Maintenance Technology June 2017 - 30
remember that any component with
which the belt comes in contact will
affect its tracking.
A typical maintenance-inspection
walk-through of a loaded (running)
conveyor system should include, but
not be limited to, the following 13
1. Inspect for satisfactory tracking
along the belt's entire length.
2. Inspect for and ensure there are no
3. Inspect for primary and secondary
4. Inspect carrying-side idlers to
ensure they are turning freely.
5. Inspect self-aligning carry idlers
to ensure they are functioning
(actuating from belt friction).
6. Inspect for excess material spillage.
7. Inspect head and/or drive pulley,
snub, and bend pulleys to ensure
they are running smoothly
with no slippage.
8. Inspect belt cleaners to ensure
they are functioning.
9. Inspect return idlers to ensure they
are clean and turning freely.
10. Inspect tail pulley to ensure that it
is turning freely without product
build-up or carryback.
11. Inspect take-up pulley to ensure it
is turning freely without bearing
noise, is clean, and moving freely
in the frame.
12. Inspect for belt tracking, in
13. Inspect plow (V-Guide or angle) to
ensure it is operating properly.
Following completion and
documentation of these inspections,
a corrective-action plan should be
implemented. Any safety concern must
be addressed immediately, including,
among other things, installation and/or
repair of conveyor crossovers, safetystop cables, failed holdbacks on incline
conveyors, misalignment switches,
motor guards, hand rails, and cleaning
The importance of clean conveyor
systems can't be overstated. Cleanliness
is a safety issue. Premature conveyor
belt wear, idler and pulley failure, along
with structural damage to the conveyor
frame are all indicators of a system
experiencing significant carry-back
and fugitive-material contamination.
Product build-up on return-side
pulleys and idlers not only reflects a
housekeeping issue, it can lead to belttracking problems and added stresses
on the splice. If a belt isn't clean on the
return flight, any pulley that comes in
contact with the belt's carry side will
Continual daily upkeep
is critical to extending
conveyor belt and
Material build-up on a belt and
components doesn't simply cause
tracking problems. It could bring a
system to a grinding halt, costing the
operation countless dollars in lost
material, downtime, clean-up, damage
to the system, and, potentially, personal
injuries. A clean conveyor system is not
only a safer system, it can maximize
your cost per ton.
Primary and secondary belt-cleaning
systems at the discharge area and plows
in front of the tail pulley are essential
to reduce damage to the components.
Sticky materials present a real challenge
when it comes to preventing carryback.
A well-engineered and maintained
cleaning system to minimize carryback
will reduce associated cost. Some variables to consider when designing and
installing a cleaning system include the
material to be conveyed, environmental
and operational factors, and belt type
It's a given in any plant: Safety should
be the number one priority of all
owner/operators and workers, and an
integral part of the workplace culture.
Zero is the only number acceptable
for incidents and accidents. Safe habits
take effort to develop, and are less likely
to be broken when developed. Once a
culture of safety is established in any
organization, it will perpetuate itself.
Constantly pay attention to your
work environment and those working
around you. This situational awareness
could prevent a possible accident
before it happens and save you and
the organization unwanted pain and
expense. When it comes to conveyors,
keep these basic safety tips in mind:
■ Always perform proper lockout/
tagout verification procedures.
■ Use only trained and
authorized maintenance and
■ Keep clothing, fingers, hair, and
other body parts away from
moving conveyor parts.
■ Don't climb, step, sit, or ride on
■ Don't overload conveyors.
■ Don't remove or alter conveyor
guards or safety devices.
■ Know the location and function of
all stop/start controls and keep the
locations free of obstructions.
■ Confirm all personnel are clear
of a conveyor before starting or
■ Keep areas around conveyors clean
and clear of obstructions.
■ Report all unsafe practices to a
Information in this article was provided
by Don Sublett of Motion Industries
(Birmingham, AL). Sublett has worked
in areas of conveyor-belt design and
service since 1976 and is an active
member of various professional associations in the field. For more information,
visit MotionIndustries.com or see the Mi
Hose & Belting video at motionindustries.com/miHow2.jsp#5oi3jj3_yPc.