In this atmosphere of scarcity and uncertainty for the future, it is difficult to justify a brand new machine purchase. Many plants have resolved to get by with the equipment they currently have, even if it may not be the best for the job or in the best shape. Here are some inexpensive ways of ensuring your equipment will last.
1. CONVERT TO VFD SPEED CONTROL
Mixing equipment, like other industrial equipment, has improved over the years. Where mixing equipment used to have only two speeds (who remembers starting the machine and drenching the near vicinity, even at the lowest speed?), now with VFD speed control you can get a speed profile from zero rotation to your highest speed, with every speed in between. Tailoring your mixing speeds to your recipe is now easily attainable. No more “making do” with only two speeds.
2. ADD A COMPRESSED AIR DRYER TO YOUR COMPRESSED AIR FEED
Most people do not recognize the danger of moisture/condensation in their plant air until it is too late. Condensation can cause a variety of problems for industrial equipment and mixers are no different. If enough condensation enters the hydraulic system of a machine, serious hydraulic failures can occur – the worst of which could be the mixer head dropping uncontrollably. This creates serious safety issues for operators as the movement of the machine becomes unpredictable.
Avoiding this issue is relatively simple. Make sure that your plant air compressor has a dryer installed at the source of your pneumatic lines. However, in plants where temperatures are relatively low, moisture could still condense in the internal pneumatic lines. For this reason, we always suggest a filter/regulator dryer combination installed directly on the pneumatic inlet of the machine. As long as this filter is monitored and emptied regularly, the hydraulic tank should be free of moisture and function properly.
3. INSTALL VIBRATION SENSORS ON ROTATING EQUIPMENT
Being able to monitor the behavior of your motor, bearings, and shaft could mean the difference between meeting production goals and not. Vibrational monitoring gives plant operation personnel a way to anticipate downtime and plan around it. While vibration sensors are primarily included on new machines, they can also be retrofitted onto existing machines. These sensors offer options from just the basic sensor + audible alert to full measurement and history logging integrated into your plant supervisory control system. Adding this aspect of monitoring could help you avoid costly repairs and downtime.
4. REFURBISH YOUR MACHINES
Right now, many companies are experiencing a lot of uncertainty, so it might not be the best time to invest in brand new equipment. However, there are other options that can help you keep your equipment running as good as new. Refurbishment is one of those options.
Stage 1 refurbishment: this level includes outfitting the machine with bearings, belts and sheaves, and all other consumables such as piston seals. We will also ensure that the shaft(s) are straight and straighten or replace it if necessary. Replace or repair blades for the machine. Install and test any missing safety switches on the machine.
Stage 2 refurbishment: This level is a complete teardown of the machine and includes everything listed previously with the addition of full sandblasting and repaint for the machine frame, as well as piston polishing. Hand and foot valves are replaced if they are present or upgraded to two-handed controls upon request. This level brings the machine to a “like new” condition complete with a full 1-year warranty from Schold.
Although many manufacturers are facing difficult choices during this period, keeping your equipment up and running safely does not have to be one of them.