What do sushi, coal, and auto parts have in common? During the manufacturing and packaging process, they’re all moved along by conveyor belts.
Since the 19th century, conveyor belts have been moving a wide variety of products, helping workers produce and package them quickly. Conveyor belts are huge contributors to our economy’s success-but they can contribute even more. Here’s how to ensure they are unbeatably efficient.
Day in and day out, your conveyor belt moves your products through the manufacturing process. But since it’s working for you for hours each day, you can’t assume it will work perfectly forever. If something were to go wrong with your conveyor belt, it would slow down processes and affect your revenue.
To make sure your conveyor belt doesn’t experience any problems, inspect it each day. With the belt off, examine every inch of the equipment, looking for:
- Belt wear
- Oil leaks
- Dust or shavings
- Damage at loading or transfer points
These signs could indicate problems with the conveyor belt that require repair. If your conveyor belt has any of these signs, call a conveyor belt manufacturer for an evaluation.
Also, watch the conveyor belt as it works each day. Problems could range from the easy-to-solve to the complex. For example, if the belt is not revolving smoothly, it may simply require lubrication. However, any unusual noises could indicate a failed drive or bearing. Call for repairs at the first sign of a problem.
Make sure your conveyor belt meets OSHA’s safety recommendations, including:
- A warning signal that sounds before it starts
- The ability to stop it from both the operator’s station and the engine location
- Guards where it passes over work areas
- Marks at aisles, crossovers, and passageways
- A feature that allows it to lock during repairs and maintenance
Finally, watch to make sure that the conveyor is not overloaded-the loads it carries should meet manufacturer recommendations.
Dirt, dust, grime, oil, and grease can slow down your conveyor belt and halt your processes, so clean your conveyor belt regularly.
With the belt turned off, follow these steps:
- Rinse with warm water at low pressure
- Apply cleaning agent and scrub
- Rinse again with warm water at low pressure
- Apply disinfectant and rinse
Always use low-pressure water and soft-bristled brushes to avoid damaging the belt.
The cleaning solution you choose depends on the material of the belt and the product conveyed. Certain cleaning solutions will damage certain types of belt materials.
You can use soap and water on all types of belts, as well as alcohol for spot cleaning. Do not use:
- Aromatic compounds like benzene
- Chlorinated hydrocarbons like trichloroethylene
- Ketones like acetone
- Alkalis on EPDM rubber
- Ammonia on NBR, EPDM, or silicone
- Kerosene on PVC or EPDM
- Live steam on nylon
If your belt conveys food, you need to choose the right solution in order to avoid contamination. Quaternary ammonia is a good choice for sanitizing food conveyor belts.
3. Invest in a Custom-Designed Solution
When your conveyor belt doesn’t meet your efficiency standards, you need a custom-designed solution. Conveyor belt manufacturers can design and build a custom conveyor belt to meet your business’s specific needs. A manufacturer can build a conveyor belt to perform specific processes, such as moving the product to another line or holding the product in a specific location.
With a custom conveyer, your business can do more with fewer employees. Best of all, you can lower production time and increase revenue.
Queen City Material Handling Equipment has built and installed custom conveyor belts for workplaces throughout the nation. Call us today to discuss your needs.