Every minute that conveyor belts are not running is money lost. For some, an entire day of inactivity can equal hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars.
The big question is this: why do some plants struggle to turn downtime into uptime? In my years as industry manager, I think it comes down to education. I don’t mean plants don’t know what they are doing. In fact, it’s the contrary; they are some of the most adaptive thinkers I know. Instead, I think many just aren’t aware of the solutions that are available to them.
My biggest piece of advice is to create a catalog of preventive maintenance tools for conveyor belts in your system so you can take action right away. Doing this acts as an insurance policy that you will actually get use out of.
Here are some of the best offerings for combating downtime on your belt conveying systems.
Most Common Conveyor Downtime Incidents (and their solutions)
Belt downtime is a reality of material conveying facilities. There is simply too much material and too many moving parts for everything to run smoothly at all times of the day. The best way to handle a belt conveyor downtime incident is to be prepared for the next one.
So, what are the most common belt conveyor downtime incidents and what are the most effective ways to solve them?
Conveyor Belt Tear
Depending on the severity of your conveyor belt tear, there are a few options to choose from. Whether you need a simple fix for a small tear or puncture, or a belt replacement is needed, there is something for everyone in the Flexco product catalog.
Small-scale Conveyor Belt Rip Repair Tool
For simple tears and punctures that don’t extend across the width of the belt, I would recommend looking at something like Flexco® Bolt Solid Plate Rip Repair Fasteners.
They are quick to install and incredibly simple to understand, especially for those unfamiliar with the technology. In fact, they are the baseline of repair we teach in our Heavy-Duty Mechanical Fastener Training School.
Learn About Flexco Rip Repair Fasteners
Large-Scale Conveyor Belt Rip Repair
For something more serious, like large tears and punctures, I would recommend the Fix’N Go® Belt Repair System. This new system allows conveyor belt maintenance teams to act quickly and install a quality solution that keeps the belt running.
Arguably the most convenient aspect of the system is that it is placed onto the belt using a drill. Effectively, every maintenance team can get it into place with a tool that is already in their bag. This allows facilities to drastically cut down on installation and downtime.
Additionally, the material make-up of Fix’N Go® easily glides past belt cleaners and other conveyor components, letting repair teams use it as a permanent repair solution.
Belt Conveyor Safety Incident
If a real disaster strikes and medical attention is needed, always call 9-1-1 and follow your plant’s safety procedures. Keeping your workers safe is top of mind and ensuring that they are treated in a timely manner is the number one priority.
Once the dust has settled on an injury, you will need to take every measure you can to address how and why an incident happened. Did debris fall from a high place and land on a worker? Did a worker cut themselves on a belt repair? Depending on the exact injury instance, I believe the strongest course of action would be to consult with a professional.
Our site assessments can be the ideal solution for a conveyor belt safety incident. In them, an expert from the Flexco team can tour your facility to identify why an incident may have occurred and find additional key areas throughout your conveying process that could potentially lead to another safety incident.
Mistracked Conveyor Belt
If you’re on-site and notice a belt is operating inefficiently, whether that be obvious material spillage or it is skewing off-center, then it is safe to say you could be dealing with conveyor belt mistracking. If you don’t know exactly how your belt is skewing, whether that be the belt consistently leaning one way or it is moving back and forth, it might be wise to consult a Flexco expert and schedule a walkthrough.
However, if you can clearly see and diagnose the issue, we have some immediate solutions.
Conveyor Belt Positioner
When a conveyor belt is continuously skewing to one side, then your best solution is to invest in a Belt Positioner™.
By attaching to the return side of the belt, the Belt Positioner utilizes angled rollers to funnel the belt back to its aligned position. The Belt Positioner is one of our most convenient tools, as it can be installed quickly, and makes an immediate impact on creating a safer belt path.
Learn about Flexco belt positioners
Conveyor Belt Trainer
The other side of the coin is a belt that acts almost erratically, moving itself side to side and creating an unsafe, inefficient material conveying process.
Flexco offers many variations of Belt Trainers, but making the right choice is ultimately dependent on two factors: Belt Tension and Belt Width. To make sure you choose the correct one, take a look at our website, or request a walkthrough with a Flexco product expert that will help you make the right choice.
Learn About Flexco Conveyor Belt Trainers
Conveyor Belt Shock Load
The load zone can be the root of a belt conveyor’s success, but it is often an overlooked area. When left unchecked and in less-than-ideal conditions, the load zone can cause spillage, downtime, and further damage to belt conveyor systems.
So, what solutions are available to bolster your conveyor load zone?
Slider and Impact Beds
Offering both sealing and belt support, Slider/Impact Beds are an excellent solution for attacking issues in the conveyor belt load zone.
Our Impact Beds have provided tremendous value for many, especially those working in heavy-duty quarries. They effectively protect the belt from shock loads, excessive wear, and they even help to keep material centered on the belt.
Learn About Flexco Slider and Impact Beds
For creating a better seal on your belt conveyors, I’d recommend looking at our Skirting Systems. Once installed, they prevent excessive material spillage and better control dust.
In turn, skirting systems create a safer work environment, limiting falling material and dust inhalation, while also providing facilities with better long-term throughput.
When slider/impact beds and skirting systems are combined, they become an excellent tool for refining your facility’s load zone.
Learn about Flexco Skirting Systems
Best Ways to Install Conveyor Belt Maintenance Products
Our mission is to be your partner in productivity. Check out some of the best ways to get our conveyor belt maintenance tools into the hands of your facility’s maintenance team by reading below.
Contact a Distributor
The quickest way to get our belt conveyor products for your processes is to order directly from a Flexco distributor. By entering your location and products of interest, we can give you contacts in your area that can efficiently supply you with our tools.
Conveyor System Facility Walkthrough
A site walkthrough from a Flexco product expert can give you immediate answers and extensive insight into what would work best for you. Simply request a site walkthrough with our form and a member of the Flexco team will reach out with further details.
If you’re still not sure which option is best for your belt conveying facility, then I would suggest getting in contact with Flexco’s Customer Service department. Our representatives can be reached by phone, email, or by submitting a question online.
Authored by: Brian David, Industry Manager
In the role of Industry Manager, David develops and maintains subject matter expertise related to key heavy-duty growth industries, applying that expertise to market development and marketing communications programs, including the development tools that highlight product, services, and delivered customer value. David has been with Flexco since 2018, beginning his time as a Territory Sales Manager before becoming Industry Manager in 2021. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech and a Master of Business Administration from Emory University.