Create a Conveyor Maintenance Checklist
Daily, weekly, monthly & quarterly scheduled maintenance efforts to perform
The following is a guest post by Boyce Bonham, Chief Engineer at Hytrol.
Staying on top of your conveyor maintenance is an integral part to the success of your operation. When left untended, equipment can become inefficient, unreliable, and a potential safety hazard. To alleviate the problems that come with poorly maintained equipment, it’s important to create and follow a standardized maintenance checklist for each of the conveyor types in your operation, from gravity conveyors to powered conveyors.
Conveyor Maintenance Overview
First, only have qualified personnel to perform maintenance on your equipment. These maintenance employees will need to adhere to proper lock-out tag-out procedures to keep everyone around the equipment safe. (Note: Cisco-Eagle offers extensive conveyor maintenance services).
In addition, operators should be trained on who to call should they recognize anything out of the ordinary occurring with the conveyor operation or if the conveyor needs to be cleaned from any debris that may need to be removed. It is important to know that cleaning a conveyor is a maintenance function requiring a proper lock-out tag-out procedure.
The following checklists can be specified for each type of equipment at your facility:
Daily Safety Check
Often, the first people to notice a problem with a conveyor are the people who use that equipment every day. These operators should be performing visual and audible inspections each day to check for any wear or unusual sounds coming from the conveyor. These are the first signs that the maintenance employee needs to be notified of. In a daily routine walkaround, employees should do the following:
- Look for any unusual small piles of buildup indicating wear
- Note dirty areas that need to be cleaned of debris or spillage
- Confirm that belts are tracking properly
- Listen for any signs of problems indicated by squeaking, grinding, or other unusual noises
- Confirm all safety guards and safety devices are in place and appear to be functioning properly
Properly trained maintenance employees should visually check all photo eyes to make sure they are properly aligned and sensing products as intended in order to perform their function. Motors may be checked for temperature and noise. Hardware around the drive should be visually checked for proper torque.
Your monthly checklist should include checking the condition of your guardrails, belts, rollers, and any other similar components that may cause the conveyor to malfunction. As previously stated, it’s important to use your eyes and ears to determine what may need maintenance when you take the time to go through your monthly checklist items.
- Check guardrails for alignment and overall functionality
- Check the condition of belts, including that of belt lacing
- Check that all rollers are turning properly
Each quarter, your maintenance team should perform checks on equipment that may be more difficult to accomplish when the conveyor is in full operation. Again, make sure that you use your formalized lock-out tag-out procedures when performing any of these maintenance tasks.
- Check oil level in reducers if required by the manufacturer
- Check drive chain tension and adjust if necessary
- Check drive sprocket alignment and sprocket set screw torque
- Check mounting bolts and set screws on bearings
Every system is unique in functionality, environment and hours of operation. As you get to know your specific conveyor system, you may add any items or adjust the frequency of checks in your particular maintenance schedule. Remember, taking the time for maintenance now actually saves you downtime later on. To keep your equipment functioning properly, always contact your integration partner for the best, most up-to-date information on maintaining your material handling equipment.
Boyce Bonham is the Chief Engineer at Hytrol, where he has over 30 years of service.
Scott Stone is Cisco-Eagle's Vice President of Marketing with more than thirty years of experience in material handling, warehousing and industrial operations. His work is published in multiple industry journals an websites on a variety of warehousing topics. He writes about automation, warehousing, safety, manufacturing and other areas of concern for industrial operations and those who operate them.