The International Materials Handling Conference (IMHC) – Beltcon 18, took place in Johannesburg/South Africa on August 5 and 6, 2015 (Fig. 1). Held once every two years, this marked the 38th year that the materials handling industry enjoyed presentations of the latest trends in conveyor transport, new technology and case studies presented by international and local experts.
This year brought some changes into the subject line-up. More papers on practical topics were introduced, such as basic computer maintenance, chute design essentials, engineering tools for noise reduction and the correct approach for designing idler rollers. In addition, a number of papers were aimed at the design houses addressing such things as operating conveyor systems with reduced energy, and case studies illustrating design vs actual outcomes and lessons learned over several years of plant operation. Aramid belting and splicing was discussed, as was materials handling storage design. Topics also covered idler bearing misalignment on bearing life, protection and monitoring of belting, variant lagging friction coefficients and implications, and bottom cover failure of idlers and pulleys.
A panel discussion addressed two very relevant issues – the legal requirements for preventing runback in conveyors, and those pertaining to nip guards. The Conveyor Manufacturers Association (CMA) agreed to facilitate in bringing a conclusion to both issues as a matter of urgency based on the findings of the discussion. The exhibition (Fig. 2), held in conjunction with the conference, showcased the latest technology available in the materials handling and conveyor industry. The exhibitors were able to attend the conference, since the exhibition was only manned during the breaks.
The next Beltcon Conference, Beltcon 19, will be held mid-year in Johannesburg in 2017, continuing the tradition of bringing the latest ideas and groundbreaking technologies to the materials handling and belt conveying industry. The programme, authors, and general details of Beltcon 18 can be accessed on the Beltcon web site: www.beltcon.org.za