DAILY AND PERIODIC MAINTENANCE FOR CONVEYORS AND PARTS
Mining conveyors are a marvel of modern engineering. They’re built tough to withstand the rigors of moving thousands of tons of rock, sand, gravel, and aggregate to their final destination. However, like all complex machinery, mining conveyors require ongoing maintenance to help ensure peak performance while reducing downtime as much as possible.
Maintenance for mining conveyors falls into two main categories:
Preventative Maintenance—encompasses planned service, maintenance, and rebuilds before a failure occurs.
Predictive Maintenance—consists of planned inspections that you should perform to determine the overall health of individual system components. Carry out repairs when the inspection indicates an imminent failure.
We put together this guide to help you understand how and when to perform preventative and predictive maintenance.
THREE MAIN CONVEYOR ISSUES TO MONITOR
As you make your way through this guide, keep in mind that there are three main conveyor issues that regular maintenance can help prevent:
Belt Mistracking—Occurs when a mining conveyor belt pulls to one side and goes off the track. This is a serious problem that can damage other components, create belt damage, and enable material spillage.
Belt Slippage—Mining conveyor belts require precise tension. Too much or too little, and the conveyor belt will slip off of the pulleys. Belt slippage can lead to a damaged belt or motor. Tension your belts according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
Material Carry-Back—A common issue where the material does not discharge from the belt but rather gets “carried back” on the return. Material carry-back can cause significant damage to other conveyor components.
Read more about conveyor belt maintenance.
Check the entire conveyor system by performing daily visual inspections for:
- Lodged or stuck components
- Faulty electrical systems
- Conveyor structural damage due to accidents or weather phenomena
- Belt wear, nicks, or cuts
- Unusual noises or sounds
- Foreign objects (bolts and nuts that have fallen onto the belt)
Depending on your setup, length of run, and material conveyed, you could benefit from a remote monitoring system that can help proactively detect component failures and belt tracking issues.
When performing your inspection, be sure to ask nearby workers if they’ve noticed anything amiss during their shift. Once you’re satisfied everything is in good visual working order, perform the following:
- Grease the roller bearings to prevent roller lockup.
- Perform scraper maintenance by cleaning, inspecting for damage, and adding tension to the blade to ensure even blade wear and longer performance
- Remove any dirt or foreign debris (before you clean, ensure that the conveyor is properly tagged and locked out for safety reasons).
Weekly and monthly maintenance tasks should focus on preventing the three most common mining conveyor issues:
- Belt Mistracking—Extreme environmental or operating conditions can cause your idlers and rollers to become misaligned, dirty, locked, or frozen. Keep an eye out for material overload on the conveyor belt, worn vulcanized or crooked belt splices, and faulty chute structure skirting. Damaged or broken idlers can quickly wear down a conveyor belt. Inspect weekly and monthly and then perform cleaning as needed.
- Belt Slippage—Look for worn lagging on the head drive pulley and check to ensure it’s properly installed. Keep in mind that reduced lagging pulley grip greatly increases the chances of belt slippage. Replace any broken components or pulleys immediately.
- Material Carry-Back—Check for improperly installed or poor-quality scrapers. Also, check to ensure that the scraper size and type are within specification. Look for and clean up any dust. Consider investing in a dust containment system as it will minimize dust accumulation at transfer points.
As-needed maintenance should focus on replacing worn or damaged equipment as quickly as possible. The most common as-needed maintenance areas include:
- Idlers and Rollers—Inspect the idlers are rollers and replace them on an as-needed basis.
- Belt Repairs—Immediately perform belt repairs according to the specifications set out by the manufacturer. Do not use mechanical fasteners to close tears as they are not a long-term solution.
- Lagging—Unless your lagging is made out of ceramic, replace them anywhere from 3-5 years.
- Scrapers—Replace worn-out or malfunctioning scrapers as needed. Consider using high-performance replacement scrapers as they tend to last longer than the standard ones.
- Dust containment system—Replace, repair, or clean your dust containment system on your weekly inspections.
- Power Module/Gearbox—After the initial break-in period, perform oil changes at every 2,500 hours of service. At each oil change, drain the reducer and flush with kerosene, clean the magnetic drain plug, and refill to the proper level with recommended lubricant.
- Bearings and Motor Replacement—Keep track of hours of operation and replace as per the manufacturer’s recommendations.
MAINTAIN YOUR CONVEYOR TO INCREASE ITS LIFESPAN
The above guide will allow you to perform general maintenance on your mining conveyor. Keep in mind that the material that your conveyor carries can affect the recommended maintenance schedule.
For example, if you’re moving highly corrosive material, you should focus your inspection and maintenance on areas prone to damage from corrosion. If dust is a big issue, consider focusing a portion of your maintenance on the component material, type of coating, type of bearings, and seals to preserve the component life.
To learn more about the previously mentioned top three conveyor issues, click the link below.