australia approached SOTO Engineers to design a new conveyor belt reeler. The reeler would be deployed to replace the long overland conveyor belts at the mine, and would need to be highly reliable in rugged and demanding conditions. A key requirement was that of modularity, as the system would need to be disassembled for easier transportation across significant distances, and reassembled at the site of deployment.

Initial Scope:

In addition to modularity, other important specifications were provided. Tension, in this case simply how tight the conveyor belt material would be pulled, needed to be 70 kilonewton (kN) in any reeling position. As conveyor belt width could also vary, the system would need to be adaptable to suit belt widths from 1000mm to 2000mm. In terms of material length, a single roll would need to carry up to 1500m of belt. Despite the considerable belt length, easy roll changes would need to be accommodated, as the reeler would be replacing long overland conveyors. Given the specifications, the power requirement for the system came to 30kW, 3 phase.


As part of the system design, the Hagglunds Hydraulic drive control system was integrated into the drive pedestal. This drive system achieved the 70kN constant tension despite transients. Additionally, the drive system also accommodated speed and tension adjustable reeling in both directions, as some processes require variable tension, or tension based on potential variations in conveyor belt material.

SOTO Consulting Engineers used innovative 3D modelling and visualistion  software to assist in designing and testing the Belt Winder.



Conveyor Belt Reeler 3DThe SOTO-designed conveyor belt reelers were successfully deployed, and tallied up some impressive achievements, and the client has already used the system to replace 8.7km of conveyor belt. Despite the considerable lengths involved, the number of belt splices required is minimised as each belt reel carries 1.5km of pre-spliced belt at a time. The reeler performance has been highly reliable, with no faults reported with the new system.

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