Do things right the first time. We’ve all heard it, whether from a parent, a coach, a teacher, or a boss. And when it comes to installing a material handling solution, failing to install conveyor right the first time can cost your company serious money down the line.
A material handling installer can make or break your project. Finding a qualified installation provider is one of the most important and most overlooked steps we see in the field today, and with an investment as large as a material handling solution, it’s one that you can’t afford to understate the importance of.
Why is installation so important? It sets the level at which your material handling system will operate. What seems like a slight issue in setup now could cost you thousands of dollars down the line, but a qualified installation provider can make sure you never see the kinds of costs that come from misaligned equipment or a hastily finished job.
At Hytrol, we are experts at material handling, and we’re also experts at spotting those issues stemming from poor installers. To help you find a quality provider, here are the questions we would ask.
How do you make sure a conveyor is installed straight?
Conveyors must be installed straight in order to function properly. If a belt conveyor or belt driven live roller conveyor is not straight, the belt will not track properly. This will cause excessive belt damage and possible downtime while your team tries to troubleshoot. It is always best to install the conveyor straight rather than trying to straighten it after it is fully installed. A few methods that work well to install the conveyor straight are to use a string pulled to the center of the conveyor line or to use a laser to establish the straight line to be installed into.
How do you square conveyor?
Mistracking is a huge issue in the material handling industry. Mistracking can refer to the belt mistracking or the product mistracking on the conveyor. Either of these can be caused by a conveyor that is not square.
- A mistracked belt (Fig. 1) can cause serious damage to the belt, greatly increased maintenance costs, downtime, and a lot of frustration.
- Mistracked product causes the products to move to one side of the conveyor and rub the guardrail as they travel along the conveyor.
Both of these issues can be a result of the conveyor not being installed squarely (Fig. 2). Measuring diagonals of each section (Fig. 3), or using a carpenter square from the frame to the roller are both acceptable methods of squaring. Squaring must be done as the sections are installed and not after the entire conveyer is erected.
Have you installed a system like this before?
Experience with the solution being provided to you is crucial. Simply put, if a company has never installed anything like the solution you’ll be using, they shouldn’t be installing it at all. Check references to make sure the installation projects they’ve completed months or years ago didn’t come back with major issues.
When do you consider a job completed?
The installer’s job isn’t complete until the system is fully in service, so make sure they aren’t planning to walk out the door once the equipment is in place. You want to run your system at full capacity so that you don’t have the costly job of rehiring the installer to do what they should have completed in the first place.
A few well-put questions now can keep your solution from turning into a disaster down the line. What other questions might you ask a provider before agreeing to give them your business?
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About the author: Boyce Bonham is the Director of Integrated Controls at Hytrol, where he has nearly 30 years of service. You may email Boyce at email@example.com.