Feed conveyors are frequently an afterthought, but there are important factors to consider to ensure productivity isn’t compromised, cautions Mark Smith of Middleton Engineering.
You’ve chosen the right baler for your packaging waste, thought about your tying options, and negotiated a great price. Job done? Not necessarily. If you haven’t considered the right feed conveyor you might be jeopardising your productivity and wasting some of your investment.
A shiny new baler won’t deliver uniform, densely compacted, consistent bales to keep your stores or warehouse clear unless the feed conveyor is up to it. As well as being robust enough and designed to deliver a smooth and consistent flow of material to feed the baling process, reliability is also important. The last thing you want is constant shut downs.
Planning from the outset is crucial. Your assessment should cover the type and range of materials, the weight and volume you expect to handle, the available working space and electrical supply. All these will affect the design and type of conveyor used. A reputable firm should be able to provide expert advice and an essential site visit.
Your options could include slider-bed, steel slat or rubber belt, chain driven, inclined, swan neck, fully enclosed, or in floor designs. It might need to be curved or straight, automatic, computer or operator controlled, fully integrated or stand-alone. Achieving a continuous and even flow of material will also depend on factors like belt width, motor sizes – powerful enough to handle the weight of the material to be conveyed – and control systems used.
The temptation is to fit a cheap standard option, but it’s unlikely to deliver the overall performance you expect and more likely to result in frustration and downtime. Bespoke solutions designed and tuned for your specific environment are always superior, and guarantee to be better value and safer.
While the right conveyor gives the highest bale quality and an efficient production environment, haphazard intermittent filling, using a grab bucket or manual method, will cause jams and downtime.
Safe access to clean and clear debris and for inspection and maintenance is important to clear jams quickly and easily. Other design options might cover dust control, incline angle, loading pit requirements, chain oilers to prolong life, safety guards and emergency stop systems.
The humble conveyor is more complex than you think. Choosing the right partner to guide you through your choice can make all the difference.
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