When your overhead conveyor system is down, you are losing lots of time and money. So you need to get it repaired ASAP.
The good news is that the overhead conveyor is one of the simplest conveyors. Which means you will be able to diagnose your problem easily. With mechanical experience and our troubleshooting guide, you will have your system up and running soon!
Your system requires extra care if it has an oven, chemical, or paint station. During PMs, we find problems to fix before they result in downtime. Call 404.429.5896 to schedule a PM.
Tripping a Breaker or Burning Fuses?
Does your conveyor try to start but trip a breaker or burn a fuse after a short run time? If so, this means your conveyor is pulling too much power. This is caused by either a jammed drive, jammed conveyor chain, or old conveyor chain.
Conveyor chain tension is the single most common problem for an overhead conveyor.
The tightest and loosest parts of the conveyor chain are before and after the drive respectively. Open the track window to check if there is built up slack after the drive. After lots of conveyor chain “stretch”, links have to be removed and the take-up has to be reset.
After resetting the conveyor chain tension and/or removing links, inspect the drive (or cat) chain. A jam can cause the cat chain teeth to break; inspect and replace if needed.
Helpful Hint: After 1.5 – 2% elongation, it is recommended that the conveyor chain is replaced. The cat chain must always be replaced at the same time at the conveyor chain so the timing between the teeth and chain is in sync.
A seized drive can also result from problems with the drive sprockets, reducer, motor, or bearings. Each of these parts can be visibly inspected and the motor and reducer can be spun by hand to check for functionality.
Jammed conveyor chain is the least likely cause of a tripped overload. If your system is hundreds or thousands of feet, it will take some time to check each link. The chain’s path through the track can become restricted by a scrap piece of metal, broken chain wheel, or other debris. If your track is on the floor and mounted upside down (the track opening faces up) scrap metal and debris can easily fall in.
Does your conveyor line apply lacquer, paint, or go through a wash station? Check for built-up chemicals that restrict movement inside the track. Also, check for excessive rust from liquids or chemicals.
TIP: Find a jammed link faster with a screwdriver or wrench. With the conveyor turned off, there should be enough slack in the chain to move small sections a few millimeters with a wrench to ensure each link is moving freely.
Once all the bearings in the conveyor chain have worn completely out, friction will be too great for the drive. This may be the case if there are no jammed parts but the system keeps tripping the breaker. If this is the case, have our technicians confirm it before you pay for an expensive new conveyor chain.
Why Doesn’t Your Conveyor Start?
If your system won’t turn on, push the contactor in manually to check if the conveyor runs. If it runs, the problem is with your controls. Check the low voltage control power from the transformer and its fuses. Also, check that all photoeyes are lined up and that no emergency stops are engaged.
90% of the time your system won’t turn on, it’s an e-stop!
Chain Falling Out of the Track
If the chain is falling out of the enclosed track, the usually 1″ opening in the track has become widened enough for the chain to fall through it. This could be caused by natural wear or by improper hanging of wide product.
Over time the metal “ledge” the chain wheels ride on weakens. The ledge can eventually bend allowing chain and dogs to slip out of the enclosed track. You can temporarily replace the sections of track you have problems with. However, all of your track may need to be replaced soon.
Improper wide product hanging: Often the culprit is H-hooks twisting and grinding into the track. When wide product is hung on two (or more) successive H-hooks it causes wear at horizontal curves in the track. For example, as a 4-foot wide heavy metal crate travels around a 3-foot radius curve, the H-hooks twist sideways as they travel through the curve. The H-hook will slowly grind a larger opening into the track. This can be remedied by hanging 12 inches of chain from the H-hooks and then hanging the wide product from the chain instead of directly from the H-hooks. The chain will absorb the twisting motion around the curve allowing the H-hooks to hang straight.
System Life Depends on Lubrication!
Whether Jervis B. Webb, Richards-Wilcox, or Pacline, the lifespan of your conveyor can be greatly shortened or lengthened based on lubrication schedules.
Conveyor chain is the heart of your overhead system. Each metal component is rolling, pushing, or pulling against other metal. So, you must have an automated lubricator to extend the life of your conveyor chain. Two types of lubricators are brush and shot lubricators. Brush lubricators drip oil into a brush. The brush “paints” the oil on as chain passes by. More efficient is the shot lubricator. In this case, compressed air shoots a mist of oil into the conveyor chain bearings.
The type of oil you use in your lubricator is important. Certain manufacturers add tackifiers which adhere to the chain longer than other oils. The rate of lubrication should be based on how large and fast your system is. Your lubricator should be at that sweet spot right before oil starts dripping out of the track. Check the hanging hooks for oil drips for several weeks. If oil is leaking down the hooks, turn the lubricator down a little.
A dry system is required in certain applications. For example, oil could be a fire hazard in high-temperature ovens. The system should also not be lubricated if a product’s integrity would be compromised by oil.