Preventative maintenance is vital in any business. Preventative maintenance can reduce the risk of unplanned downtime, unplanned maintenance costs, and unplanned loss of productivity. This is even more important with conveyor belts, as they are constantly working to keep your business moving seamlessly. Any halt in this flow can mean decreased output, and this could lead to a loss of business for as long as is needed to get things running smoothly again.
Preventative maintenance for conveyor belts means any possible niggles can be fixed before they turn into bigger problems. However it can be difficult to keep track of all the preventative maintenance necessary to keep your conveyor moving. In this blog we list our top 10 tips to keep your conveyor belts moving with preventative maintenance.
Tip One: safety stocks
Safety stocks are vital for machinery and conveyor health, as they can reduce the risk of lengthy downtime if something goes wrong or is due to be replaced. Safety stocks are incredibly useful if and when a conveyor or conveyor system breaks down. As with any moving part, it's inevitable that your mechanical parts will fail, so you need to be ready for this to reduce any downtime. Always keep critical spares on hand and order new ones when these are used, and reduce overall costs by making sure high quality parts are sourced. The cheapest product isn’t necessarily the lowest cost option in the long run.
Tip Two: maintenance training
Make sure your Maintenance Technician team is prepared for anything that could happen, trained well with up-to-date skills on the latest technology, and they work efficiently and effectively. A well trained and strong preventive maintenance team will spot, repair and document small problems before it’s too late to reduce downtime – the overall goal of a preventative maintenance program.
Tip Three: audit regularly
Construct an Audit and Documentation Pattern. This document should outline everything that needs to be checked or replaced each day, week and month. By implementing an Audit and Documentation Pattern, you will often reveal conveyor issues before they become big problems - allowing you to fix them quickly and reduce potential downtime.
Tip Four: stay safe
Pay attention to relevant product and workplace safety measures. When a conveyor or conveyor system is not in operation, it should be switched off to reduce wear on the parts and to reduce safety risks to people around the machine. Best practice is to disconnect the machine for maintenance. However if upkeep needs to be performed while the equipment is operating, each team member needs to be trained effectively and competent in appropriate procedures and protocols - safety must be the most important part of the process.
Tip Five: keep controls strong
Examine controls and wiring at least once a week. Your conveyor and/or conveyor system’s controls should be given a comprehensive inspection for structural decline, defective electrical connections and overall quality. Any problems found need to be noted and repaired as part of the Audit and Documentation Pattern. Disconnect the conveyor or conveyor system, and then conduct the inspection. Your maintenance team should avoid loose wires, and need to conduct deeper maintenance for any loose wires located.
Tip Six: keep motors moving
Motors and gearboxes should be examined regularly as part of the Audit and Documentation Pattern. You should refer to your conveyor supplier for information on how often this should be done, as it will depend on the machine you're using. Any machines with lubricant leakage detected should be investigated, and the conveyor system’s oil levels need to be checked. Add oil or grease if needed, and check with your supplier which lubricant to use. Remember to not overfill!
Tip Seven: clean your conveyors
Once a week (after maintenance) your conveyor or conveyor system should be cleaned. During cleaning, remove any accumulated debris beneath the conveyor system’s surface, and remove any labels stuck on rollers or the belt. This ensures optimal running and efficiency of your conveyors. If you're unsure what you should be using to clean your conveyor system, check with your supplier who can give you more information.
Tip Eight: listen
Being on the listen-out for any strange noises can highlight issue with pulleys, bearings and rollers. Have your maintenance team listen for any odd noises while the conveyor is in operation, and have them ask those who work with the conveyors often if they've heard anything strange since the last inspection. Tighten any grub-screws which are loose, and check if any parts need replacing.
Tip Nine: examine the belt
Once the bearings, pulleys and rollers have been checked, your team needs to examine the actual belt for any damage. Belt examination is important because it can reveal any wear and tear on the belt itself - and without this you won't have much of a conveyor system to use! Look out for spots that are wearing thin, pulls, tears and anything else out of the ordinary. Be sure to check mini-v belts and roller drive bands etc.
Tip Ten: check mounting bolts
Examine the mounting bolts, and all drive motors should be checked too. Check the conveyor system’s hold-down, and stand bolts to make sure the machine is fastened and safe.
So there are our top ten tips for conveyor belt preventative maintenance. Follow these steps and you should have a conveyor system that lasts and performs efficiently. You can download a PDF of these tips here to keep handy in your office.
If you'd like more information on how to care for your conveyor belts and systems, download the DynoCare booklet here.