Loss of Conveyor Belt Tension and Correction
Conveyor systems keep automatic packaging lines producing product on a regular basis. Without the conveyor system to continuously deliver containers, automatic rinsers, fillers, cappers and other machinery simply lose their efficiency. Issues like loss of tension can create problems not just in the conveyor, but the overall packaging process as a whole. Luckily, tension on most conveyors is a simple fix, limiting downtime and quickly returning the lost efficiency.
Certain issues, such as build up of debris in pinch points, can increase the frequency of tension loss. These and other issues can be minimized by regular maintenance and cleaning of the conveyors. Packagers should not be alarmed if a loss of tension occurs without outside issues on occasion however, as changes in belt tension can occur over time simply from the continuous use of the conveyor system. Packagers should regularly check for a loss of tension, as loose conveyor belts can lead to slippage and cause excessive wear and tear not only on the belt, but other conveyor parts as well, such as bearings or sprockets.
In most cases, a simple visual check will identify a loss of tension in conveyor belting. As tension decreases, the return portion of the conveyor belt will start to sag. Though the types of conveyors and belts used on packaging systems will vary, most systems will allow the operator to remove a small portion of the belt to increase the tension. This process simply entails removing a rod from the conveyor that holds two sections together, allowing one of the sections to be removed. Instructions can be found in conveyor manuals, or the Liquid Packaging Solutions' Service Department can be contacted if additional help is needed.
Frequent loss of tension may be an indicator of an additional issue with the conveyor system. Upon installation of the conveyors, each section will be leveled to ensure consistent and reliable container movement. However, a simple bump of the conveyor can cause a change. Operators should check to ensure all conveyors are level as they move containers from machine to machine, and most conveyors can be adjusted easily using the leveling legs.
As noted above, operators can also check pinch points and the overall cleanliness of the conveyor system. Excessive dust, dirt or debris can cause the conveyor to work harder than necessary and lead to frequent loss of tension. Finally, operators should ensure that excessive weight is not present on the conveyor, given the type of conveyor being used. Excessive weight can also cause the system to work harder than necessary and lead to loosening of the belt and other issues.
Regular maintenance and inspection of the conveyor system can not only ensure efficient conveyor performance, but also efficient line performance. Conveyor maintenance is often overlooked until an issue arises. Setting up a preventative plan for cleaning and checking conveyors can lead to increased production over the life of all packaging machinery. For custom conveyor systems or frequent tension issues not resolved by the fixes mentioned above, the Service Department at LPS can be reached at 219-393-3600.