Common Power Conveyor Issues and Simple Solutions
Without a good power conveyor system to move containers from one automatic packaging machine to another, the filling machines, bottle cappers and other equipment simply lose all efficiency. The conveyor system allows the automatic machines to work with minimal operator assistance as a complete packaging system. Keeping conveyors running smoothly through simply maintenance and performance checks will help to meet day-to-day production goals.
Keep Conveyors Clean
Probably the most common issue with conveyor systems is abnormal wear and tear on the conveyor belt. While some wear and tear is inevitable, seeing a high amount of wear appear quickly on a belt is a sign of trouble. More often than not, the cause of such wear is simply the production environment. While moving containers through the packaging system, the conveyors will pick up dust and debris from the environment. As the debris moves down the conveyor, it can gather and build up at certain points, such as the returns or deadplates. When this debris builds up, it can not only make the conveyor work harder, but it can cause the belt to wear as it rubs against these catch points. The best defense against such build up is to simply institute a cleaning procedure at the end of each production day, simply wiping down the conveyors and checking for debris build up at the most likely spots.
Check Conveyor Alignment
Sometimes wear and tear may occur even if a cleaning procedure is in place. Wear and tear can also occur from improperly tracking belt. An improperly tracking belt may result in a jerking motion when the conveyor is running, or even a bump or bubble at the end of the conveyor sections. There are several things to check if a belt seems to be tracking improperly. Once power is off, the first simple check is to ensure the conveyors are set up level on the production floor. Unlevel conveyors may result from a bump or relocating equipment within the packager's facility. Use a level to check the set up of the conveyors and the leveling legs found on the conveyors to adjust as necessary.
From here, an operator of a packaging line can check the alignment of the belt on the sprockets, while also checking for damage to the sprockets. Damaged sprockets should be replaced to ensure optimal performance. Once the belt is aligned correctly and the conveyors are level, the system should return to proper form. More often than not, however, improper belt tracking will be the result of dirt, dust and debris building up near the sprockets, adding another reason for implementing a good cleaning routine.
Check Conveyor Belt Tension
On occasion, the operator of a packaging line may notice conveyor belt sagging on the return side of the equipment. This is especially true where heavy products are being transferred down a packaging line or where the conveyor is in constant use. The belting simply loses tension over time. Almost all conveyor belt is made up of small sections of belt pieced together to create the necessary length for any project. Removing a small section from the belt will increase the tension and return the belting to optimal performance. Packagers should refer to their conveyor manuals to see the correct procedure to tighten the belt used on their own equipment. This is not something that should need to be done on a regular basis, and constantly sagging belt could be a sign of other issues. If the belt is constantly being tightened, contact Liquid Packaging Solutions for assistance in identifying other issues.
Once again, sagging belt can be caused by debris build up on the system. The build up can cause the conveyor to work harder than necessary and put undue stress on the belt, causing a loss of tension.
Keeping the power conveyors running efficiently is the first step to keeping an automatic packaging line running efficiently. For more information on conveyor systems or for help troubleshooting other conveyor issues, call LPS directly at 1-219-393-3600.