Basic Troubleshooting Tips for Stainless Steel Conveyor Systems

Stainless steel conveyors are a life line and a critical pievce of machinery that allows the abilty to effectively move a product in a timely fashion, which in return helps streamline automating several food processing activities. These systems are required to operate 24/7 to execute high demand operations, including product conveyance, storage, and packaging, amongst others. Similar to other mechanical devices, stainless steel conveyors are prone to damage with repeated usage when operating in a stressful environment. They could experience sudden failures, adversely affecting the operations at your facility. The steps that a company can take to ensure that it performs at peak capacity include regular inspections and system audits; close monitoring of motors and reducers, keeping key parts in stock, and proper training of personnel just to name a few.

This blog focuses some of the largest problems associated with stainless steel food processing conveyors with details of their causes and solutions.

Stainless Steel Conveyor Systems: Problems, Reasons, and Solutions!

Your stainless steel conveyor system may experience the following troubles:

  1. Problem – Conveyor fails to start.
    • Cause – Motor might be overloaded or it may draw current above the specified limit.
    • Solution – Inspect the circuit breaker. Also, check whether the belt is being overloaded by more than the specified limit.
  2. Problem – Wear of drive chain and sprockets and now the system is overloaded by either its mechanical or electrical overload protection.
    • Cause – Chain and bearings require lots of lube to reduce intense friction. If there is a lack of lubrication, misaligned sprockets or lack of maintenance problems will occur. This happens a lot with conveyor systems that are ran in extreme heat like in an oven.
    • Solution – You can begin by lubricating the chain and re-align the sprockets. Some machines you set the lubricants to be left on constantly or create a cycle where they turn on every on only some cycles.
  3. Problem – Loud and/or unusual noises while the system is in production.
    • Causes – The problem could be an imperfect bearing to a loose drive chain or sprocket set screws.
    • Solution – Replace bearings immediately and tighten all loose drive chain and set screws.
  4. Problem – The belt stretching out of its original dimensions. This is a simple adjustment on most systems yet it is often overlooked. The chain take-up device ensures that the chain is pulled tight as it leaves the drive unit.
    • Cause – This could be caused by quite a few things actually. Some being excessive heat, extremely high belt tension, disorientation of drive chain and tail sprockets.
    • Cause – While it expands the spring force lessens resulting in the take-ups having less affect. Also I inspect the alignment of the drive chain and sprockets and try reducing the load on the belt.
    • Solution – Simply compress the take-up springs and your problem goes away.
  5. Problem – Are the motors or reducers overheating?
    • Cause – This can be caused by insufficient lubrication on reducers. Also the conveyor may be overloaded and have a insufficient supply of voltage.
    • Solution – You would want to fill/top off the reducer’s reservoir. Also its very important that you check whether the conveyor belt is overloaded to a spec more than the specified limit by manufacturer. You MUST operate the machine using the right voltage level.
  6. Problem – Are the sprocket teeth wearing?
    • Cause – Extremely high belt tension, insufficient sprockets.
    • Solution – Check load on the conveyor belt. Ensure that the load does not exceed the specified limit. Check alignment of the conveyor. Add more sprockets.
  7. Problem – Wearing of the conveyor belt
    • Cause – Using the same sprockets for the standard belt in the manufacture of heavy duty conveyors. Too much friction between the conveyor belt and support surfaces.
    • Solution – Lubricate support surfaces to reduce friction. Ensure that the space between the belt and support surfaces is free of any kind of debris. Clogging of debris causes the belt to wear quickly.

Closely Watch your Unit!

  1. All these troubles can be circumvented if stainless steel conveyors are operated as per the manufacturers’ instructions. Ensure that you check and inspect the system’s parts regularly, so that you are up-to-date with its operating condition. Also, proper maintenance must be rendered to avoid unexpected failures, leading to costly downtimes.

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