It is easy to overlook the importance of a well-functioning conveyor - until you experience a breakdown. Luckily, there are simple preventitive measures you can take now to avoid a costly problem in the future. This article by John T. Phelan, Jr for InTech lists 12 of the most common material-handling system conveyor maintenance mistakes and how to avoid them, including:
- Overlooking regular inspections. In most manufacturing operations, it is the production equipment that receives the attention; however, the conveyor should receive regular inspection and maintenance as well.
- Disregarding OSHA standards. A safe workplace indicates a commitment to employees and customers, and often serves as a competitive advantage. But, because of the constant pressure in a production environment, it is easy to neglect equipment safety. Be sure to reinstall safety equipment after it has been removed, and train all workers on the meanings of conveyor warning labels.
- Keeping an inadequate parts inventory. Certain conveyor parts may not be readily available when you need them. Key components such as motors, couplings for line shafts, bearings, and photo eyes should be kept on hand in case of a breakdown.
- Ignoring the warnings given by repeated breakdowns. A continuing pattern of breakdowns is a message that something is wrong. But, again, production demands often require quick fixes to get the line moving. By disregarding a problem or not finding its root cause, your company may suffer more down time incidents, additional costs, and employee frustration.
- Misusing a conveyor. One common example is placing larger, heavier cartons on a narrow conveyor. When this happens, there is stress and wear on the entire conveyor, which will eventually result in a breakdown. Consider the conveyor’s belt pull rating before increasing its workload or using it in ways it was not intended.
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For more information regarding the belting industry, visit NIBA (The Belting Association). They have a great resources page and offer training through a variety of formats and the University of Industrial Distribution. You can find NIBA members on LinkedIn and Facebook as well. If you're a belting distributor looking for business and inventory management software, check out Tribute, Inc. We specialize in belting distributors.