Baking & Snack - July 2020 - 59

EQUIPMENT
Conveying

High-speed operations need to tunnel their vision toward those
everyday details that could knock their systems off schedule.
by Dan Malovany

W

With tens of thousands of buns racing along at breakneck speeds, a slight uncoupling, a worn-out drive or
a malfunctioning motor on a conveyor will derail a
smooth, high-volume operation. In the midst of peak
summer barbecue season, overlooked belt-tracking issues that create unnecessary vibrations can quickly
ratchet up waste and drive down efficiencies, especially
as bakers push production to the limits to meet seasonal
demands for their products.
"You need to look and listen to the system to make
sure it is running right," observed Jonathan Lasecki,
director of engineering, Ashworth Bros. "Is it running
right? Is it hitting something, or do you hear sounds
that are not normal? When you start your car in the
morning and you hear it grinding, you do not ignore it.
Something is wrong. Let us fix it before something gets
worse. You can touch the framework and feel vibrations
that weren't there on the previous day or during the previous examination of the system."
A trainload of factors can hinder on-time performance and potentially compromise quality control when
it comes to conveying. However, sometimes the solution
could be harsher than the problem in the long run.
"Leaving a sidetracked belt running without fixing the tracking results in belt crumble and possible
product contamination as bacteria can easily build up
on the damaged belt," noted Bobby Martin, executive
product manager, AMF Bakery Systems. "Maintaining

proper tracking requires constant resources and
sometimes leads to adding tension to belts and consequently damaging them or adding too much load on
the bearings."
Preventive maintenance can be challenging, but
Adam Erickson, project manager, Axis Automation,
suggested that a simple visual check of the belt position
usually will suffice for identifying tracking issues.
"This can and should be done while the belt is running," he pointed out. "While the machine is off, it is also
a good idea to check the belt itself. If there is uneven
wear across the underside of the belt, there is an issue
that needs to be addressed. Tracking issues do not fix
themselves or go away on their own."
For some conveyors, a weekly inspection will do,
suggested Billy Rinks, national sales account manager, North America, for Stewart Systems, a Middleby
Bakery company.
"For others, the belting may need to be undone to
see what is going on with the wear strip," he said. "Also,
some conveyors wear faster than others, so those need
to be identified for more frequent inspections. Some examples would be conveyors with curves, accumulation
conveyors or friction-topped, incline conveyors."
Depending on the bakery, the issues differ in various
parts of the operation. In mixing, for instance, fewer
belts mean minimal concerns.
"When you go to processing, belts can be placed un-

Conveyors come with
many devices to ensure
proper belt containment,
especially during
extended product runs.
CBF Bakery Systems

www.bakingbusiness.com / July 2020 Baking & Snack 59


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Baking & Snack - July 2020

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