Conveyors are an essential part of any manufacturing, warehousing, or distribution operation. They streamline the movement of finished products, components, packaging, and more to ensure that everything flows smoothly through your facility on its way from raw material to finished product.
However, when designed and operated inefficiently, conveyors can cause problems like bottlenecking workflow, piling up material, damaging valuable inventory, and endangering workers.
Fluent Conveyors, leading manufacturer in the field will discuss 10 tips for improving conveyor belt efficiency and preventing downtime. Visit Fluent Conveyors here >>
1. Keep the conveyor clean and free from blockages.
If you consider all that goes on inside your conveyor, it’s hard to believe it wasn’t invented sooner. Unfortunately, these moving parts are subject to heavy use and will require maintenance and repair one day. When this happens, it’s best to ensure the machine is taken apart methodically. The only way to do this is with effective changeover procedures and proper maintenance.
The best way to accomplish this is with effective changeover procedures and proper maintenance. Dirty conveyor belts can lead to mechanical issues like slipping and jamming and injury hazards caused by flying debris.
2. Clean regularly.
Naturally, this occurs when something falls on your conveyor belt, like when a box suddenly drops or something simply gets misplaced. Whatever the case may be, clean it up as soon as it occurs, so you no longer have to deal with clogged or damaged belts.
Clean up any spillage immediately. Spilled materials can quickly dull or even damage conveyor belts if they’re left on the belt for too long. To prevent this from happening, designate an employee whose sole job is mopping up spills as soon as they happen.
3. Scheduled Inspection is Important.
Inspection is a crucial part of the quality control process in most industries. For example, if you own a manufacturing plant, the primary concern is to create quality products. One way to ensure your durability and quality is by performing regular inspections. These days, machines are run through a rigorous process before coming out of the assembly line.
Running a ramped conveyor belt requires regular inspections to ensure its efficient operation. Inspections ensure that belts are aligned correctly and that the alignment doesn’t change. Inspections also identify any issues with the rotation of the belt (including foreign objects on the belt), pad wear, and other potential causes of problems such as jams, damage, and misalignment.
4. Adjust tension as needed.
One of the best ways to ensure that you keep your conveyor belt moving quickly and efficiently is to ensure that it is in good working order. This means carrying out regular inspections of your conveyor belt, checking for damages and fraying, cleaning and oiling as necessary, and ensuring you have correctly tensioned the belts.
5. Tighten bolts/nuts regularly.
Tighten bolts/nuts regularly. This is usually done during the inspection of the conveyor belt. However, this process should be done every time the belt is used. A loose bolt or nut can cause malfunctioning of the belt and strain other parts of the machine, which may lead to damaged parts.
The tightening process should be done with special tools such as a torque wrench; otherwise, the tightening will not be applied evenly across all of the bolts, which can damage the belt’s load-bearing capacity. Regular usage of a torque wrench will ensure that all bolts are correctly tightened, thus improving its efficiency.
6. Regularly grease bearings.
Grease is typically applied to the inside face of a bearing, which is the rotating surface engaged by the rolling elements. Centrifugal force forces grease into the area between the inner and outer face. Also, it spreads through radial pressure generated by the inner race when it rolls against the outer race.
Greasing conveyor bearings will help extend their life and reduce noise, vibration, and roller wear. In addition, regular lubrication will ensure that bearings operate at maximum efficiency. The reduction in friction will lower operating temperatures, reducing energy costs associated with cooling equipment.
Regular grease bearings are a big part of maintaining your conveyor belt system, essential for overall business efficiency. It helps the metal rollers on your conveyor belts move smoothly to reduce friction and make sure that your product moves along the track quickly and efficiently.
7. Follow instructions for lubrication/cleaning products.
Conveyor belts must be properly lubricated to move freely and deliver the products quickly, efficiently, and safely. Conveyors are designed for specific types of products, so make sure that you use the correct lubricant for your application. Always clean any debris from the conveyor before applying oil or grease to ensure proper lubrication. Manually push your product across the length of the conveyor to ensure that it moves smoothly before adding lubricant.
8. Keep it clean, keep it safe.
Dirt and grime can quickly build up on belt systems and cause friction that will hinder belt movement or cause belts to tear. It is best for these systems to be regularly cleaned, so dirt doesn’t build up too much or have time to cause damage.
Even adequately maintained conveyor belts present safety risks because of their moving parts and speed. Employees need to be aware of where they are walking when in close proximity to moving belts. Employees should wear proper footwear with non-slip soles when walking around conveyor systems. Wearing shoes with heels is not recommended. They can get caught between moving sections of the belt system or on the bottom steel support structure of conveyor belts.
9. Replace belts as necessary.
Belt replacement is one of the most critical factors for improving conveyor belt efficiency. This is because belts, unlike rollers or other mechanical parts that conveyor belts rely on, are not designed to last a lifetime. Worn and damaged belts should be replaced as needed to keep your conveyor system running at peak performance.
Conveyor belts are made from rubber and do need to be replaced often. The lifespan of a conveyor belt is directly related to the quality of the rubber used in its construction. Good rubber can last for 5 years, whereas cheap rubber will only last 1-2 years before breaking down.
Remember, replacing worn-out conveyor belts helps you save money on repairs and lost products.
10. Choose the right belt for the job.
Choosing the right conveyor belt is the key to optimizing your production line. Each type of belt has its strengths and weaknesses, so it’s essential to match the belt to the application.
While there are many conveyor belts, each has distinct advantages and disadvantages. Chain belts, for example, are strong but difficult to splice; flat belts can be easily modified; V-belts or bull belts are inexpensive but require a lot of power to run. Make sure you know what your application needs before you choose a belt.
About the Author Jeremy Axel
Jeremy Axel is the founder of Fluent Conveyors, they design and manufacture conveyors for Waste and recycling industries, Manufacturing, and Distribution centers across the United States. He is also known for building trusted relationships with conveyor dealers and reseller networks and developing advanced technological processes and tools that help them do their jobs more efficiently.