preventive maintenance for a conveyor by tdelight

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									Keep Old
   Like New                      A preventive-maintenance program
                                 extends conveyor life and keeps
                                 production humming.

      etalforming applications present         • Date of last maintenance check and           Conduct Regular

M     harsh environments for convey-
      ors—parts and scrap fall onto out-
feed conveyors, and lubricants and other
                                            date of next inspection
                                               • Type of maintenance performed
                                               • Manufacturer’s contact information.
                                                                                              Maintenance Checks
                                                                                                 Take time each month to conduct
                                                                                              preventive-maintenance checks on the
fluids coat belts, gears and bearings.         Next, establish an inventory of                conveyor fleet. Remember that exposed
Not every conveyor will last forever,       common replacement parts. Belts are               moving parts can cause severe injury.
but with regular maintenance and            the most crucial replacement parts to             Before removing the first safety guard or
adjustments, facilities can significantly   keep on hand. To minimize potential               performing any maintenance, lock out
decrease their downtime while increas-      downtime, keep at least two replace-              power to the unit.
ing the life of their conveying units.      ment belts in stock for each style used.             Begin a maintenance regimen by
                                            Most manufacturers offer specialized              washing the conveyors and spindles
Create an Inventory List                    kits that include other replacement               with hot water and a light chemical
   It’s common to move conveyors            parts typically required during regular           cleaner to remove dirt, grease and lubri-
from application to application. A tag-     maintenance.                                      cating oil. Also pay special attention to
ging system with an identification                                                            the conveyor belt. A specialized belt
number is a good way to catalog the         Need Standard Tools                               cleaner can be used, but mild soap and
plant-floor conveyor fleet. Building an          Developing a regimen for preven-             water also can be used to clean the belt.
inventory list helps better identify        tive maintenance and adjustments                  Never soak the belt, and avoid belt
which conveyors are due for mainte-         requires a variety of standard tools,             cleaners that contain alcohol, acetone,
nance and helps you track for improved      including:                                        methyl ethyl ketone or other harsh
performance.                                     • Hex-key wrenches (5⁄64, 3⁄32 (2X), 3⁄16,   chemicals. For woven-polyester and
   When creating this inventory list,        ⁄32, 1⁄8 and 7⁄64 in.)                           black antistatic belts, use a bristle brush
include the following information for            • Arbor press                                to improve cleaning.
each conveyor:                                   • Manual grease gun                             On a regular basis, inspect the con-
   • Make and model                              • Adjustable wrench                          veyor belt for surface cuts or wear, worn
   • Conveyor and belt length                    Note that some conveyors may                 edges, stretching or breaking, and any
   • Motor and belt type                    require special tool kits in order to per-        lines or rough edges. Also keep an eye
   • Serial numbers for bearings            form regular maintenance and repairs.             out for stalling or slipping, tracking

30    METALFORMING / JANUARY 2007                                                          
problems, belts that walk to one side,        Wayward Scrap is the Enemy                     help clear unwanted metal slugs from
and non-uniform movement of the                   Whether large pieces or tiny shav-         the conveyor belt.
belt. These problems provide clues            ings, scrap poses a hazard to the under-
needed to solve the more significant          side of the conveyor belts, bearings and       Minimize the Plant-Floor
issues at hand.                               gear motors. No mistake-proof method           Beating
   Check the belts to ensure that they        exists for keeping every piece of scrap on        Conveyors in metalforming envi-
are tight and won’t slip. Over time, a belt   the conveyor. Even with the best anti-         ronments take a beating as conveyor
can stretch and loosen. Lubricants also       scrap safeguards installed, pieces find        ends butt up against presses. And mov-
can weaken the belt, causing slippage. A      their way under the conveyor’s belt or         ing conveyors from one job to the next
loose belt eventually will stop moving in     onto the spindles. But steps can be taken      can damage bearings, bend frames or
the press, even though the conveyor           to minimize conveyor damage from               force belt tracking out of alignment.
keeps operating. This causes a buildup        scrap. One is the attachment of side           Conveyors with reinforced ends better
of parts or material that can damage the      rails. Easily installed to the sides of con-   absorb these forces. This design locks
conveyor bed.                                 veyors, side rails prevent loose scrap         the pulley ends in place, preventing
                                              from falling off of the belt.                  movement when the conveyor hits a
Mind the Lube                                     Also, motion-monitoring devices            machine.
   Lubricate the conveyor pulley bear-        can be added to conveyor systems to               Take extra time to store conveyors in
ings at least every 750 hrs, perhaps more     sense jams or backups on the conveyors         a safe place, out of the way of potential
frequently depending on operating con-        and shut down the system to prevent            damage such as that caused by forklifts.
ditions. When lubricating pulley bear-        equipment damage. This helps save the          Store a conveyor lying flat, not standing
ings, use a conventional hand grease          belt by preventing a sharp object from         on its end where the pulley or bearings
gun with a maximum of one pump per            scraping against the moving conveyor.          can be damaged.                       MF
application. Do not be tempted to over-       Many of these devices connect directly
lubricate and never use a power grease        to the press controls, safely stopping            Information for this article was
gun. Also, remember to check and top-         the conveyor and preventing press dam-         provided by Dorner Manufacturing
off lubricant levels in the gearboxes as      age. One more safeguard: steel wiper           Corp., Hartland, WI; 800/397-8664;
necessary.                                    blades installed along the conveyor, to                                                                   METALFORMING / JANUARY 2007         31

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