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Voith Turbo (Pty) Ltd 16 Saligna Street Hughes Business Park Witfield, Boksburg 1459 Tel.

+ 27 11 418-4000 Fax + 27 11 418-4080 terry.mcintosh@voith.com www.rsa.voithturbo.com

HYDRODYNAMIC COUPLINGS IN BELT CONVEYOR DRIVES FOR BULK MATERIALS
The design of reliable belt conveyors, particularly for steady operating conditions, is governed by numerous standards and regulations. The design engineer has to pay special attention to the starting and braking sequences with a view to the service life and the capital cost of the belt. These operating conditions can be influenced positively by judicious use of hydrodynamic couplings in belt conveyor drives.
Hydrodynamic power transmission In the conveying and materials handling industry, hydro­ dynamic couplings are generally installed between motor and gear unit. As a result of their operating characteristics, the interaction between driving motor and belt conveyor can be influenced as follows: • • • • • • • Separation of motor start-up and belt conveyor start-up. Delayed and/or controlled build-up of belt tension. Torque limitation (steplessly adjustable). Switch-on delay and load sharing for multi-motor drives. Damping of torsional vibrations. Creep speed (depending on coupling design). Conveyor at standstill while the motor is still running (depending on coupling design).

Hydrodynamic couplings based on the Föttinger principle operate as described in VDI standard no. 2153. An elementary coupling consists of two bladed wheels (centrifugal pump and turbine). These blades are surrounded by a shell and form a working space in which the operating fluid circulates (Fig. 1). Mechanical power is transmitted wear-free as the circulating fluid flows continuously between pump and turbine wheel. Torque is created by a change of kinetic energy of the fluid when passing from the pump to the turbine wheel. Commensurate with physical laws, hydrodynamic couplings (turbo couplings) are classified as fluid machines. These machines are charac­ terised by torque being transmitted proportionally to the square of the input speed. If portrayed graphically, this is designated as primary behaviour or slip parabola. The operating behaviour (secondary behaviour) can be represented by the characteristic relationship of the performance figure ( = f(o ) (characteristic curve)) (Fig. 2). Usually, the characteristics of a turbo coupling are described as a function of the torque depending on the speed ratio  = nT/nP of various fillings (secondary performance chart). Depending on coupling type and filling volume, the magnitude and shape of relevant characteristic curves may vary considerably. In order to achieve a mass flow which transmits power, a difference in speed between pump and turbine is required even during nominal operation. This difference is mainly quoted as slip o. s = 1-  Fig. 2: View of characteristic relations, typical performance charts of two coupling types
Characteristic relation T~ m  = f() Characteristic curve T~ m = f(,F) Performance chart

TA = Starting point TN = Rated operating point
TA max. filling

Fig. 1: Physical regularities
TA

m rj

ra

.

max. filling TN

Tp $ ~ p

TT $ ~T

VK, min

TN

min. filling 0 0.5

min. filling

D

Constant-fill coupling

nt o= np

1

0

0.5

1

o=
Fill-controlled coupling

nt np

Pump P

Turbine T
For start-up and overload couplings, the characteristic curve occurring during continuous operation should be as steep as possible, in order to keep the slip during nominal operation at a minimum. In the high slip range up to the break-away point TA, the curve should run horizontal to achieve torque limitation. Absolute levels of torque can be transmitted by varying the fluid level.

Euler‘s turbine equation

Tp = TT = m $ ^ ra $ Cua - rj $ Cuih
:

5 Hydrodynamic model equation Tp = TT = m $ t $ ~2 P$D

77

Some of the features of hydrodynamic couplings which are relevant for specific applications are part of their design or type. for inspection of the unloaded conveyor. and there is no external oil supply. + 27 11 418-4000 Fax + 27 11 418-4080 terry. its startup and retardation behaviour must also be taken into consideration when a coupling is selected.com www. Their basic characteristic curve corresponds to the one shown in Fig. Fig. This coupling type is mainly chosen to enable a load-relieved start of the motor. 4).com Fig. speed. the operating fluid for the coupling is distributed differently. Boksburg 1459 Tel. For designs 2 and 3 (Fig. Apart from the steady-state characteristics of a conveyor.mcintosh@voith. coupling curves can be achieved that take into account criteria such as time. controlled start-up phases with narrow torque limitation are possible. P T Non-delay fill coupling Constant-fill coupling Filling set at standstill Passive filling adjustment With delay fill chamber and annular reservoir Intervention in the circuit flow Fill-controlled coupling Variable filling during operation Inflow / outflow control Scoop control coupling with rotating reservoir P T P T 1 With delay fill chambers P T 2 3 Hydrodynamic coupling Change in mass flow / spinning Regulating blade / sleeve valve Scoop trim coupling with stationary reservoir Fill control  / drain coupling with stationary reservoir P T Filling setting P T 4 78 . starting and stopping).rsa. Coupling curves are therefore mainly determined during tests. As a result of the reciprocal action between primary and secondary function. particularly for operating conditions other than continuous operation (e. perf orm anc ~P e ch art Characteristic Curve s=100% s=60% Fig. such a graph is useful if the torque being built up during motor run-up is sufficiently high to break away the conveyor. g. 2 for start-up and overload couplings. 4: Types and designs of hydrodynamic couplings for belt conveyors The constant-fill coupling is a popular type used for bulk materials handling. torque limitation and to influence the torsional vibration behaviour. Fluid couplings suitable for belt conveyors can be classified as shown in Fig. If the interception between coupling curve and load curve is clear-cut. slip and filling volume. 3 shows all relevant hydrodynamic correlations. g. When looking at the system. 3: Basis of coupling design t Seco n Pr im ar e yp rf m or an ce ch ar dary The primary and secondary characteristics of a coupling are best illustrated in a three-dimensional diagram (Fig. Coupling types and designs Hydrodynamic couplings are manufactured in a great variety of sizes and designs for the entire performance and speed range required by the materials handling industry. This coupling type is filled with operating fluid prior to commissioning. 3). minimum maintenance and very competitive cost. it is possible to set stable operating points below the nominal speed. due to its uncomplicated design. ~T ~P = o = 1 s=4% For fill-controlled couplings.Voith Turbo (Pty) Ltd 16 Saligna Street Hughes Business Park Witfield. the curve for any filling should fall continuously while the speed is increasing. Developing a curve which is perfect for the application solely in accordance with hydraulic laws is still very difficult. In this way.voithturbo. The classification depicts two basic types with individual designs. 4. e.

torque limitation and operating behaviour. J’: Empty system tA Start-up time tU  Shock wave travelling speed Pretensioning of belt: Type T: tA ~ 0. The coupling torque is built up from zero with the square of the motor speed.rsa.e.Voith Turbo (Pty) Ltd 16 Saligna Street Hughes Business Park Witfield. Design  4 distinguishes itself by its compact design and good control behaviour. minimum maintenance and simple direct on-line (DOL) starting. 5: Build-up of coupling torque in relation to motor speed with output (turbine wheel) at standstill Constant-fill a coupling: 100 % UN a = T coupling b = TVV coupling c = TVVS coupling d = Fill-controlled coupling UN: Nominal voltage Fig.mcintosh@voith.6 km/s to c = 2. on the other hand.6 Torque 1. J’ Run-up Driven machine TK T L. Depending on their design. Boksburg 1459 Tel. J TM 2 Torque ratio T/ TN (Motor) Motor 80 % UN b 1 c 5s Required: tA ≥ 5 · tU tU = L / c Type T Type TV Type TVV Type TVVS loaded conveyor Type TVVS empty conveyor c = 0. constant-fill fluid couplings can build up a considerable amount of torque during motor start-up (Characteristic curves a to c). With DOL. It allows torque to build-up in seconds rather than milliseconds and its operating fluid provides additional thermal storage capacity on for start-up. Dependent on its type and design. Also. Belt stress during start-up In large conveyor systems. 7 also shows how this type has developed in recent years from T to TVV and TVVS couplings with delay chamber and annular chamber. Empty fill-controlled couplings. The application of fill-controlled couplings eliminates the disadvantageous features of asynchronous motors almost completely. Fig.0 km/s tA relative to T/TN = 1 TM: Motor torque TL: Load torque TK: Coupling torque TN: Rated torque J: Moment of inertia T’L.4 1 T’L. the motor builds up its break-away torque in milliseconds and generates its design-inherent torque during start-up. These couplings are equipped with an additional external fluid circuit which can be used for varying the fluid level as well as cooling. The advantages of these motor types. Even the constant-fill coupling of design 1 without delay chamber already provides noticeably softer motor start in the peak current range. i. the hydrodynamic coupling can aid the asynchronous motor in several ways. are not ideal for belt conveyor start-ups.com Fill-controlled couplings are used on belt conveyors with special requirements relating to the build-up of tensile force. the fluid level is determined by matching the supply flow rate with the discharge rate of fluid at the spray nozzles. just generate a slip torque which can be regarded as insignificant (Characteristic curve d). the amount of startup load can be selected from a wide range. This torque vs. + 27 11 418-4000 Fax + 27 11 418-4080 terry.2 – 3 s 40 s Time d 0 Motor speed n/nSyn 1 L 79 . the starting behaviour. Pilot or control valves are used as actuators in the supply flow. The graph in Fig. the belt is in most cases the most expensive component and therefore determines the investment cost and the economy of the entire plant. The load on the motor during start-up resulting from load torque and the mass to be accelerated is solely determined by the coupling. 6: Belt stress during start-up with various constant-fill couplings T/ TN 2 1. With design 4.5 – 1 s Type TVVS: tA ~ 1. asynchronous motors are now widely used.6 s Type TV / TVV: tA ~ 0. Selection criteria – No-load start of motor For belt conveyor drives.voithturbo.4 – 0. Plant engineers and operators therefore ask for the development of an ever more improved design for the optimum conveyor belt selection. For identical nominal operating conditions. speed curve is a characteristic feature of the individual motor and its characteristic does not depend on the load torque. the belt conveyor is virtually separated from the motor.com www. Fill-controlled couplings which allow altering the fluid level in the working chamber are available in different designs. limited thermal load capacity and high current are unattractive.

+ 27 11 418-4000 Fax + 27 11 418-4080 terry. 7). or. Heat increases in proportion to the slip which is the operating principle of a hydrodynamic coupling.com www. 6. Standard designs are available in combination with motor and gear unit.Voith Turbo (Pty) Ltd 16 Saligna Street Hughes Business Park Witfield. These effects can be reinforced by wear and replacement of drive components.8 times the nominal torque at good nominal slip. The belt can always be assumed to experience quasistatic stress.mcintosh@voith. 7: Constant-fill coupling series T TV / TVV TVVS Selection criteria depending on application Apart from the selection criteria given by motor and belt. dependent on the belt design and the free belt length  L. Due to their operating principle.voithturbo. by interrupting the power flow as a result of draining) or less so indirectly (with constantfill couplings. differences may occur even with new conveyors as a consequence of the drum diameter tolerances and the rated motor slip (according to VDE 0530 +/. The three constant-fill coupling designs have the following features: Design 1 (T coupling): Suitable for small belt conveyors with a possible torque limitation of up to 1. Turbo couplings can influence the stopping of the belt conveyor directly (with fill-controlled couplings. the starting curve adapts itself by a limited amount to the load condition. Boksburg 1459 Tel. this “slip” heat can be dissipated via the surface (constant-fill couplings) or via an external cooling circuit with heat exchanger (fill-controlled couplings e. All fill-controlled couplings with suitable solenoid valve system allow that torque build-up and close adaptation to load conditions can take place within the narrowest of limits. During steady operation or starting. The long experience in manufacturing turbo couplings is illustrated on the table for constant-fill couplings (Fig. the number of starts per operating period and the installation and environmental conditions should be taken into consideration. The drive system is expected to provide a smooth build-up of torque (initial belt pull). Applications are usually found in combination with gear motors. as they may impair the dissipation of heat. The relevant synergies are illustrated in Fig.g. with fill-controlled couplings. The torque is not adapted to the load condition of the conveyor. Fig.4 times the nominal torque are possible at good nominal slip. Due to the system. Non-steady operating conditions such as starting and stopping with varying loads make high demands on drive systems. if the torque build-up time tA is five times larger than the shock wave travelling speed tU on the return belt. Based upon investigations on the dynamic stress in belt conveyor systems. by separating the rotating masses). 6). These operating conditions have to be discussed in more detail with the coupling manufacturer. Depending on their design. this type is suitable also for longer belt conveyors with starting times up to 50 s.20  %). which can be further enhanced by changing the oil fill. where ‘c’ represents the shock wave travelling velocity. This coupling design is the result of long-term co-operation with belt conveyor manufacturers and operators. In addition.com As a consequence it is vital that drive systems meet these criteria.4 times the nominal torque for TVV couplings. type TPKL). Therefore. the torque build-up time tA is introduced to compare and evaluate the belt pull. load sharing of the motors occurs automatically due to the coupling slip. low torque limitation and adaptation of the starting torque to the load condition. constant-fill couplings fulfil the expectations to varying degrees (Fig. hence protecting the belt. Design 2 (TV and TVV coupling): Suitable for medium-size belt conveyors with a possible torque limitation of up to 1.6 times the nominal torque for TV and 1. other application-inherent factors have to be borne in mind. 80 . Unequal loads might be the result of differing belt tension at the drive drums. With multi-motor drives. Design 3 (TVVS coupling): As a result of its smooth build-up of torque. For starts without load.rsa. the starting torques are below the nominal torque. by controlling the fluid level. Torque limitations of up to 1. Excellent adaptation of the starting torque to the load condition of the conveyor. The slip adaptation is carried out by changing the fluid level while the conveyor is at standstill. turbo couplings are suitable both for special operating conditions such as creep speed (fill-controlled couplings) and regenerative braking.

the operating fluid temperature and. The torque build-up time is used as the main control variable until the conveyor has broken away. 9). the operating fluid is distributed to the three chambers (delay chamber. 8). During motor start-up and 100  % slip the operating fluid level in the delay chamber remains almost constant. 6). the conveyor is started by a micro-processor-controlled start-up system. while constant acceleration is used as a control variable after conveyor break-away. or a compact coupling unit that can be integrated into the customer’s own system. Subordinate control circuits can be used in order to monitor whether the torque limits. The following paragraph describes the distribution of the operating fluid and its effect on the operation of the coupling for the three operating conditions “standstill”. The following paragraph describes the operating conditions of the fill-controlled coupling type TPKL. 8). The smooth torque build-up and the adaptation to existing load conditions have been proven on the test stand. The remaining fluid in the working chamber builds up a very low torque from standstill. The control system is designed as a multi-stage control cascade with different parameters.voithturbo. 8: Starting a belt conveyor with a fill-controlled coupling T TN 0 – t0: t1 – t2: t2 – t3: nmin: Motor run-up Pull build-up (torque build-up) Conveyor start-up (a = constant) Inspection run 2 n nN j jN Tmax Coupling 1 ∆T j max ∆t TFull load n TPartial load 0 0 t0 t1 t2’ t2 ∆n nmin ∆t j t3’ t3 81 . Therefore. working chamber and annular chamber). With integrated systems it is particularly important that the starting sequences and starting times of the individual conveyors are adapted with each other.Voith Turbo (Pty) Ltd 16 Saligna Street Hughes Business Park Witfield. which can be endemic in mines. the load sharing are correct. in order to ensure that the entire plant can be operated automatically. The start-up control and operation monitoring system of individual conveyors and their drive systems should be suitable for integration into a central control system. The starting torque is perfectly adapted to the load conditions of the belt conveyor (Fig. which minimises the strain on the electrical system. etc.). In practice. Boksburg 1459 Tel. In synergy with other machines and equipment.mcintosh@voith. “100  % slip” and “normal operation”. The working chamber is then filled (timedependent via internal nozzles) with the fluid from the delay chamber. Arduous starting conditions can be caused by weak electrical systems and/or the build-up of dirt and dust. fill-controlled couplings are the preferred choice. while the external annular chamber is filled with fluid from the working chamber as a result of centrifugal effect during the initial motor revolutions (see Fig. The belt conveyor can only be started after receiving green light from the general operation monitoring system (voltage. In addition to its internal delay chamber it also features an external annular chamber.rsa.com www. Fig. the conveyor should guarantee a continuous flow of materials. Specific start-up problems can be solved either by using a drive unit complete with start-up controller and an interface that is compatible with the central control system. Drives with fill-controlled couplings allow the motors to be started in sequence while the coupling is drained. After the release signal from the monitoring system.com Examples of application In the materials handling industry. speed. The constant-fill coupling type TVVS has been developed specifically for the soft start of belt conveyors. The fill-controlled coupling type TPKL is suitable for high-powered belt conveyors with start-up times of up to several minutes. + 27 11 418-4000 Fax + 27 11 418-4080 terry. etc. start-up times should be adjustable. lubrication pressure. an individual belt conveyor is often just a link in a close chain of materials handling machinery. in order to achieve optimum operating conditions. independent of the load condition (Fig. When the conveyor is at standstill. companies often use different coupling types for various belt conveyors. For such complex installations. with multi-motor system. In this way it is possible to achieve a low starting torque during motor run-up with ensuing smooth build-up of torque and low slip in normal operation (see Fig.

Benefits” Fig. At nominal speed the coupling is filled.Voith Turbo (Pty) Ltd 16 Saligna Street Hughes Business Park Witfield. the operating fluid of the coupling is situated in the oil tank. The hydrodynamic principle provides natural load sharing between different drives.rsa. For inspection speed the coupling is only partially filled. Lecture at Esslingen Technische Akademie. The aforementioned examples can only be regarded as an extract of the numerous applications for hydrodynamic couplings on belt conveyors for bulk material conveying.: “Hydrodynamic couplings in conveyor systems”. Boksburg 1459 Tel. April 1994 VDI Regulation 3602 “Belt conveyors for bulk materials”. 10: TPKL fill-controlled coupling operation Standstill cooling Motor start Machine start Inspection speed 82 . Due to the standstill cooling function of this coupling type.com At standstill of the belt conveyor. + 27 11 418-4000 Fax + 27 11 418-4080 terry. Bibliography • • • • VDI regulation 2153: “Hydrodynamic Power Transmission”. April 1984 Voith cr394en: “Hydrodynamic Couplings – Principles. With an empty coupling the motor starts under no load conditions.voithturbo. The empty conveyor belt then moves at 15 – 20 % of its nominal speed. frequent start-ups in succession are possible (Fig. The fill process continues and the belt is tensioned gradually until the belt conveyor breaks away. H. Through the controlled filling of the coupling. Features. Summary The application of hydrodynamic couplings on belt conveyors and the operating principles of these couplings are governed by the criteria on which individual coupling types or designs are selected. draft 1996 Funke. Torque increases smoothly by filling the coupling.mcintosh@voith. When the motor has come up to speed the coupling is filled via the filling valve. 10). the belt is able to accelerate in the course of several minutes – independent from the load state of the conveyor. 9: TVVS constant-fill coupling operation Standstill Start-up Nominal Operation Fig. part 2.com www.