Unplanned conveyor system downtime is one of the biggest problems in manufacturing, with the potential to affect everything from levels of power consumption and waste management to labour productivity and customer satisfaction.
When we speak with our sawmill customers, for example, it's not uncommon for them to tell us that unplanned halts in their production are costing them anything from £50 to £100 per minute. In some cases, they say, it can be even more, depending on which of their lines has been affected.
So have you ever calculated just exactly how much your machine downtime is costing you?
And what steps could you be taking to increase the efficiency of your conveyor system?
1. Consider environmental conditions
The environmental conditions in which the conveyor is being required to operate can make a huge difference to the frequency and the duration of unplanned downtime.
The more arduous the environment, the higher the risk of there being problems with rust or corrosion. If corrosion is an issue for your conveyor system, for example, then replacing your existing chain with zinc-plated or stainless steel conveyor chains could be the key to keeping things running smoothly, whatever the environmental challenges.
2. Look for ways to increase tensile strength
If your conveyor system is subject to frequent shock loads then the use of welded pins and bushes can massively prolong the chain life by increasing the tensile strength of your conveyor chain by at least 30%.
Welded pins and bushes can also help to improve the wear resistance of your conveyor chain without any need to increase the chain size. FV250A160 for example, can easily be replaced by FV180A160, which takes up far less space and is 40% lighter.
Conveyor chain that has been produced using automatic welding machines can also ensure that the welding process and the welding temperature have been rigorously controlled and that the heat affected zone has been kept to a minimum.
3. Take the weight off your conveyor
The choice of scrapers on your conveyor system can make a big difference to the frequency and severity of unplanned downtime. Something as simple as replacing the standard scrapers on your conveyor with engineered multi-laminate scrapers can prevent unnecessary damage to your conveyor chain, and provide huge savings both in terms of the time and cost needed to replace them.
Anything that you can do to reduce the weight of the conveyor will also offer the added benefit of reducing the power that's needed to drive it. The less weight the chain has to pull, the less time it will take and the more efficient the whole process will be.
4. Customise for each application
What's also important is to decide which application is best for your needs. The simple fact is, not every chain conveyor application is the same. Each will have its own requirements depending on the type of product and the volume at which that product is being conveyed.
5. Choose the best materials
Here at FB Chain, we're constantly looking for ways to improve the efficiency of our customers' conveyor systems.
That process starts by making sure that we're consistently supplying industrial chains solutions that have been constructed from the highest quality materials and using the best manufacturing methods.
If you're keen to learn more about how FB Chain can help you to reduce unplanned downtime of your conveyor system then please do get in touch with a member of our team.