Your conveyor system is the beating heart of your business, but it often gets overlooked when it comes to maintenance, until it’s too late. When disaster strikes, a broken-down conveyor belt can mean hours or even days of expensive downtime.
The best way to avoid this destroyer of profits is to think ahead. You need a well-trained maintenance team and a well-stocked spare parts inventory.
Your maintenance team
You should aim to have at least one maintenance person on duty per shift; more if you have a particularly large system or several belts. Before a system is installed, there should be one lead tech who is trained and designated as the expert in it. This tech needs to undergo factory training before the system is installed and starts working; if possible, he or she should watch the installation – Companies like Manchester’s Renold.com facilitates this – and learn as much as possible from the manufacturer team.
Your scheduled maintenance
Scheduled maintenance is one of the most important things you can do to keep your conveyor system running smoothly. This maintenance usually includes the inspection of components and the application of any lubrication that’s needed. Regularly inspecting parts can help technicians to spot wear and tear, as well as any other problems that can be addressed before they affect the performance of the belt or even lead to a breakdown.
The old proverb; “A stitch in time saves nine,” is certainly true here. If a worn, but still just-about-functioning part is swapped out during a routine maintenance check, then it’s far better than it failing and causing production to halt for hours. Keeping a regular schedule is the first line of defence against downtime so it should never be skipped.
Your spare parts inventory
The second line of defence against downtime is to compile a good onsite inventory of replacement parts. At some point, all parts will fail or no longer operate in a functional capacity, affecting productivity. If you have the replacement parts onsite and on-hand, even if the worst happens and there’s a sudden breakdown (which is already unlikely due to your diligent maintenance schedule, right?), you can be back in operation – and business – in a matter of hours or even minutes.
It’ll cost you…
It’s true that compiling and maintaining an inventory is expensive – it can end up costing as much as 10% of the initial spend on the system and the installation itself. However, if you have those complex or out-of-production parts all ready to go, this is still cheaper than days of downtime while you wait for them to be dispatched or, even worse, buying an entirely new conveyor system.
Every business has its targets and performance levels it wants to meet and, hopefully, exceed. By having a clear plan and sensible protocols in place when it comes to the all-important conveyor system, production facilities will end up with much less downtime and be able to react efficiently when breakdowns do occur.