BC Firm specializes in conveying bulk materials
When it comes to moving bulk material in and around mines and quarry operations, few companies have more experience, or a greater variety of conveyor equipment configurations, than Industrial Equipment Manufacturing Ltd. (IEM) of Surrey, B.C.
From British Columbia to Mongolia, IEM’s engineers have designed bulk material handling equipment, as well as other specialized equipment for places like Canada’s oil sands operations, since 1953 when it initially specialized in selling industrial bearings.
The company continually grew to include 16 warehouses and supply divisions until 2003, when the supply divisions were sold to Applied Industrial Technologies, a major North American industrial product distributor.
As already mentioned, the majority of IEM’s business is manufacturing conveyors for use in mining and like the mines themselves, “Every project is a little bit different than the one before it and therefore, our design input is extremely important,” says President John Hards.
It’s because of these differences, says Hards, that the company offers such a wide variety of styles including belt conveyors, high-lift conveyors, chain conveyors and screw conveyors with other features that include transfer towers, load chutes, discharge chutes with belt cleaners, platforms and walkways.
Hards says the company’s main customer base for conveyors is often consulting engineers who run the large projects for the mining companies.
“We can build what they need, and are experienced at working within their required quality-control systems,” says Hards.
Other major products include heavy-duty apron feeders used to feed rock out from the bottom of large bins in order to metre the material to the next step in the process. Belt feeders are also a major product and they are often used much like apron feeders only for less severe applications.
In addition to mining equipment, Hards says the company also produces products for other industries.
For example, it designs and manufactures fabricated steel housings for large spherical roller bearings, as well as hydraulic nuts used with bearing adapter sleeves for mounting and dismounting bearings. It also produces pulley cleaner and belt cleaner equipment used in the oil sands industry in the area of Fort McMurray, Alberta.
Hards explains that pulley cleaners are mounted at the back face of the large conveyor pulleys to prevent sand and bitumen build-up that could cause belts to come off their tracks. Belt cleaners are mounted at several places along the belt path to keep the belt clean. The devices remove loose material from the belts before the debris has an opportunity to build up and create problems.
When asked for specifics, Hards said IEM’s current projects include constructing belt conveyors for two mining projects in British Columbia, and apron feeders and belt feeders for a mine in Mongolia that was mentioned earlier.
“IEM also manufactured a 54·inch wide, 2,900-foot-long overland stacking conveyor designed for coarse ore handling, plus six 36-inch side pebble conveyors, a 6o-inch mill feed conveyor, and a 72-inch-wide belt feeder reclaim conveyor for the Copper Mountain Mine near Princeton, British Columbia,” said Hards.
IEM products are engineered and manufactured in-house in the company’s machine shop in Surrey, B.C.
It is ISO 9001:2008 certified, and also adheres to welding standards set by the Canadian Welding Bureau.
“The main reason we get work is because we are both engineers and manufacturers and we also expand our horizons to be competitive far from home,” says Hards.
“There are lots of people who can build conveyors, but not as many who can design them too.”