Companies using Richards-Wilcox conveyor systems have a huge investment in this critical piece of infrastructure, as it can greatly impact productivity and worker safety. Proper maintenance of conveyor systems is essential to avoiding expensive and disruptive repairs, giving you a better return on your investment.
How Conveyors Improve Efficiency
Conveyor systems are used in a variety of industries to move materials, reducing the need for human labor and boosting facility efficiency and productivity. By reducing the amount of human exertion needed to move materials, conveyor systems also reduce injury risk. Conveyor systems have also been found to be safer than using forklifts to transport materials, which garners another safety benefit.
Conveyor companies can install custom conveyor products nearly anywhere, and conveyors often help facilities maximize their space efficiency. Some industries using conveyors include food processing, auto manufacturing, packaging, electronics manufacturing, and aerospace manufacturing and repair, among others.
When selecting conveyors, companies must consider the type of materials they are moving. This includes their size, their weight, and their shape, as well as logistical considerations such as the need to temporarily remove some items from the conveyor for quality control. Maintenance is also a key factor in choosing a conveyor, as companies will want to select a device that is reliable and only needs routine maintenance.
Why Maintenance Is Important
Conveyor devices are machines with many moving metal parts. As such, care with regard to maintenance and upkeep is essential to companies getting the most out of their investment. A regular maintenance schedule is essential to conveyor reliability.
Inspection and correction will help prevent minor problems from mushrooming into large problems that can result in major work stoppages for your conveyor system. Conveyor inspection personnel need to keep careful records detailing dates, problems found, and the steps taken to correct these problems. Good record keeping will help inspection and repair staff see patterns in maintenance needs and determine the effectiveness of corrective action. With proper documentation, maintenance staff can identify problem parts and perhaps change suppliers, discover if employees are improperly using the conveyor system, or determine other causes of wear and tear on the conveyor system.
In general, maintenance staff should inspect conveyors every three months for single shift outfits. If the conveyor runs for more than one shift, reducing the inspection interval to two or one month periods is advisable. One good thing about scheduling maintenance ahead of time is that it allows conveyor system owners to do the work during a lull in business, rather than having to do it when they need their conveyor system at 100 percent.
Important General Maintenance and Inspection Tips
Before testing and operating the conveyor system, be sure to lubricate the bearings and other parts of its drive unit. Also be sure to grease the drive train on a regular basis.
- Be sure to regularly check all oil levels in the power unit. Inadequate lubrication is the bane of any mechanized system.
- Ensure that the device is getting the correct current and voltage.
- If the conveyor is a new system, be sure to adjust conveyor chain take-ups often during the first few months that it is in operation.
- Be sure to frequently lubricate the conveyor chain. When lubricating, feed the oil slowly to avoid oil drips.
- Again, set a regular schedule for checking conveyor lubrication. Not much lubrication is needed, but if the conveyor doesn’t get it, it can cause huge and expensive problems.
- During the first half year, the conveyor is in operation, be sure to regularly inspect and tighten bolts on joint brackets and tighten nuts on the device’s hanger bolts.
Proper lubrication is a huge part of conveyor upkeep. A well-oiled machine will result in less wear and tear, fewer shut-downs, and lower maintenance costs. Facility owners should keep this in mind when scheduling repair intervals.
It’s a proven fact that conveyor systems can save manufacturers, distribution centers, and other businesses considerable amounts of money. For example, the recent installation of a Richards-Wilcox Safe Rail Conveyor System increased the capacity of Oak Forest Hospital’s laundry room by nearly 30 percent.
The 600-bed facility near Chicago, Illinois had been using a manual system of moving heavy bags of laundry. This arrangement was labor intensive and also prone to mistakes regarding misdirected laundry. Richard-Wilcox installed the Safe Rail Conveyor System, which vastly improved productivity and reduced mistakes. As a result, Oak Forest Hospital now spends fewer resources on laundry and has more to devote to patient care. Properly maintaining the system will allow the hospital to continue to reap the productivity savings provided by the conveyor.
With a properly maintained conveyor system, industries and organizations can cut costs, improve accuracy and efficiency, and improve worker safety, making it well worth the investment of scheduling regular inspection and repair.