Retrofitting of aftermarket machine parts in industries can be easily achieved in today’s globalised market regardless of the part’s place of origin. Unfortunately, the conveyor industry seems to be lacking in this initiative, which can cause major headaches for maintenance engineers of conveyor components.
Although Australia has manufacturing standards for conveyor rollers, the increase in imported machinery means that it is almost impossible for machinery operators to stick to even local standards. Imported machinery can lead to expensive roller replacement, as rollers are often sold as a ‘machine spare part’ and not just a standard conveyor roller.
Conveyor operators often turn to the local market for sourcing spares such as conveyor rollers to reduce their maintenance costs. However, problems can arise from installing the wrong size roller with incorrect belt tracking resulting in supports getting damaged in an attempt to make the roller fit.
Neil Kinder, Chief Executive Officer of bulk materials handling supplier Kinder & Co points out the problems arising out of incorrect fitting of rollers in conveyors. He explains that modifying the roller supports correctly to accommodate the length of the roller may allow the new roller to be installed and operated properly. But if the same part is not supplied the next time the roller is replaced, it will result in a sloppy or incorrect fit, causing incorrect belt tracking and other potentially major high maintenance problems.
However, correctly specified conveyor rollers will minimise downtime, reduce maintenance labour costs and reduce the often hidden additional costs associated with lost product. Also, he stresses the importance of correctly specifying conveyor rollers by providing the supplier an accurately measured roller length, which will ensure a quick installation instead of a long maintenance shutdown.
Mr Kinder adds that conveyor belt tracking is arguably one of the most common headaches for conveyor maintenance engineers and accurately specifying the correct diameter of a conveyor roller can eliminate one potential cause of this problem.