Rock Products

APR 2018

Rock Products is the aggregates industry's leading source for market analysis and technology solutions, delivering critical content focusing on aggregates-processing equipment; operational efficiencies; management best practices; comprehensive market

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40 • ROCK products • April 2018 Keeping Up the Pressure • Bolting or welding the cleaner in place. • Installation on chute wall or hung from stringer. •  Position of cleaner to avoid conveyor structural beams, bearings and drives. • Support for the cleaner. • Access for maintenance. Inspection Since many cleaners die a slow death due to lack of informed maintenance, access for inspection, cleaning and service is critical. After startup it may be impossible to correct for access and location problems. Nobody wants to lay on a pile of grease or spillage to try to get a peek at a cleaner buried in an inaccessible location, but this is often the case when attention to these details are missing in the original design. Proper location of the work platform to allow mounting cleaners in a preferred location and pro- viding for ergonomic maintenance will greatly improve the chances that the cleaner will be inspected frequently. Maintenance Even the best designed and most efficient of mechanical belt cleaning systems require periodic maintenance and/ or adjustment, or performance will deteriorate over time. Proper tensioning of belt-cleaning systems minimizes wear on the belt and cleaner blades, helping to prevent damage and ensure efficient cleaning action. Belt cleaners must be engineered for durability and simple maintenance, and conveyors should be designed to enable easy service, including required clearances for access. Service chores that are straightforward and "worker-friendly" are more likely to be performed on a consistent basis. Elements that can be incorporated into a conveyor belt clean- ing system to improve maintenance procedures include: • Adequate service access with ample clearances, as recom- mended by CEMA. •  Access windows with easy-to-operate doors installed on both sides of the pulley, in line with the axis of the belt cleaners. •  Cleaning elements that slide out for service, without requiring mainframe removal. •  Components including blades and mainframe that resist corrosion and abuse. •  Components that allow quick performance of required adjustment and service with simple hand tools. • Automated load sensing and blade tensioning. In one survey of factory maintenance technicians, respon- dents estimated that only about 20 percent of all conveyors have the proper cleaning systems and of those, just 20-25 percent are well maintained! The problem is that most in-house inspections never happen, and when they do occur, they tend to be casual reviews by people who are not highly trained in what to look for or how to maintain the cleaners. Most managers will feel this is a simple task, which should be done in-house; the truth is that cleaner maintenance is rarely a priority, reinforcing the ben- efits of automated tensioning. Some equipment manufacturers offer factory-direct service from professionals who are aware of the hazards, have the appropriate tools and are trained in safe and proper service, while reducing the workload on customer personnel and improving cleaning performance. The use of factory-trained and certified specialty contractors can also help ensure that belt cleaner maintenance is done properly, and on an appropriate schedule. Further, experi- enced service technicians often notice other developing system or component problems that can be avoided if they are addressed before a catastrophic failure occurs, helping conveyor operators avoid potential equipment damaging and expensive unplanned downtime. By setting the cleaning goal necessary for each individual operation and purchasing a system adequate for those con- ditions as laid out in CEMA standards, it's possible to achieve carryback control and yet obtain long life from belt cleaners. The bottom line is that properly-installed and adjusted belt cleaners help minimize carryback and spillage, reducing risk and overall operating costs. Alan Highton is national sales manager and Todd Swinderman, is the retired president and CEO, of Martin Engineering. Figure 6: Sensors are used to back the blade away during stoppages or when running empty. Figure 7: Ease of service should be a key element in any belt cleaner tensioning system.

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