Martin Engineering has introduced a technology that uses the kinetic energy from a moving conveyor belt to generate enough power to run a wide variety of electronic systems.
The Martin Roll Gen System was designed to create a self-contained mini power station that allows operators to run electrical monitoring systems and safety mechanisms. Able to be retrofitted on existing idler support structures, operators are not required to maintain a special stock of conveyor rollers, as the generator can be employed on virtually any steel roller. It is the first step to eliminating power production obstacles as conveyors move into the next generation of “smart systems” that are predicted to be more sustainable and autonomous.
Running auxiliary power can be both complicated and costly, requiring expensive labor and oversized cables to accommodate the inevitable voltage drop over long runs, as well as transformers, conduit, junction boxes, and other components. Using even a small conventional generator to provide power introduces a different set of issues, including flammable fuels. In many operations, this lack of available power means that any monitoring of the conveyor must be done by technicians physically walking the length of the structure, which can be a difficult and time-consuming task when the systems are long and span difficult terrain.
A more efficient approach is to employ sensors to transmit important data from remote points to a central location where it can be monitored in real time and recorded for later analysis. But intelligent monitoring systems for any conveyor system require power for extended operation. Due to the distances involved, cabled communication systems are not ideal, and therefore wireless communication systems are more advantageous. Options such as solar power are not well suited to the general conditions of a conveyor system, as monitoring devices are often required in an enclosed structure without access to sunlight, or for continuous operation during both day and night.