Troubleshooting Conveyor Issues - Power Conveyors
Power conveyors are the work horses of most automatic packaging systems as they carry the load of the containers and product through the entire process. Like most packaging machines, power conveyor systems contain wear parts that may need to be replaced from time to time. While many causes may exist for poor conveyor performance, most are easily identified and corrected. Today we will cover some of the most common issues with power conveyors, as well as the typical cause of the issues.
BELT TRACKING IMPROPERLY
From installs to phone calls, one of the biggest issues we seem to receive regarding conveyor systems is improper belt tracking, which can cause many additional problems if allowed to continue unchecked. When the belt seems to be moving improperly, operators or those monitoring the system may notice a jerking motion or even a bump or raise near the end of the belt. The first thing to do in this situation is to check to ensure that the conveyors are sitting level on the production floor. Though not typically the first cause, it is always better to start with the simplest fix. If the conveyors are not level, simply adjust leveling legs to correct the problem and monitor to ensure this was the only cause.
The two most common causes of improper belt tracking, however, are bad sprocket alignment or a simple build up of debris on the conveyor itself. After cutting power to the conveyor, check sprocket teeth to ensure they are all lined up in the same position across the belt. The drive and idle shafts can also be inspected for alignment at this time, to ensure that bad alignment of either component is not causing the poor tracking of the belt. More often than not, however, a build up of dust and debris will cause the belt to track improperly. Conveyor belt is continuously moving while production is running, which means any dirt, dust or other debris also moves along the belt. When this debris builds up, it can cause improper functioning of the conveyor system. The best policy is to institute a cleaning procedure at the end of each shift or day, which, depending on the production environment, may be as simple as wiping down the conveyor.
EXCESSIVE BELT WEAR
Though other reasons may exist for excessive belt wear, we just mentioned the most common reason for this issue. When debris builds up at different points on the conveyor, the belt may track properly, but it may also consistently rub against built up materials at certain points. The continuous contact at these points will cause conveyor belting to wear much more quickly than it should or would if a cleaning policy had been followed and debris removed on a shift or daily basis. More than anything else, keeping the conveyor clean will help to prolong the useful life of belts, sprockets and the system as a whole.
INCREASING BELT SAG
Most conveyor belting is made up of smaller sections pieced together to create the specific length necessary for any system. Over time, the materials may stretch, especially when loads are heavy or use is constant. When this happens, an operator of a packaging system may notice that the belt seems to sag more when tracking. This is normal, as long as the sag is not appearing on a weekly, monthly or other excessive time period (depending on the use of the conveyor). The typical fix is to simply remove a row of modules to shorten the conveyor. Once the tension is fixed, the conveyor can quickly be put back in service.
While different conveyors may present different issues due to various components, designs and even materials, these are probably the most common issues faced by those working with the systems. And for these, or any other conveyor issues, Liquid Packaging Solutions techincal service representatives are always available to assist with troubleshooting and correcting any problems!