Making maintenance of material handling systems and components a priority can extend the life of expensive equipment such as conveyors and fork trucks.
While most OEMs and end-users expect their pallet-based conveyor systems to be durably designed and destined for a lengthy service life, longevity and superior efficiency can only be achieved through proper conveyor maintenance. Failure to properly maintain industrial conveyors can greatly reduce the system’s life and produce unexpected and costly downtime. Although it may seem inconvenient to regularly check for potential problems, it’s better to schedule limited downtime for routine maintenance, rather than face an untimely and catastrophic problem.
Check for missing chain caps that could allow fasteners into the system.
Daily Maintenance Checks
It may sound like common sense, but these checks are oftentimes overlooked: on a daily basis, inspect and remove any small parts and debris that may accumulate on conveyor belts and chains. Examine belts for any visible wear, damage or separation. If there are any visibly damaged belts, replace them immediately.
Weekly Maintenance Checks
Another factor contributing to the performance and longevity of the conveyor system is the system’s overall cleanliness. As a result, conveyor systems should be wiped down once a week and all grease and dirt should be removed from the conveyor and corresponding modules.
Next, inspect the bottom of the pallets for debris that may become embedded. Fasteners from the product you’re assembling have a nasty way of sticking where they’re not supposed to. Also, check T-bolts on the pallet stop gates and re-tighten them if they are loose. A skewed stop gate could indicate a loose fastener.
Make sure to lubricate power transfer chains, sprockets and flange bearings to be certain the chain tensioners are in the acceptable tension range, since chains will stretch over time.
Monthly Maintenance Checks
Despite the durability of these conveyors, proper maintenance checks are critical for equipment longevity.
- Lubricate toothed belts on conveyors with light-grade oil. Also, check for loose or missing fasteners and tighten or replace them as needed.
- Side guards on drive and return units are also locations where debris can accumulate, so it’s imperative that these components be removed once a month and cleaned. Small parts can fall and get caught between the belt and guide profile and these falling parts can do tremendous damage to the belt, guide profiles, drives or returns.
- Make certain all cooling components are running efficiently because heat leads to increased wear, poor system performance and premature belt failure. To ensure the best possible performance, wipe any dirt or grime from the fan shrouds of all motors to maintain proper motor cooling.
- Through heavy use, fasteners from the conveyor can also become loose in other key areas, such as on the conveyor’s foundation. Check for any loose or missing fasteners on the structure itself, once a month.
Quarterly Maintenance Checks
Know Your Stuff
Maintaining A Fork FleetAccording to Charles Dowdell and Joe Lafergola of The Raymond Corporation, one big material handling “buzz” relates to an increasing focus on lift truck fleet management.