Your conveyor is central to your production facility, so you need to keep it in good repair so it runs smoothly with hardly any interruptions. Interruptions, as you no doubt know, cost money; and this is before you factor in the cost of the call-out fee and the repairs themselves. If you make looking after your belt a priority, you’ll get a few extra years out of it before you need to replace it. This is how you do it.
Treat your technician well
If you have an in-house technician or engineer (and not all companies are lucky enough), then you should treat him (or her) like minor royalty. Most techies are woefully neglected, which is a shame because they can see problems developing way down the line and so their swift intervention can save a lot of downtime. Most importantly, they can prevent sudden breakdowns which can be catastrophic, in terms of lost production, lost orders and lost reputation.
Build up a collection of spare parts
One thing you can predict about any machine is that at some point it will break down, or one of its components will need to be replaced. Even the industrial chains from Renold that many conveyor systems rely on will need to be replaced eventually. If you have components and parts already in stock, you won’t need to wait for delivery, which reduces the amount of downtime and means you get back on your feet (or track!) much faster.
Focus on prevention rather than cure
Don’t just rely on your in-house engineer or your call-out guy to fix things when they break, or you’ll end up fixing them at inconvenient times, like when you’re trying to finish up an order! If you have a set time for your techie to look over the system – Friday afternoon perhaps – then you’ll be sure than potential problems can be nipped in the bud.
Do regular, documented system audits
Regular inspections work wonders, really. It’s easy for the people working next to and on the machine to miss slight changes in smell, speed or sound because they can happen gradually. If you bring someone from outside to check it over from one end to the other, then those slight changes can be picked up before they become big changes.
Watch out for outdated parts
It’s a major expense if you have to replace your entire conveyor system, so try to put this day off for as long as possible by making sure you have as many spare parts as possible. If your system is older, then buy in as many spares as you can, because they may go out of production at some point; if you can’t source a spare, you may be forced into a total replacement.
It’s almost a full-time job in itself, managing a large conveyor belt system, so you should always aim to do repairs and maintenance in between orders or even at weekends. Look out for small failures, like joints or bearings, because if one goes, chances are others will too. Instead of replacing just one bearing because it’s failed, replace the lot so that you don’t have to go through the whole rigmarole again the following week.