Increasing reliability and reducing downtime.

Increasing reliability and reducing downtime.

Postby admin on Fri Oct 09, 2009 5:12 pm

In the 90’s, my conveyor belt splice failed due to it rusting apart. It tore out my belt, chain, and floor. Of course the truck was about full of material which had to be shoveled out by hand! Then the truck had to be pulled apart and completely rebuilt. Needless to say, this required many hours, a sizeable expense, and was totally unnecessary. This exercise in frustration made me look at other options and I ultimately changed over to a stainless steel splice. My manufacturer followed suit and also made the change with very little additional expense. I was already an outspoken advocate for positive change and with a lot of criticism and some publicity; I believe all manufacturers with belt systems made the change.
No owner has to be reminded that the costs associated with a worn out parts failure in man hours and service down time is devastating. I will attempt to broad-brush an overview of the conveyor system, the first in a series of articles to help everyone understand a little better what we are dealing with.

A) We utilize minimum-radius pulleys or sprockets to drive our conveyors. This means attention has to be paid to the splice selected. A reference can be found in the Flexco or MLT lacing catalogs, which will specify the splice size for our systems. MLT Lacing offers a system that allows field replacement without a very expensive tool.

B) Sprockets: Customers should insist that they be hardened. Chain manufacturers recommend it for efficiency, longevity, and noise reduction. The best application is for the sprocket to have annular rings to support the chain. These measures will ensure a smoother, quieter, long lasting and efficient system.

C) Belting: A minimum of 220 PIW is required. Be certain that you don’t over tighten the elevator bolts as it will cause the belt to pucker and wear out. If a vanner edge belt is utilized, an integral belt is NOT recommended as the durometer would be the same on the top cover and the edges. This presents a problem with premature splitting of the vanner edge with the smaller radius pulleys. (Defined as less than 11”) A vulcanized edge of at least 20 durometer LESS than the top cover belt is recommended for extended wear performance.

D) Chain: Most recently, the Department of Motor Vehicles in several states have targeted the oil residue left from roller chains. The penalties are severe and the second offense for any residue is a red tag! Hence, pintle chains have regained popularity. It is also obvious that in a dusty environment, a roller chain, although more modern, would attract dust and contribute to a premature failure. All but the largest of the manufacturers use a standard off the shelf chain and sprocket. This, I assume, is a carry-over from Daffin, their predecessor, who used a 1.654 pitch chain and sprocket which is not proprietary, but very difficult if not impossible to obtain other than through the manufacturer. A remedy for this dilemma would be with the replacement of this chain and sprockets to a 120 pitch chain and sprocket that is readily available.

E) Side wipe and center divider material still remains in the 1960’s. Gum rubber, one or two ply strips of conveyor belting, not urethane, which would take the same half of a day to replace, but would last up to five times longer.


As we all know, servicing the conveyor is a major project and once into it, regardless of the reason, we naturally have a tendency to replace parts which if left unvisited would probably still be serviceable, such as roller bearing floors, return rails, etc…

If as users we could only take a little time to share our ideas, modifications, and r&d, everyone would benefit. This is YOUR platform! Use it. It is very hard for me to believe that with an excess of 30,000 hits for the past 6 months that nobody has anything to offer???

Respectfully, Don Mullin
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