By the Numbers
Conveying equipment can’t just keep getting faster – it has to get
smarter as well. Learn how market conditions, design elements, and
maintenance issues work together to create positive trends in the
By Anna Wells
Investments in critical equipment have been slowly creeping up in
and conveying systems have
certainly been no exception.
The reason behind this may
be, simply, that conveyor
systems play a critical role in
both uptime and efficiency.
According to the latest fig-
ures from CEMA, new orders
for conveyor equipment in
2012 were $1.31 billion more
than 2011, representing an
increase of 14 percent.
According to Ross, overall
North American shipments
were influenced by a sud-
Lubrication is one of the most important elements of a solid conveyor maintenance program. IMPO sat down with Tom Dibble,
Plant Manager for Mighty Lube Systematic Lubrication, Inc., to discuss some common questions surrounding this critical area.
Q: How much lubricant should be used on a conveyor system, and how
often should it be reapplied?
A: A number of factors determine how much lubricant and how often lubricant should be applied to a conveyor. These factors include type and size
of the conveyor, load, type of lubricant, and environmental conditions. For
example, a powder coating operation would likely have a conveyor running
through a wash system and one or more ovens. The water and chemicals
from the wash system, along with the heat from the oven, would remove the
lubricant, sometimes requiring continual or daily lubrication. In contrast,
a conveyor transferring parts through ambient temperatures would require
comparatively infrequent lubrication, such as once per week.
The most effective method of conveyor lubrication is to initially set the
amount and frequency of lubrication on the above factors and then adjust
as needed. The goal is to prevent premature wear and downtime by maintaining lubrication at wear points without producing lubrication droplets on
the bottom of the lube point.
Q: What types of new product developments in lubrication are addressing key
A: Effective plant maintenance involves managing maintenance costs and
working to eliminate downtime, and lubrication systems can play a key role
by automatically lubricating wear points. Today’s lubricator controllers allow
users to create a lubrication program that matches the unique conditions
within their facility, which can save labor and reduce lubricant consumption.
Another new product is conveyor monitoring systems. These systems
are available in a variety of configurations, and Mighty Lube manufactures
one that monitors chain link wear, lubrication cycles, drive amps, air take
up pressures, and more. Because this information is available in real-time
through a networked computer, authorized users can quickly identify poten-
tial maintenance issues before they become costly downtime. Mighty Lube
and OPCO Lubrication Systems also manufacture monitoring systems to
monitor chain link wear for a single line, and this can be a cost-effective
option for plants with a small number of conveyors.