Facility: Iron Ore Processing

This case study describes the existed challenges of the mining company and implemented predictive conveyor maintenance practices.

Iron ore processing facility has a moving conveyor shuttle that feeds multiple bins. The conveyor rollers located in the moving section of the shuttle are not accessible without isolating the conveyor and removing the guards. The operation had the following challenges:

Rollers occasionally failed in the moving section of the shuttle and caused belt damage.

The batch change-out methodology was adopted to avoid roller failure. However, it was wasteful and costly.

Predict conveyor roller failure

All 112 rollers in the return section of the shuttle were changed out every second shutdown (every 6 months) irrespective of whether they were damaged or not.

The cost to the business was $44,800 plus labour p/a, which did not account for additional roller failure.


During planned conveyor maintenance, it was decided to install Smart Rollers and adopt Smart-Idler® technology to avoid replacing all rollers in the return section of the shuttle every 6 months. In doing so, they installed rollers with Smart-Idler® sensors instead of ordinary rollers. Due to this, the operator was able to:

  • predict exact roller failures;
  • only replace damaged rollers;
  • reduce operational downtime;
  • reduce yearly costs by over 50%.

The cost of adopting the predictive conveyor maintenance Smart-Idler® system was only $14,595 in hardware and $1,000 p/m in software as opposed to the $44,800 p/a of the batch change-out methodology.


By employing the Smart-Idler® system, the operator was able to predict individual roller failure and eliminate the need for batch change-outs. The company is now considering a wider roll-out of the Smart-Idler® enabled rollers through the full conveyor.

Achieved 59% first year ROI
Delivered $32K savings p/a