Conveyors move material and goods throughout plants and warehouses every day. Driven by either a belt or chain, conveyors move product at various speeds and angles. In many cases, a conveyor breakdown can shut down the entire operation until repairs are complete. The cost impact from a conveyor failure is significant. Following a comprehensive maintenance program can prevent unexpected downtime. A maintenance checklist, provided by the conveyor manufacturer, lists all the conveyor’s components for periodic inspection.
Weekly checks of the conveyor include the motor, belt lacing and drive chain. The operating temperature of the motor is checked with a laser temperature gun. Comparing the operating temperature with a baseline provides an indication of the motor's health. In addition, a visual inspection of the conveyor belt lacings and chain are a part of the maintenance checklist. Both should be properly tensioned and tracking. Lubricate the chain with a high-quality mineral or synthetic oil.
The monthly conveyor checklist is the most comprehensive. A list of components requiring a visual inspection for signs of abnormal operation includes the drive motor, motor mounting bolts, gearbox, bearings and v-belts. Any sign of abnormal vibration or noise requires immediate attention in order to avoid a future breakdown. Adjust the drive chain and conveyor belt for proper tracking. Perform any necessary adjustments to both.
An overall structural security inspection and lube are part of the quarterly checklist. Examine the entire length of the conveyor structure for signs of damage or loose hardware. Specific areas to inspect include the bearings and bearing mounting bolts. Inspect the head and tail pulley set screws and mounting hardware. Replace missing hardware and repair damage before resuming conveyor operation. Lubricate the bearings along the full length of the conveyor with grease or oil---depending on the type bearings and manufacturer’s recommendations.
Damon Hildebrand is a retired U.S. Navy veteran. He has more than 15 years within the oil and gas industry in both technical and managerial positions. Hildebrand has been a technical writer and communicator for the last four years. He is a certified specialists in lubrication and tribology, as well as a certified maintenance and reliability professional.