Blog
June 7, 2019

Prevention is better than cure: Maintenance of material handling equipment

You invest a considerable amount of money, time, and resources into your production equipment. Setting up and installing a conveyor system takes dedication, and yet you can’t simply install the equipment and forget about it. Without proper maintenance, you will eventually run into performance problems with equipment, eventually failing. Replacing damaged equipment can become costly, not to mention it may force you to shut down the production line, costing your business money for every minute it’s off-line. It’s always better to perform maintenance of material handling equipment instead of waiting for something to fail. If you currently own service handling equipment or you’re considering the installation of new hardware, this is what you need to know about the general maintenance of material handling equipment.

General Maintenance of Material Handling Equipment

Regular Cleaning

The first step in taking care of your equipment is regular cleaning. This should take place every day. It doesn’t need to be extensive, but looking over the equipment, checking for any bits of material that may have fallen off a conveyor belt or lift is necessary, as even one small, out of place screw can become lodged and cause thousands of dollars in damage, all because it wasn’t picked up.

Every employee should maintain a clean workspace, so they can account for what goes on around them. Cleaning the equipment will help improve the quality of the products you produce as well. Any kind of residue or dust leftover from previous products that have traveled down the conveyor system can cause problems with the current material traveling down the conveyor system. So, ideally, have the equipment cleaned after the day. This is a surface-level cleaning, so the top of the conveyor belt and areas where the material handling equipment comes in contact with your products.

Taking Care Of Moving Parts

Every piece of machinery you have will come with instructions for maintenance of material handling equipment. These instructions are easy to follow and, as long as you do so, you’ll avoid the most serious problems. Some gears and pulley systems require regular grease applications. It may require you first to clean off the gear of the old grease, then apply new grease. Over time the old grease will become corrosive, collect dust, and other gunk will stick to it. By removing the old grease and applying the new grease, you help prevent dust and gunk from becoming lodged into the gears, which can then grind the gears. It’s amazing what kind of damage dust can do to gears when not cleaned away. The grinding gears may eventually slip, and then you have a bigger problem on hand. So follow the maintenance instructions for part care.

Additionally, you need to use the recommended grease. Not all grease is created equal. The grease of one machine may not be the same as others. Some grease can be thicker in consistency, while other grease will work with heat better. Keep these products on hand, so you can care for your material handling equipment as instructed by the manual.

Up Close Inspections

Aside from general cleanings and following the manual’s recommended maintenance schedule, you need to perform a regular inspection of the entire system. This means looking over every pulley, every roller bar, every belt, and every other part that makes up your material handling equipment. One of the roller bars may not be wearing properly, which can cause it not to rotate smoothly. You might not notice it from walking along the production floor, but should this faulty roller bar fail, it can cause damage to the neighboring roller bars, the conveyor belt, and it may lead to all kinds of spillage. Depending on the products you’re working with, spillage may equate to a total loss.

Checking screws and making sure everything is tight is also a critical step during the up-close inspection. Of course, you may not know how often you should perform this kind of inspection. After all, while you want to stay on top of your equipment and do what you can to ensure it is always working smoothly, such an in-depth inspection is time-consuming and can take a while to perform.

The staff at Gough Econ can help you with this scheduling. And you don’t need to put every piece of equipment on the same schedule. You can put it bit by bit. So, instead of inspecting every piece of equipment every six weeks (for example), you inspect one piece of equipment one week, then inspect another device two weeks later. You’ll inspect everything at six-week intervals so that you wouldn’t be doing everything all at once. Naturally, it is all up to you and what you’re looking at doing (or whether you want to get everything done at once), but the staff at Gough Econ can help you set up your entire maintenance schedule.

Know The Ins And Outs Of Maintenance of  Material Handling Equipment

The best way to stay on top of your material handling equipment is to understand how it works from the ground up and know what the recommended maintenance scheduling should be. Every device that is part of your bulk material handling configuration has a different maintenance schedule. Some devices need to be checked frequently, while other attributes of the equipment may not need to be inspected as often as the rest of your equipment.

By having this complete understanding, you can create a maintenance and inspection schedule for all of your equipment. This allows you to perform routine maintenance at regular intervals when production is not taking place. Whenever you purchase equipment through Gough Econ, you will receive in-depth information regarding exactly this. With the information in hand, you have everything you need to perform preventative maintenance instead of waiting and wondering when something will go wrong. And, of course, if you ever have questions regarding equipment or you want to know of the best new ways to maintain your material handling hardware, Gough Econ is just a phone call away.

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