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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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Check periodically for appropriate belt tension. Adjust as necessary.
- Monitor belt tracking and adjust as necessary.
- Check entire belt for wear. Address as necessary.
- Monitor all bearings for excessive noise.
- Lubricate appropriate bearings as necessary.
- Check periodically for bearing interference and remove as necessary.
- 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.
Production facility floor space is sacred. The more organized and compact you are, the more efficient your production practices are.
Our customer wanted to crowd more conveyor into their existing space to optimize their production facility. Continuing to drive lift trucks through such a tightly packed space would increase the risk for damaged product and equipment. So our customer needed something to facilitate the movement of their product within this tight space while limiting the use of lift trucks. Tuff Automation worked together with Savant Automation to create a transfer cart that would solve their problems.
We constructed the transfer cart with heavy structural steel and laser-cut and formed components. It traveled along a rail embedded in the facility floor, which meant that lift trucks could still be driven in the same space as needed. The cart used an overhead power system, taking up the least amount of space necessary to move products from destination to destination.
The transfer cart had to carry five different products from their respective fill systems to one of two stations—a stretch wrapper or a conveyor that sent them straight to the warehouse. Check out our video of the system in motion:
The final product ended up being an excellent solution to the customer's needs, getting the job done without trying to squeeze lift trucks through tight spaces.
The transfer cart solution can be used and customized for a number of applications. Contact us to learn more about this system.
Even the best equipment doesn't last forever. Whether your process changes as your business grows, or you've simply used your equipment to the point of breaking down, eventually you're going to need an upgrade. Tuff Automation can help with that.
Engine manufacturer Cummins found themselves in need of just such an upgrade. Their 20-year-old equipment was no longer meeting the task of moving their product.
"[Our equipment] was never upgraded to handle a heavier product," said Cummins Mechanical Engineer Michael McLaughlin.
So they contacted Tuff, and we worked together over a long and changing schedule to design, build, and install brand new equipment
The sum of what we worked together to create included heavy-duty CDLR with 3.5" diameter rollers, drip pans, custom frames, and guiding. These were much better equipped to move the heavier goods. We also mounted some new CDLR on a lift table the customer provided. In addition to the CDLR, Tuff also built a walkway and railing around the conveyor, mounted spring-loaded steps on the sides of the conveyor, and replaced the sensors on their equipment.
A long and challenging installation schedule
Over the course of four weekends in February, Cummins and Tuff worked together around an extremely demanding production schedule to put the new equipment in place. Tuff Mechanical Engineer Tony Truong traveled to the Cummins facility in New York to work with a team to facilitate the installation.
"Working with Tony Truong was the best part about using Tuff," said McLaughlin. "Not only was he great on the engineering side, offering solutions to all of our requests, he was a one-man installation crew."
Flexibility is the key
Even when brevity is out of the question, efficiency is of utmost importance. Though the circumstances made for a difficult schedule and an ultimately longer project process, Tuff and Cummins both exercised flexibility to ensure a satisfactory product.