Efficient Plant Jan./Feb. 2021 - 13

feature | conveyor maintenance

PM
Advances
Conveyor
Reliability

As with all plant
assets, scheduled
preventive
maintenance
is the key to
avoiding expensive
component failure.

BREAKDOWNS ARE A common occurrence in conveyor systems and, when they happen, immediate part
replacement is critical. A broken conveyor translates to
high production costs every minute. In many scenarios,
this issue is alleviated by having spare components in stock
ready for installation, but that takes investment. Not only
is there overhead for storing components on a shelf, there's
extra maintenance time and cost to replace something that
wasn't on the schedule.
Many customers do not have the capital to invest in a full
second system of parts, or the experienced manpower to
promptly fix a problem. How many people have a spare
vehicle in their driveway to use for parts if something
breaks down during their daily drive?
When your car is being serviced, the servicing shop
runs through a full list of checks. This process helps the
mechanic ensure, to the best of his/her ability, that you will
not have a catastrophic failure. This example is analogous
to conveyor systems. You have bearings that need consistent greasing and motors that need their oil serviced and

JAN/FEB 2021

EP2101fmotion.indd 13

Jason Crain
Motion

checked. Shafts, scrapers, and pulleys need to be cleared of
buildup. Additionally, conveyor belting and skirting needs
to be adjusted or observed for damage.
In optimum cases, a preventive-maintenance (PM) plan
is created. This is perfect for a consistent maintenance
review and keeping components healthy. It also helps you
get full life out of each component. But is it an efficient
plan? Consistently monitoring key components might take
a lot of time and manpower in a world that needs to run
with full efficiency.
Thus, we look at what can be monitored with little effort.
There are always items that take priority and will pull
maintenance crews away from PM tasks. When " firefighting " is required, the PM schedule will tend to be overlooked, often for long periods of time, because there is no
perceived urgency attached to preventive functions. This is
where catastrophic failure happens.
The following series of events is from an actual occurrence: Maintenance personnel evaluated a belt and motor,
as well as the easy-access components, and decided that

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Efficient Plant Jan./Feb. 2021

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