Troubleshooting: Inconsistent Conveyor Speed and Belt Movement

Automatic packaging lines cannot reach their full potential without a system to deliver bottles or other containers from machine to machine in an efficient manner. In other words, if the power conveyor system malfunctions, the entire packaging line suffers. Below are a few troubleshooting tips if experiencing inconsistent speeds or belt movement with a power conveyor.

1. Check the Line for Jams

In many instances, conveyor inconsistency may stem from a jammed bottle or other component on the line itself. Most power conveyors will use rails to guide and stabilize containers as they move down the line. From time to time, a bottle, cap or other item may become caught in the railing or along the conveyor itself. The operator of the packaging line should first ensure that the conveyor itself is free of obstacles that may cause a jerking belt motion or actually put a stop to the conveyor itself. Stopping the conveyor and clearing any obstacles or jams will often resolve inconsistencies.

2. Check The Conveyor Belt and Drive Chain for Stretching

Power conveyor systems often work non-stop for long periods of time during production runs. Constant weight, drag and pull can cause both the conveyor belt and the drive chain to stretch as it works. At some point, the operator may need to remove a section of the conveyor belt to tighten the belt or remove a half-chain or a chain from the drive chain to correct tautness. Loose belting can obviously cause slipping that can lead to inconsistent performance of the power conveyor system. Again, stopping the conveyor and tightening the belts via removal of the necessary sections can resolve inconsistency.

3. Check the Belt and Sprockets for Wear

Conveyor systems, like almost all packaging machines, have wear parts that will need to be replaced over time. This include the belt and the sprockets found on most systems. Though, as mentioned above, loose belting may be corrected by the removal of a small section, the belt may also wear over time to the point that replacement is necessary. The same can happen to portions of a sprocket over time to the point that the belt will simply slip out of place. Keep in mind, however, that the useful life of both of these items can be extended to great lengths by avoiding the build up of dust and debris in collection points on the conveyor system. However, if inconsistent speed and belt movement do occur, the operator of the packaging line should inspect both the belting itself and the sprockets to insure that excessive wear has not occured. Replacement of these components will also often remove inconsistency in conveyor performance.

Though there may exist other causes for inconsistent performance on a power conveyor, the above are arguably the most common issues. For additional troubleshooting help using the above resolutions or for assistance in identifying other causes, contact the Liquid Packaging Solutions service department toll free at 1-888-393-3693 or by email at