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PRAB Q&A – Conveyor Considerations

Jason Luzader

 

As an Engineering Manager for PRAB, Jason Luzader has experience regarding heavy-duty conveyors. In this latest blog post, he answers a few questions that organizations should consider when searching for a new conveyor system.

 

Q) What are some common factors organizations don’t consider when installing a conveyor?
A) A key factor I see customers overlook when installing a conveyor is the final acceptance process. Final acceptance always takes a bit longer than one might expect just to make sure everything is running the way you want it before the onsite technician leaves. Regarding the replacement of existing equipment, there is often other equipment in the vicinity that was installed after the equipment in question that can cause complications.

 

Q) What are some common conveyor design pitfalls that customers may not consider?
A) When designing a conveyor, it is important to consider how the scrap will enter the system and the drop height onto the belt. Dropping scrap from considerable heights can damage the belt itself and necessitate repairs or replacements much sooner than expected. It can also cause the scrap to bounce on the belt and, unless proper precautions are taken, the scrap can then work its way inside the belt and damage the internal mechanics. Implementing impact plates, load shoes, and a load bar prevents the conveyor belt from being damaged or warped by these material drops.

Jams are another pitfall customers must be aware of as they can be difficult to locate, especially when they are internal. Installing sheet steel that protects the wings and prevents scrap from entering the inside of the belt is one way to avoid this issue. It must be noted that this solution could potentially create more jam locations on the top side of the belt. A full understanding of the scrap size and how it is introduced onto the conveyor is critical in eliminating or reducing jams.

The best overall solution is to reduce the drop height onto the belt and try to keep the scrap entering the conveyor along the center of the belt as much as possible. The reduced height will lessen the impact on the belt. Centering payloads will keep materials away from the wings and lessen the possibility of scrap entering the inside of the frame.

 

Q) What additional features are offered to improve conveyor functions?
A) Additional features for conveyors are items that will make the equipment more serviceable. Removable guarding, access panels in key areas that may be susceptible to jams, lubrication systems to prolong life of certain wear items, etc.

 

Q) How does automation relate to a conveyance system?
A) If conveyors are integrated into another system, and specifically an automated one, then the controls become the star of the show. The program needs to be written to be able to handle all outcomes that the automated system is capable of. All operators need to understand how the conveyor system will interact with the automated system as well the details regarding start up and shut down procedures.

 

Q) What are some of the specific considerations that need to be made for different types of materials and payloads?
A) There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration:

  • The weight of scrap if conveying large individual scrap pieces.
  • The abrasiveness of the scrap, which could lead to certain wear surfaces having a decreased life span if not taken care of in the design stage.
  • The volume of material being transferred, as it could spill over the conveyor and onto the floor if surge loading occurs.
  • Surge loading should be avoided, and the best way to do this is by interlocking the conveyor into the equipment that is feeding it.

 

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