Protecting your people with Diacon


Diacon Australia is helping to safeguard the future of mining by protecting the industry’s workers.  

Providing a safer alternative to steel conveyor guards, Diacon’s signature yellow plastic mesh guarding is tried, tested and trusted in the material handling space.  

As integral as they are to the success of many industrial operations, conveyor systems can be inherently dangerous. That’s why sites utilise conveyor guards to prevent people coming into contact with moving components of the system.  

These guards are typically made from a steel frame with steel mesh, which tends to makes them bulky and heavy. Installation and removal can therefore be strenuous and time-consuming. 

And in a harsh environment like an Australian mine site, steel experiences the full weight of the elements. 

That’s why Diacon Australia has been producing a safe, tough and cost-effective alternative solution for well over 15 years. 

Diacon’s high-density polyethylene (HDPE) conveyor guards are a lighter alternative to steel, which makes for easy transportation, storage and manual handling.  

“The big thing about our Diacon guarding – it’s lightweight, it’s durable, it’s corrosion-free and it’s safe,” Diacon Australia general manager Matt Kennett told Safe to Work. 

“It’s the ease of use of our guards that ensures they are always installed correctly, preventing anyone from being pulled into or injured by the belt.”

Image: Diacon Australia

Steel mesh guarding typically requires two or more workers to install or remove it, whereas handling Diacon plastic guarding is a one-person job. 

This allows sites to focus labour elsewhere, limiting people’s exposure to potentially dangerous situations and saving maintenance costs. And given each unit is lighter than steel – usually no heavier than 15kg per segment – the risks associated with manual handling are significantly reduced.  

“A feature of our guards is that the weight is permanently stamped into them,” Kennett said.

Diacon plastic guarding is also extremely durable, a feature the company has refined over the years since its debut in the Queensland sugar and coal mining industries.

“Unlike steel, plastic is corrosion-free; it doesn’t rust or need to be repainted,” Kennett said. 

“Elements like sulphur in coal accelerates corrosion of steel and HDPE eliminates this from the equation.”

Diacon’s plastic guarding can also resist the damaging effects of ultraviolet (UV) light, an invaluable feature when considering the fact conveyor systems often operate beneath the beating sun for years at a time. In fact, unlike any other guards on the market, Diacon guarding has a 15-year UV stable guarantee. 

“Another benefit of our yellow plastic guarding is that it does not require painting,” Kennett said. “At the end of the day, guarding is made to keep people away from the conveyor system, so you want it to be highly visible.”

Diacon creates its lightweight plastic guarding at its facility in Mackay, Queensland, where the company continues to innovate with safety, cost-efficiency and durability in mind. 

“We work with design houses to build our plastic guarding into new conveyor systems, and we also retrofit to existing conveyor systems,” Kennett said.

“We go out to sites and take a 3D scan of their belts and design our guarding to accurately suit that specific system.”

Kennett also touched on Diacon’s new ‘clear view’ option, which he said will provide mine sites with more options when it comes to guarding their conveyors.

From design to manufacturing to delivery, Diacon does it all. The company can conduct on-site installation or provide advice to customers who plan their own installation, which is made easy thanks to intuitive design. 

“The guards are simple to install. They mount on custom-made bosses attached to brackets, and they have a unique slide-lock system that locks the guard into position, in accordance with Australian safety standards,” Kennett said.

The slide-lock mechanism is captive within the guard, so it can’t get lost or come free and fall, as conveyor belts are often high above ground.

When the guards are removed from the mounting system, they can actually be hung on a nearby handrail.

 “When most workers see this for the first time, they think, ‘How easy is that?’, and it keeps the guard off the ground ensuring it doesn’t become a trip hazard, ” Kennett said.

Diacon’s plastic conveyor guarding is used in mining operations all over Australia, as well as in places like Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, New Caledonia and the UK. It can hold up against all types of material like coal, lithium, copper and salt in different climates. 

While keeping people out of the conveyor system is critical, ensuring material stays on the belt is also important. That’s where Diacon’s hungry board system comes in. 

Hungry boards are stainless steel-reinforced plastic panels that are used to reduce spillage of product moving along the belt. 

“Hungry boards run on the inside of the conveyor belt, helping with spillage control as product moves along the system,” Kennett said.

“It can also increase conveyor capacity by up to 30 per cent for short periods.”

Hungry boards share the same mounting brackets as Diacon’s conveyor guards to streamline installation and maintenance. It also comes with the option of a hood system. 

“Our hood system helps keep the dust inside the whole way up the conveyor,” Kennett said.

“It helps with dust suppression, which is very important for safety and equipment health, and to protect the product on the conveyor belt from the elements.” 

With its plastic conveyor guarding and hungry board system, Diacon has a strong reputation for making conveyor systems safer and more efficient. 

“Diacon has a lot of runs on the board. We were the first in Australia to develop plastic conveyor guarding, and we have the knowledge and experience of many years working with a diverse range of customers,” Kennett said.  

“The biggest thing for us is making sure people go home to their families at the end of the day, safe and sound.

“Diacon Australia has set a new standard in conveyor guarding safety. Let us help you Diaconise your conveyor system.” 

This feature also appears in the May-June issue of Safe to Work.

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