"preventive maintenance for a conveyor"
Keep Old Conveyors Running 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 5 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 www.metalformingmagazine.com 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 www.dorner.com. www.metalformingmagazine.com METALFORMING / JANUARY 2007 31