Performing maintenance on your material handling equipment / by Erica Bacon

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The best thing you can do to keep your material handling equipment running smoothly is to develop a customized maintenance plan. The simplest negligence can lead to extreme machine deterioration over time. But if you periodically make sure every component on your conveyor, lift, over under, or stacker is in good shape, you won't have to worry about fatal faults at inconvenient times. We have a couple tips on what you should include in your specific maintenance plan. What follows is intended to be a guide and is by no means all inclusive.

Safety

Before you even worry about what needs to be done to maintain your equipment, you should make sure you are able to do so in a safe manner. This starts with training your personnel.

  • Make sure your designated maintenance workers know how to safely and effectively perform maintenance on each individual component.
  • Make sure they are aware of any maintenance-related hazards they may encounter while performing maintenance.
  • Never allow personnel to perform maintenance while machine is operating. Always follow machine disconnect procedures prior to performing maintenance.
  • Replace all guards and safety measures once maintenance is complete.

Common Maintenance 

Motors

  • Check motors periodically for excessive noise.
  • Monitor the temperature of running motors for excessive heat.
  • Verify all motors are securely fastened, tighten bolts as necessary.

Chains

  • Monitor chains for proper lubrication. Determine frequency of lubrication based on lubricant, usage, and manufacturer recommendations.
  • Check periodically for chain wear. Determine the cause of the wear (hardware malfunction or just normal wear and tear) and address as necessary.
  • Check regularly to make sure chain is operating at appropriate tension. Adjust as necessary.

Sprockets & Rollers

  • Make sure sprockets are properly aligned. Adjust as necessary.
  • Monitor sprockets and rollers for wear. Address as necessary.
  • Periodically apply lubrication to roller bearings. Determine frequency of lubrication based on lubricant, usage, and manufacturer recommendations.
  • Monitor rollers periodically for any bearing noise. Address as necessary.

Belts

  • Check periodically for appropriate belt tension. Adjust as necessary.
  • Monitor belt tracking and adjust as necessary.
  • Check entire belt for wear. Address as necessary.

Bearings

  • Monitor all bearings for excessive noise.
  • Lubricate appropriate bearings as necessary.
  • Check periodically for bearing interference and remove as necessary.

Overall Maintenance

  • Inspect entire machine for bolt tightness and integrity.
  • Remove any interfering debris from moving parts.
  • Keep machinery as clean as possible.

Be proactive in machinery maintenance

Bottom line, paying for extensive repairs on a problem that could have easily been avoided is foolish. Do your future self a favor. Keep up on the maintenance of your machinery.