The art of listening and improvement
Do conveyor systems meet the required standards and can processes even be improved? During an audit, Flexco‘s specially trained staff not only inspect the conveyors and verify conformity, but also identify possible areas of improvement. They trace the four main causes of possible problems along the length of the conveyor system – material carry back, belt misalignment, material loss and belt slip – and recommend technical solutions for rectifying them, even in the case of components from other suppliers. In this way, the user can increase his system productivity.
“Audit” is a made-up word and describes a process in which a listener – the auditor – devotes himself to what other people are saying. From this, he draws his conclusions. In doing so, he not only listens but also sees, and most important of all he gains a perception. “Our audit gives users real added value,” explains Dieter Maurer, Area Sales Manager at Flexco. “First of all we establish whether the company has been able to achieve the cleaning performances it has set itself with its system.” Together with the user, the specialists identify the main causes of possible problems, document them, and recommend technical solutions for rectifying faults and even improving the results.
The four main causes
“We first look for material carry back,” explains Dieter Maurer. To do this, he and his team monitor the belt and plough scrapers in detail. These clean the belt and therefore increase system productivity. The next item is belt misalignment, which can lead to uneven belt wear and damage to the system. Does the belt wander to just one side or does it wander from one side to the other? Does misalignment occur continuously or only from time to time? Is the belt worn in a wave pattern and does it have low, medium or high tension? The user can incur significant costs due to loss of material at the transfer and transition points as well as along the route of the belt. To avoid this, skirting systems must be checked. The fourth cause is belt slip. There is friction between drum and belt which transmits the force. If wear is present on the running side of the conveyor belt and on the drive drum, this can give rise to slip. Material sticking to the belt can significantly affect the ageing of the components. In this case, suitable drum lagging, rubber or ceramic with different options, which ensure optimum transmission of force with long service life, are required.
More than disposal and recycling
One business benefiting from the Flexco audit is KORN Recycling GmbH. The company, based in Albstadt on the Schwäbische Alb, uses various conveyors and runs one of the world‘s most modern industrial waste sorting and surrogate fuel preparation plants. “When we investigated, we found that nearly all the conveyors were in immaculate condition”, reports Flexco expert Dieter Maurer. His team was actively and professionally supported by Plant Manager Dietmar Joost, and Christian Seeling, Workshop Electrician at KORN Recycling. “The splices we monitored, whether vulcanised or mechanical, were also in good condition”, says Dieter Maurer. The conveyor belts were stationary during the inspection of the plant. The auditors were therefore unable to come to any clear conclusions regarding the belt misalignment. “However, we couldn’t find any damage to the structure or to the belt which would lead to possible belt misalignment”, explains Maurer.
On one sliding belt conveyor, the mechanical fasteners were in good condition but the rubber covering had become detached. Here, the Flexco expert recommended that the rubber covering of the fasteners be replaced when the opportunity arose. Pre and secondary scrapers were not present. In order to optimise the cleaning results, the Flexco team suggested fitting a modified pre cleaner – a special design with polyurethane blade. Slight material residues could also be seen on the belt of one troughed belt conveyor. The vulcanised splices were in good condition and no belt misalignment could be detected. Head and secondary scrapers were fitted. In order to improve the results, the auditors recommended the user to fit a scraper with C-blades for example. This would enable material residues on the belt to be effectively reduced. “We increasingly rely on the use of various Flexco products“, says Alexander Korn, Managing Director of KORN Recycling GmbH. “We have high expectations of ourselves and are also innovative. For this reason, we always trust in the latest and most up-to-date technology in the whole of our company.”
Companies that use #conveyor belt systems can significantly reduce costs and improve the sustainability of their business at little expense with the Flexco audit. “We can demonstrate to users in black and white the type and scope of efficiency improvements,” promises Flexco expert Dieter Maurer.
About the Company
Flexible Steel Lacing Company (FLEXCO), headquartered in Downers Grove, Illinois in the USA, is the leading international specialist for mechanical conveyor belt fastener systems, belt cleaners, belt positioners, impact beds and pulley lagging for light- and heavy-duty applications. With the company’s innovative solutions, endusers can substantially reduce downtime and increase productivity. FLEXCO Europe GmbH is the German subsidiary of FLEXCO, and is headquartered in Rosenfeld, where the company currently has 60 employees.