Conveyor belts are some of the most commonly used pieces of equipment used in a vast array of industries all over the world. This includes food processing plants, airports, retail stores, and many more, and they are utilized for moving everything from potato chips to heavy industrial pieces of equipment or boxes. Conveyor belts are extremely versatile and therefore extremely important, but they are in fact pretty simple machines, and can be quite reliable. They are especially reliable if parts used for replacements and repairs are sourced from reputable conveyor spare parts suppliers.
No conveyor or conveyor belt, however, are immune from ever experiencing any problems. Motors burn out, belts slip, and components break, this is all normal from the continuous wear and tear that conveyor belts experience. These situations can also come about even quicker than normal if the conveyor is being incorrectly used or being used outside of its specifications.
How To Keep Your Conveyor Belt Running Smoothly
A conveyor belt that runs at an optimum level for many years is possible but only if the following tips are adhered to:
Choosing The Correct Conveyor
The very first thing you must do is choose the conveyor that you need for your specific application. The weight of the load it will need to carry, the direction and speed that desire the load to travel, and whether you need weighing, sorting, or metal detection, are all different aspects that must be considered when deciding on a conveyor.
Talking to an expert at a conveyor manufacturing company or even a conveyor spare parts supplier will help you determine what features you need for your specific application and products. Pro tip: Consider purchasing a conveyor that is oversized for your current application, this will allow for future growth but will also let the conveyor run for longer without any problems as it will be under less strain.
Keeping The Belt Clean
Keeping a conveyor belt clean is more for than just sanitary purposes. Dirty belts are more likely to slip due to material coming between the belt and rollers, this also reduces the weight capacity that the conveyor is able to carry. Similar to this, a build up of dirt on conveyor part components, such as belt rollers, will reduce both motor and belt life. Regular cleaning will help extend the life of any conveyor belt. Some conveyors come with an easy-clean component like belt lifters, belt scrapers, or CIP systems. All of these are specifically designed to clean the conveyor belt at regular intervals while also saving the time and energy involved in cleaning the conveyor manually.
Keeping The Motor Clean
A dirty motor, i.e. one that is constantly covered in grease, dirt, dust, and/or food regularly causes the vents for the fan to become clogged, therefore allowing the motor to overheat. A motor that is overheating will in time burn out, and then will need to be replaced. It is important to regularly clean the conveyor motor to avoid it overheating.
Checking The Bearings
Bearming must be regularly inspected on any conveyor. A main cause of conveyor breakdowns are dry or loose bearings. Bearing should be lubricated on a regimented basis to keep the conveyor running smoothly. Self-aligning sealed bearings are also available that do not require any external lubrication. Remember to always clean off any lubricant that comes in contact with belts as it may damage the belt.
Checking The Pulley Alignment and Wear
Pulley alignment plays a major role in making sure that a conveyor runs smoothly. Properly aligned pulleys ensure equal belt tensioning on both sides of the belt’s cross section. This is vital to ensure that the conveyor belt lasts as long as possible. When a pulley is misaligned or worn unevenly, there will be stretching on one side, as the belt tensioning will not be equal. This will result in a new belt being needed sooner rather than later. Product loading can also affect wear on a conveyor, keep in mind it is always best to load as near to the center of the belt as possible, especially with heavy loads.
Making Sure The Correct Motor and Drive Are Installed
Always ensure whether a new conveyor is being bought, or an existing one is being repurposed that the motor and drive are the correct size for the load it will be transporting. A load that is too much for the conveyor it is travelling on will lead to drive and motor failure. Again, if replacing these, invest in parts that are capable of more than what you need, as they will last longer.
Inspect For Worn Parts and Replace Them
Parts that are worn are the main cause of conveyor breakdowns. This can result in an extended amount of time where the machine is down, therefore affecting productivity and throughput while replacement parts arrive. Regular inspections will help to identify worn parts ahead of time and order the replacements with time to spare to avoid any down time. Again, talk to your conveyor spare parts supplier to see which parts are more likely to wear out and bulk order them parts to keep in stock.
Regularly Maintain Equipment
Regular maintenance is always a great way to keep your conveyor running smooth and efficiently. Always follow the manufacturer’s guidance (as they know best) and perform thorough preventative maintenance at regular intervals. Replace any parts that show wear, upgrade any cables or wires that need to be, and inspect everything else. It is also important to keep a log of these inspections to ensure certain preventative maintenance practises are followed.
There you have it, the shortlist on how to maintain your conveyor belt and keep it running well for as long as possible. However, when the time comes for those inevitable repairs and replacements, consider sourcing these parts from a reputable distributor like SL Plastics. Also, if you have anything to add to this article we would love to hear it in the comments below!