We perform our daily rituals of brushing our teeth, showering, driving to and from work, cooking, etc with no thought at all, let alone thoughts of improving them. Things are going smoothly, why fix it if it ain’t broke, right? Repetitive tasks done continuously bring a certain contentment, no need to break out of the routine. Success, however comes with breaking out of the routine and tweaking and diligent practice of our art, whatever that art may be. Being competitive and winning never results from maintaining the contented, stay in the rut status quo. People who carefully stay where they are will be left far behind those that are in constant search of a better way to do things. Taking this into the world of industry, specifically conveyor systems, will illustrate the point nicely.
Conveyors have been around for ages and are rightfully considered industrial marvels. To get the most from your conveyor system, you must be ready and able to put in the time and physical and intellectual energy required to understand it and know it well. Conveyors are just machines that will work on auto pilot, but they may not know that they are operating in an ever changing and stressful environment that can bring disastrous rather than productive results. For those with a competitive spirit, there are some disciplines to follow that will build a more viable and stronger platform. If your goal is to optimize your conveyor systems productivity and operations, then the following bits of advice are for you. Some steps in this will be easier than others and the tips we will focus on first fall into the easier domain We will build up to the more difficult steps from there.
One of the first characteristics conveyor managers should be reviewing is the details of the items being moved. A deep understanding of conveyor loads is a very powerful but simpler way to enhance performance. Considerations such as load form, shape, dimension, density, flow rate and position all play a vital role in the success of product movement. By knowing everything about what is traveling on your system, the ability to design and control operation becomes much more robust and efficient. Another easier method of improvement revolves around maintenance and knowing how to fix common issues.
Conveyors do run into glitches, because they are after all, large moving pieces of machinery. Some of these glitches can be avoided by following general trouble shooting guidelines. Little burps like random shutdowns, package backup and frozen belts may all be resolved without calling in the experts and expensive technicians. An informed problem analysis and diagnosis is a major advantage to a smooth operation in any set up because it allows for repairs to be made before there is any breach of production levels.
Lastly, diligent maintenance is key when it comes to enhancing optimization. Stay on top of all conveyor related items and focus intently on preventive maintenance. Both will be sure to offer a more fluid environment. Now we will progress into the more difficult tasks at hand.
Conveyors utilize a high degree of energy. Although they are energy saving devices built to streamline movement tasks, there is still a large amount of room to grow in regards to energy consumption. Proper motor selection, lubrication, downtime, drive reduction and gravity leveraging are all ways to capture energy efficiencies. Energy reduction is at times a difficult endeavor but devoting resources to efficiency can translate into huge savings and better facilities. Ergonomics is another more intensive angle to take when trying to optimize production. Optimal vertical and horizontal integration combined with appropriately designed employee workstations can mean a happier and healthier workplace.
Attention to conveyor workstation architecture can play a major role in improving the system. The height of a work surface and station reach arrangements are areas in ergonomics that if properly configured can add much to productivity. Conveyor performance testing is mandatory for quality improvement. Routine inspection and testing should be administered to function checking, load analysis and error recovery tests. The administration of tests to discover the systems strengths and weaknesses will bring to light opportunities for enhancement. No matter how you go about it, optimization and productivity must be a constant regimen and ongoing process for any firm desirous of optimizing their conveyor machinery.
Conveyors must have countless numbers of parts moving in harmony with no disruption. Topics like safety and upgrading along with all those mentioned above, must be embraced to get the utmost from your system. Development can be easy sometimes and difficult if not impossible at others, but one thing is sure and that is its importance. Development must never be an afterthought. Conveyors do require intense planning and utter attention to detail. If you are serious about optimization and production, you won’t be taking any short cuts.