Regular, scheduled maintenance is important. Because breakdowns are an expensive pain. Lost time, lost revenue, and lost reputation with your customer is the consequence.
But breakdowns happen. Especially when you’re dealing with meat and seafood. Moving conveyor parts, wet, sticky substances and harsh cleaning chemicals all do their bit to torpedo your smooth-running operation.
Freezing works, in particular, are a harsh and cold environment for any moving parts, and components such as rollers can wear and deteriorate quickly.
That’s why ongoing maintenance is key.
In this post we explain why it’s important to schedule maintenance even when your operation is running like a charm. Here are 11 suggestions on how to stay ahead.
Trouble-free conveyor systems
When you’re tasked with keeping a pack line moving smoothly, you can’t rely on the old saying: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Case in point
One year, just before the harvest season, a client assured us that their labelling machine was ‘all good and ready for action’.
One week into the season we got an urgent call for help. The machine had stopped working completely and production had ground to a halt.
An EQM rep who raced to the packhouse found the machine to be in rough shape.
It hadn’t been cleaned at the end of the previous season, and while out of use for several months dirt and dust had built up inside the machine.
To quote Anthony, ‘We took it back to the workshop and did a full service. That included stripping the machine back, replacing worn parts, and thoroughly cleaning everything.’
We then reassembled and reinstalled the labeller and it ran smoothly for the rest of the season.’ There were no faulty parts – maintenance was all that was required.
Key takeaway? Check and service equipment regularly
That way it will be all set to go when you need it.
End of season maintenance
Your production lines have been working hard. The lull between seasons is the perfect time to give them the attention they deserve. We’ve put together a comprehensive Maintenance Guide for the Meat and Seafood Industry, which you can Download Here
11 suggestions on what to look for during schedule maintenance of conveyor systems in meat and seafood facilities
- Inspect gearboxes for oil leakage or signs of excessive heat or noise. Remove any buildup that might prevent release of heat .
Consider upgrading your geardrives to higher IP ratings to reduce risk of failure in critical washdown locations
We recommend our Performance Line of stainless steel, hygiene washdown Geardrives. Simply the best solution for Meat and Seafood Plants. Need a quote on the best gearbox solution for your application? Click Performance line.
- Assess all bearings and housings – look for excessive greasing, burst or damaged seals, signs of heat and noise. Page 5 of the Guide shows a sample of our product range and Page 6 is a handy Bearing Unit Identification Chart. A golden rule with bearings;– if there’s any doubt replace it.
- Roller components: Inspect all rollers. Replace where necessary. (See our roller order form on Page 10 of the Meat and Seafood Maintenance Guide).
- Roller Endcaps and Bearings Page 8 of the Maintenance Guide.
- Chains and sprockets – Inspect chain condition, stretch, side flexing and often if the sprocket is worn this is a sure sign the chain is stretched, replace if necessary. Check alignment and tension. Tighten set screws. Clean and lubricate. Identifying whether chain is BS or ASA is very important.
- Pulleys and V-Belts: Inspect shafts and keyways. Make sure taperlock bushes are located correctly
- Lineshaft drive and slave bands – These stretch over time and also can become hard if not run for an extended period. If the rollers slip to easily replace them. See page 8
- Lineshaft couplings and Universal joints – check alignment and replace elements if necessary.
- Drive spools – check and replace if necessary.
- Guards and covers: Make sure all guards are in place and with sufficient clearance to allow for chain or belt stretch.
- Frames and supports: Note any bent or damaged frames and supports.
Ongoing maintenance – Proactive versus reactive
Of course maintenance must continue throughout the season.
- Adhere to the Service Manuals and Maintenance Programmes specified for all your equipment.
- Schedule planned maintenance on a regular basis. You might need planned shutdown periods for all or part of your operation.
- Keep an eye out for small improvements that could increase your productivity.
- Deal with small glitches quickly before they grow into monster problems.
That all being said, the wear and tear of moving parts, load, abrasion and temperature can add up to unexpected interruptions. Don’t worry, we’re here for you.
Do it better, make it better, improve it even if it isn’t broken, because if we don’t, we can’t compete with those who do. (Kaizen principle)
Easily find and order the correct parts for effective Production line Management. Download our free Meat and Seafood Maintenance Guide today.