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How Condition Monitoring Can Benefit Conveyor Motors


Conveyors play essential roles in the modern facility. In a sorting application, for example, one or more actuators divert product from the primary conveyor to the take away conveyors. This can be used to set up products for multi-packs, case parking, and palletizing. Some systems have a throughput of up to 100 cases per minute. If the conveyor fails, the sorting point becomes a major chokepoint, making it impossible to get finished product shipped from the factory.

Conveyors used to move bulk grain present a different sort of risk. The material generates dust and chaff that builds up on the equipment. These deposits can be a particular problem around bearings and motor shafts, increasing friction and heat and causing them to fail prematurely. Worse, extreme heat can ignite the material, causing fires. Fortunately, dust and chaff deposits induced changes in the vibration signature of the equipment long before catastrophic issues arise. This makes them good candidates for vibration analysis.

Most conveyor motors are easy to access. That would appear to make them good candidates for route-based monitoring. The problem is that the manual approach only reveals condition at the time of the readingand no guarantee that they won’t fail immediately after. The solution is continuous online monitoring but with most conveyor motors under 50HP, it is difficult to justify traditional local server-based systems. Thankfully, the new generation of affordable online condition monitoring systems make it economically viable to maintain a close watch on the equipment, detecting issues and preempting downtime.