Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
SUPPORT FRAME FOR CONVEYOR ROLLERS AND METHOD FOR PROVIDING ACCESS TO CONVEYOR ROLLERS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2008/128291
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A support frame assembly (1) for conveyor rollers (154) comprising first and second support means (10, 12) adapted to be located on respective sides of a conveyor belt (152). The assembly (1) also comprising at least two roller support members (14) with each roller support member arranged to support a respective conveyor roller (154) such that said roller support members extend between said first and second support means. The support means comprises a support member (16) and a slidable member (18) that is slidable relative to said support member. The support means also comprises a fixing means for fixing said slidable member in at least one position along said support member. In the at least one position the conveyor belt is supported in an elevated position relative to adjacent conveyor rollers.

Inventors:
ARIF, Maxwell. Olgun (3 Wilson Street, Port Hedland, W.A. 6721, AU)
Application Number:
AU2008/000552
Publication Date:
October 30, 2008
Filing Date:
April 21, 2008
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
ARIF, Maxwell. Olgun (3 Wilson Street, Port Hedland, W.A. 6721, AU)
International Classes:
B65G39/00; B65G45/00
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WRAYS (56 Ord Street, West Perth, W.A. 6000, AU)
Download PDF:
Claims:

The claim defining the invention is as follows:

1. A support frame assembly for lifting conveyor belts of a conveyor system, the assembly comprising a first support means and a second support means, in use, arranged to be located on respective sides of a conveyor belt, each support means comprises

a support member and a slidable member that is slidable relative to said support member;

the slidable member being adapted to be attached to a roller support frame; and

fixing means for fixing said slidable member in at least one position along said support member wherein the roller support frame is in an elevated position so as to support the conveyor belt in an elevated position.

2. A support frame assembly according to claims 1 or 2 wherein the support means comprises an anchoring member to secure the support frame assembly to the conveyor.

3. A support frame assembly according to claims 1 , 2 or 3 wherein the support frame assembly comprises the roller support frame.

4. A support frame assembly according to claims 4 wherein the roller support frame comprises at least one roller support member arranged to support at least one conveyor roller whereby the at least one roller support member extends between the first support means and second support means.

5. A support frame assembly for conveyor rollers comprising

first and second support means, in use, arranged to be located on respective sides of a conveyor belt,

at least two roller support members, each roller support member, in use, arranged to support a respective conveyor roller such that said roller support members extend between said first and second support means,

wherein said support means comprises a support member and a slidable member that is slidable relative to said support member and fixing means for fixing said slidable member in at least one position along said support member, whereby in the at least one position the conveyor belt is supported in an elevated position relative to adjacent conveyor rollers.

6. A support frame assembly according to any one of claims 1 to 5 comprising a sliding means to slide the slidable member along the support member between a retracted position, wherein the roller support frame is in its normal position supporting the conveyor belt, and an extended position, wherein the roller support frame is in an elevated position relative to adjacent roller support frames whilst supporting the conveyor belt.

7. A support frame assembly according to claim 4, 5 or 6 wherein the length of a said roller support member is variably adjustable.

β- A support frame assembly according to claim 7 wherein the roller support member is telescopic such that its length is variably adjustable.

9. A support frame assembly according to claim 4, 5, 6, 7 or 8 wherein there are three or four roller support members provided.

10. A support frame assembly according to any one of claims 3 to 9 further comprising a return belt lifting frame means.

11.A support frame assembly according to claim 10 wherein the return belt lifting frame means comprises a bar arranged to be connected to said respective slidable members by cable means.

12. A support frame assembly according to any one of the preceding wherein the slidable member comprises connection means to which the sliding means is connβctable.

13.A support frame assembly according to any one of the preceding wherein the support member comprises a base to support the end of the sliding means.

14. A support frame assembly according to any one of the preceding wherein the support member comprises an oil spillage reservoir.

15.A support frame assembly according to claim 1 wherein the support frame assembly is of lightweight construction for portability.

16. A method of providing access to at least one roller, located beneath a conveyor belt of a conveyor, comprising

raising at least a first set of rollers to a elevated condition to thereby raise a section of said conveyor belt away from at least one set of rollers located near said first set of rollers, and

fixing said first set of rollers in said elevated condition to permit access to at least one roller of said at least one set of rollers located near said first set of rollers.

17. A method of providing access to at least one roller, located beneath a conveyor belt of a conveyor, comprising

raising a section of said conveyor belt away from said roller to a elevated condition, and

fixing said section of said conveyor belt in said elevated condition to permit access to said roller.

1β. A support frame assembly substantially as herein described with reference to the drawings.

19. A method of providing access to at least one roller, located beneath a conveyor belt of a conveyor as substantially herein described.

Description:

Support Frame for Conveyor Rollers and Method for Providing Access to Conveyor Rollers

Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a support frame assembly for conveyor rollers and to a method for providing access to conveyor rollers using the support frame assembly.

Background Art

Conveyors are used in many industries to convey material from one location to another for various purposes. Some conveyors employ a conveyor belt that moves over rotatable rollers. The rotatable rollers are supported beneath the conveyor belt. The conveyor belt moves over the rotatable rollers, with the underside of the conveyor belt contacting the rollers. The upperside of the conveyor belt carries the material being conveyed.

By way of example, in the mining industry such conveyors may be used to carry ore or other material from site to site as well as to loading bays from where the material is transported to the intended destination by ships, trains, trucks and/or other suitable transportation.

The rollers (or idlers) are held in supports mounted beneath the conveyor belt. These rollers, in turn, carry the load of the material conveyed on the conveyor belt. For example, the belts in iron ore mining industries carry very large loads, up to 10,000 tonnes per hour; therefore these rollers are always under enormous stress from such high loads.

After a period of time of being exposed to loads, rollers breakdown, with the bearings seizing or disintegrating, or some rollers even exploding due to the pressure. Such roller breakdowns may cause hundreds of thousands dollars worth of damage and loss of production due to downtime required to effect repairs and/or replacement of broken parts.

The mining companies may have full time maintenance crews to maintain the integrity of the conveyors, with some crews repairing the belts and cleaning the scrapers on the belts and other crews constantly changing damaged rollers (idlers).

Currently, the supports for rollers are often provided as a series of channels, referred to in the industry as "RSJ", and are of rigid construction. They are built to carry three or four rollers of differing length and diameter depending on the conveyor belt size and the amount of material, e.g. ore, required to be carried on the conveyor belt.

To change a damaged roller a minimum three men crew is used. The conveyor belt must also be cleared of all ore or any other material being carried on the conveyor belt. The crew uses a car jack attached to a makeshift extendable pipe with an angle at the other end of it. The angle is placed onto the inside of the stringers (the stringers are the channels on legs running the full length of the conveyor). The conveyor belt frames, that support the rollers, are bolted onto these channels. A small channel, approximately 45 cm long, is then fitted to the head of the jack. By pumping the car jack, the conveyor beit is then pushed away from the rollers, that need changing, one at a time, and one side at a time.

To change the return rollers, located under the return travel section of conveyor belt, a first spread bar is placed on top of the return travel section of the conveyor belt and another spread bar is placed under the bottom of the return travel section of the conveyor belt. These spread bars are then linked to each other with a chain block or "com-a-long" at either side of the conveyor belt. Then, the return travel section of the conveyor belt is lifted to get the weight of the conveyor belt off the return roller. In some sections, the conveyor belts have inverted V rollers instead of norma! longer type return rollers. These inverted V rollers are exposed to a large amount of pressure and weight as they near the conveyor belt heads and the counter weights. They are extremely difficult and very unsafe to change under the current practice.

The width of conveyor belts on mining sites range in size from 600mm to 2.4 meters and the roller frames are manufactured accordingly to fit differing stringers and conveyor belts. At any one mine site, there can be up to six different sizes of roller frames held in stock. If a roller frame is damaged, even only slightly, the whole frame needs to be replaced and the replacement procedure is a cumbersome operation on its own. The normal roller crew is made up of minimum three people, and in some areas four are used.

During a scheduled shutdown there can bθ at least four crews changing rollers or roller frames, with each crew having its own kit as well as a vehicle.

If a roller is damaged during operation of the conveyor, the whole conveyor belt is cleared of any material, e.g. ore, by running it empty. That could take twenty minutes to half of an hour. Once the damaged roller has been changed, the conveyor the belt is recharged with ore. That could take a similar period of time to get the ore flowing into, for example, a ship, train or stock pile.

The procedure that these crews use to change rollers is very cumbersome, labour intensive, hazardous and can lead to accidents. This creates an overhead that mine operators must bear. It would be desirable to eliminate, or at least reduce, the exposure to hazards associated with the roller change-outs and also to reduce the costs associated with plant downtime when rollers require replacement, maintenance or repair.

The above discussion of the background art is intended to facilitate an understanding of the present invention only. The discussion is not an acknowledgement or admission that any of the material referred to is or was part of the common general knowledge as at the priority date of the application.

Disclosure of the Invention

In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, there is provided a support frame assembly for lifting conveyor belts of a conveyor system, the

assembly comprising a first support means and a second support means, in use, arranged to be located on respective sides of a conveyor belt, each support means comprises

a support member and a slidable member that is slidable relative to said support member;

the slidable member being adapted to be attached to a roller support frame; and

fixing means for fixing said slidable member in at least one position along said support member wherein the roller support frame is in an elevated position so as to support the conveyor belt in an elevated position.

Preferably, the support means comprises an anchoring member to secure the support frame assembly to the conveyor.

Preferably, the support frame assembly comprises the roller support frame.

Preferably, the roller support frame comprises at least one roller support member arranged to support at least one conveyor roller whereby the at least one roller support member extends between the first support means and second support means.

In accordance with a second aspect of the present invention, there is provided a support frame assembly for conveyor rollers comprising

first and second support means, in use, arranged to be located on respective sides of a conveyor belt,

at least two roller support members, each roller support member, in use, arranged to support a respective conveyor roller such that said roller support members extend between said first and second support means,

wherein said support means comprises a support member and a slidable member that is slidable relative to said support member and fixing means for fixing said slidable member in at least one position along said support member, whereby in the at least one position the conveyor belt is supported in an elevated position relative to adjacent conveyor rollers.

Preferably, the support frame assembly comprises a sliding means, such as a hydraulic ram, to slide the stidable member along the support member between a retracted position, wherein the roller support frame is in its normal position supporting the conveyor belt, and an extended position, wherein the roller support frame is in an elevated position relative to adjacent roller support frames whilst supporting the conveyor belt.

Preferably, the length of a said roller support member is variably adjustable.

Preferably, a said roller support member is telescopic such that its length is variably adjustable.

Preferably, three or four roller support members are provided.

Preferably, said support frame assembly for conveyor rollers comprises a return belt lifting frame means.

Preferably, said return belt lifting frame means comprises a bar arranged to be connected to said respective slidable members by cable means.

Preferably, said slidable member comprises connection means to which sliding means is connectable.

Preferably, said support member comprises a base to support the end of a sliding means.

Preferably, said support member comprises an oil spillage reservoir.

Preferably the support frame assembly is of lightweight construction for portability.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method of providing access to at least one roller, located beneath a conveyor belt of a conveyor, comprising

raising at least a first set of rollers to a elevated condition to thereby raise a section of said conveyor belt away from at least one set of rollers located near said first set of rollers, and

fixing said first set of rollers in said elevated condition to permit access to at least one roller of said at least one set of rollers located near said first set of rollers.

In accordance with a further aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method of providing access to at least one roller, located beneath a conveyor belt of a conveyor, comprising

raising a section of said conveyor belt away from said roller to a elevated condition, and

fixing said section of said conveyor belt in said elevated condition to permit access to said roller.

Brief Description of the Drawings The present invention will now be described, by way of examples only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

Figure 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a support frame assembly for conveyor rollers in accordance with an aspect of the present invention;

Figure 2 is a front elevation view of the support frame assembly shown in Figure 1;

Figure 3 is a perspective view of part of one of the support members of the support frame assembly shown in Figure 1 ;

Figure 4 is a perspective view of the slidabte member of the support member of the support frame assembly shown in Figure 1 ;

Figure 5a is a perspective view of an embodiment of one of the roller support members of the support frame assembly shown in Figure 1;

Figure 5b is a front view of the roller support member shown in Figure 5a showing the telescoping arrangement;

Figure 6a is a perspective view of another embodiment of a roller support member of the support frame assembly shown in Figure 1 ;

Figure 6b is a front view of the roller support member shown in Figure 6a showing the telescoping arrangement;

Figure 7 is a perspective view showing a detail of a support member, slidable member and a roller support member of the support frame assembly shown in Figure 1 ;

Figur© 8 is a perspective view of a conveyor employing support frame assembly assemblies shown in Figure 1 ;

Figure 9 is a perspective view of the conveyor, shown in Figure 8, with a portion of the conveyor belt elevated from some of the underlying rollers;

Figure 10 is a detail showing one of the support frame assembly assemblies of the conveyor shown in Figure 9 with a portion of the conveyor belt in a elevated condition;

Figure 11 is a perspective view showing a return belt lifting frame means being used to lift the conveyor belt return section to access a return roller;

Figure 12a is a side view of a further embodiment of a support member of a support frame assembly for conveyor rollers in accordance with an aspect of the present invention, wherein the support member is in an extended/elevated position;

Figure 12b is a view similar to figure 12a but in a retracted position; and

Figure 13 is a perspective view of the support member shown in figures 12a and 12b without a hydraulic ram shown therein and having different mounting means.

Best Modβ(s) for Carrying Out the Invention

In the drawings, there is shown a support frame assembly 1 for conveyor rollers comprising a first support means 10, a second support means 12, and first, second and third roller support members 14a, 14b and 15, respectively.

The support means 10 and 12 each comprise a support member 16 and a slidable member 18 that is slidable relative to the support member 16. The support means 10 and 12 are arranged to be located on respective sides of a conveyor belt as will be later herein described.

Each support member 16 is provided a post, extends substantially longitudinally and is of channel form in cross-section. Each support member 16 has an anchoring member in the form of a base plate 20. Each support member 16 has a pair of opposed plates 24 and 26. The plates 24 and 26 each have a longitudinally extending slot 28. Apertures 30 are located at the upper regions of the plates 24 and 26.

The base plate 20 is provided with a seat 32 to receive the end of a hydraulic ram, as will be later herein described. The base plate 20 is provided with a lip 34.

The lip 34 together with the plates 24 and 26 and a rear plate 38, of the support member 16, form an oil spillage reservoir 40.

The base plate 20 is provided with apertures 42 so that it can be connected to stringers adjacent a conveyor, as will be later herein described.

The slidable member 18 is also of channel form having plates 44, 46 and a rear plate 48. The rear plate 48 is slightly wider than the rear plate 38 of the support member 16. The slidable member 18 is positioned on the support member 16 such that the plates 44 and 46 lie adjacent the plates 24 and 26, respectively, of the support member 16 and the rear plate 48 lies adjacent the rear plate 38.

A cross-member 50 extends between plates 44 and 46 at a location spaced from the rear plate 48. In this way, the support member 16 is receivable in the space between the plates 44, 46, rear plate 48 and cross-member 50. The cross- member 50 is provided wtth a lug 52 on its external face 54. The lug 52 has an aperture 53 therein.

The slidable member 18 has an internal lug 55 to which a sliding means in the form of a hydraulic ram is connectable, as will be later herein described.

The rear face 46 of the slidable member 18 is provided with a connection lug 56 on the external face of the rear plate 48. The plates 44 and 46 are provided with respective pairs of aligned apertures 58 and 60. Respective pins 62 and 64 extend through the pairs of apertures 58 and 60. The pins 62 and 64 also extend through the longitudinal slots 28 in the plates 24 and 26 of the support member 16. These pins 62 and 64 retain the slidable members 18 with the longitudinally extending support member 16.

The plates 44 and 46 are each provided with a further aperture 66. The apertures 66 in the plates 44 and 46 are aligned. These apertures 66 can be aligned with the apertures 30 in the plates 24 and 26 of the support member 16, as will be later herein described.

Figures 5a and 5b show a roller support member 14a/14b. The roller support members 14a and 14b comprise'a pair of telescoping members 70 and 72. The telescoping member 72 can move in and out of the telescoping member 70.

The members 70 and 72 can be fixed in position by way of a pin 74 extending through aligned apertures 76 that are provided in the telescoping member 70, and aligned apertures 78, that are provided in the telescoping member and 72.

The telescoping member 72 is provided with several sets of aligned apertures

78. The length of the roller support members 14a and 14b can be adjusted by removing the pin 74 and realigning the apertures 76 in the telescoping member 70 with a different set of apertures 78 in the telescoping member 72 and then reinserting the pin 74.

The ends of each roller support member 14a, 14b are provided with mounting brackets 82 to accommodate a conveyor roller 154. The mounting brackets 82 each comprise a plate 84 that is attached to a respective telescoping member 70 and 72. An idler guide plate 86 is connected to each plate 84. The idler guide plates 86 are connected to the plates 84 by way of nuts and bolts so that the idler guide plates 86 can be removed from the plates 84. The idler guide plates 86 contain recesses 88 to receive respective ends of the shaft of a roller.

The respective plates 84 and idler guide plates 86 extend from each roller support member 14a/14b in a transverse, opposed manner so that they are aligned.

The ends of the roller support members 14a/14b are provided with connection lugs 90 and 92. The lugs 90 and 92 are complementary so that a lug of the type 90 can be connected to a lug of the type 92.

Three roller support members 14a, 14b and 15, to support a set of three rollers 154, have been described herein and illustrated in the drawings, However, a lesser number or greater number may used according to the number of rollers 154 used in the conveyor. Typically, conveyors use three or four rollers per set.

Figures 6a and 6b show a roller support member 16.

As illustrated in Figure 2, the roller support member 15 is connected between the roller support members 14a and 14b. The roller support members 14a and 14b are connected to the slidable members 18 of the first and second support means 10 and 12, respectively. The roller support member 15 is similar to the roller support members 14a and 14b, except that it is provided with a lug 92 at each end thereof.

The roller support members 14a, 14b and 15 are connected to each other and the slidable members 18 via removable pins 96 extending through the interengaged lugs 56, 90 and 92. The pins 96 can be removed to permit replacement, repair or maintenance of the rollers 154.

The support frame assembly 1 further comprises a return belt lifting frame 100. The return belt lifting frame 100 is connected at its respective ends to the lugs 52 of respective slidable members 18 of the first and second support means 10 and 12. This connection is by way of a wire cables 102 extending from D-shackles 104 at each end of the return belt lifting frame 100 and connecting with respective D-shackles 106 retained in the apertures 53 in the lugs 52.

The manner of use and operation of the present invention will now be described with particular reference to Figures 8 - 11 which illustrate support frame assembly assemblies 1 installed in a conveyor.

Figures 8 - 11 illustrate a conveyor 150. The conveyor 150, apart from the support frame assembly assemblies 1 , may be of conventional form. The conveyor 150 comprises a conveyor belt 152 supported by rollers 154 beneath the belt 152. A stringer 156 is positioned on either side of the conveyor 150. Cross-beams 158 extend between the stringers 156. Conventional roller supports 160 are attached to the cross-beams 158 and support the rollers 154. The conveyor 150 illustrated in Figures 8 - 11 has three rollers 154 supported between each pair of supports 160.

Roller support frame assemblies 1 , in accordance with the present invention, are located at spaced intervals along the stringers 156. The first support means 10

of each support frame assembly 1 is fixed to one stringer 156 and the second support means 12 of each support frame assembly 1 is fixed to the other stringer. Conveniently, the support frame assembly assemblies 1 may be spaced approximately 5m apart along the length of the stringers 156. However, any suitable spacing may be used. A suitable number of conventional cross ¬ beams 158 and roller supports 160 are provided between successive support frame assembly assemblies 1.

The support members 16 of the first and second support means 10 and 12 are fixed to the stringers 156 by way of bolts 159 passing through the apertures 42 in the base plates 20 of the support members 16 into the stringers 156. The support members 16 extend longitudinally in an upright manner.

The rollers 154 are mounted in the roller support members 14a, 14b and 15 beneath the conveyor belt 152. In the normal operating position of the conveyor 150 and each support frame assembly 1 , the slidable member 18 is positioned such that the pin 62 rests on the bottoms of the slots 28 in the plates 24 and 26.

Figure 8 shows the conveyor in its normal operating condition in which the underside 155 of the conveyor belt 152 is in contact with all of the rollers 154 and is moving to convey material therealong.

When it is necessary to access rollers 154, the conveyor belt 152 is halted. However, It is not necessary to empty the conveyor 150 of material. Next, a hydraulic ram 162 is inserted into the support member 16, of the first support means 10 of a support frame assembly 1 , and fixed to the internal lug 55 in the slidable member 18. The hydraulic ram 162 is used to move the slidable member 18 upwardly along the support member 16 until the apertures 66 in the slidable member 18 align with the apertures 30 in the support member 16. This raises a section of the conveyor belt 152 away from the rollers 154 that are in the vicinity of the first support means 10, but does not raise the rollers 154 that are supported by the roller supports 160suρport frame assembly. The pin 64 (or another pin 67) is then repositioned to extend through the apertures 30 and 66.

This retains the slidable member 18 in a elevated condition. The hydraulic ram 162 can then be removed from that support member 16.

The slidable member 18 of the second support means 12, of that support frame assembly 1, can then be elevated in similar manner. This raises a section of the conveyor belt 152 away from the rollers 154 that are in the vicinity of the second support means 12, but does not raise the rollers 154 that are supported by the support frame assembly 1. This results in a section of the conveyor belt 152, on each side of the support frame assembly 1 , being raised away from the rollers

154 carried by roller supports 160 and other support frame assembly assemblies 1 that are adjacent either side of the support frame assembly 1.

Hydraulic rams 162 can then be used to raise the slidable members 18 of the support means 10 and 12 of the next support frame assembly 1 in the same way. This results in a section of the conveyor belt 152, that extends between the two support frame assembly assemblies 1, being raised away from the rollers 154 carried by roller supports 160 that are located between the two support frame assembly assemblies 1. It also results in a section of the conveyor belt 152, on the other side of each of the two support frame assembly assemblies 1 , being raised away from the rollers 154 earned by roller supports 160 and other support frame assembly assemblies 1 on the other side of each of the two support frame assembly assemblies 1 having raised slidable members 18. This is illustrated in Figure 9. Access to the sets of rollers 154 between the two support frame assembly assemblies 1 and on the other sides of the two support frame assembly assemblies 1 is then easily achieved for maintenance, repair or replacement of the rollers 154.

Once the maintenance, repair or replacement has been completed, the slidable members 18 can be returned to their normal operating condition shown in Figure 8. This is done by following a reverse procedure to that for raising the slidable members. Thus, the hydraulic rams 162 are reinstalled, the pins 64 (or 67) removed, the slidable members 18 are lowered so that the pins 62 again rest on the bottoms of the slots 28. The hydraulic rams 162 are then removed. This process is followed for each of the support means 10 and 12.

If access is required to the rollers 154 that are supported by a first support frame assembly 1 , the nearest (second) support frame assembly 1 to that first support frame assembly 1 is used to raise a section of the conveyor belt 152. This causes a section of the conveyor belt 152 to be raised away from rollers 154 that are supported by roller supports 160 near the first support frame assembly 1 and also rollers 154 supported by the two support frame assembly assemblies 1 (which includes the first support frame assembly 1) on either of that second support frame assembly 1.

Referring to figure 11, return rollers 170 are located at the bottom of the conveyor 150. Return rollers 170 provide support for the return travel of the conveyor belt 152. The return rollers 170 are located under the return travel section of the conveyor belt 152 The return rollers 170 can be accessed using the return belt lifting frame 100. When it is necessary to access a return roller

170, the conveyor belt 152 is halted. However, it is not necessary to empty the conveyor 150 of material.

The return belt lifting frame 100 is positioned beneath the return travel section of conveyor belt 152, as illustrated in Figure 11. The return belt lifting frame 100 is connected to the lugs 52 of the first and second support means 10 and 12, of a support frame assembly 1 located near the return roller 170, using the cables 102. The hydraulic rams 162 are then used to lift the slidable members 18 in the manner hereinbefore described. This causes the return belt lifting frame 100 to lift the return travel section of the conveyor belt 152 off and away from the return roller 170 so that access is made available to the return roller 170. This condition is shown in Figure 11. After repair, maintenance or replacement has been performed on the return roller 170, the slidable members 18 can be returned to their normal positions and the return belt lifting frame 100 removed.

Another pair of shorter cables can be attached to the bottom shackles 106 to allow the operators to lift the heavy return rollers 170 with the same lifting motion, thereby reducing the risk of back injuries being suffered by the operators.

The support frame assembly 1 of the present invention also allows the length of the roller support members 14a, 14b and 15 to be varied using the telescoping members 70 and 72 to vary their lengths. This enables the support frame assembly 1 of the present invention to be used on conveyor belts of various widths.

Any hydraulic fluid that may leak from the hydraulic rams 162 collect in the reservoirs 40 and can be cleaned away.

Referring to a second embodiment, the support frame assembly 201 comprises a first support means 210, and a second support means 212 (only the first support means 210 is shown). Both support means 210, 212 are identical in manufacture.

Figures 12a, 12b and 13 show a support means 210, one end being adapted to be secured to a stringer 156 on a conveyor 150, and the other end being adapted to be secured to a roller support frame 211 (not shown) of a conveyor 150.

The support means 210 is made so as to be portable and can be used on conveyor systems where support frame assemblies 1 of the first embodiment have not been installed. The support means 21O 1 212 of this embodiment will enable operators to easily transport the support means 210, 212 with utmost safety, avoid strain to their backs, and allows replacement of rollers with greater speed than the present methods.

The support means 210, 212 each comprise a support member 216 and a slidable member 218 that is slidably received in the support member 216. The support means 210, 212 are arranged to be located on respective sides of a conveyor belt 152.

Each support member 216 is in the form of a hollow elongate post having a anchoring member 220 to allow the support member 210, 212 to be secured to the frame work of the conveyor 150, such as the stringer 156, or other stable

footing. The anchoring member 220 in figure 13 depicts a different configuration as to that shown in figure 12a and 12b.

Each support member 216 has two pair of apertures 230 extending therethrough, for reasons which will be described below.

The slidable member 218 is also in the form of a hollow post. The slidable member 218 is smaller in cross sectional dimension to that of the support member 216 so as to be received therein. At a distal end of the slidable member 218 is provided with a connection lug 256 having an aperture therein. The lug 256 is adapted to be secured to a roller support frame 211.

A pin 262 is used to extend through one of the pair of apertures 230 in the support member 216, the pair depending on the position of the pair of apertures 258 located in the slidable member 218. When the aperture 258 is aligned with the pair of apertures 230a located furtherest from the anchor member 220 the support means 210, 212 is in an extend position. In this position the roller support frame assembly 211 is in an elevated position, elevating the conveyor belt and providing access to adjacent rollers 154. When the aperture 258 is aligned with the pair of apertures 230b located closest to the anchor member 220 the support means 210, 212 is in a retracted position. In this position the support means 210, 212 can be removed or attached to the conveyor 150.

The support means 210, 212 has a hydraulic ram 262 contained within the member 216.

n use, each side of the roller support frame 211 of the conveyor is connected to the lug 256 of respective slidable members 218 after the support means 210, 212 is secured to the conveyor 150. The hydraulic ram 262, located in the support member 216 between the anchor means 220 and the bottom of the slidable member 218, is then activated to raise the roller support frame 211. When at the desired height, the apertures 258 align with apertures 230a and the pin 262 may be inserted therethrough, ensuring the support means 210, 212

remains in the extended position. In this position the belt has been lifted and work on adjacent rollers 154 can be undertaken.

To lower the belt the reverse process takes place. Once the support means 210, 212 is in the retracted position the aperture 258 aligns with the aperture 230b allowing the pin 262 to be placed therein, holding the support means 210, 212 in the retracted position.

Modifications and variations such as would be apparent to a skilled addressee are deemed to be within the scope of the present invention.

Throughout the description and claims of this specification, unless the context requires otherwise, the word "comprise" or variations such as "comprises" or "comprising", will be understood to imply the inclusion of a stated integer or group of integers but not the exclusion of any other integer or group of integers.