The scrap conveyors originally employed on the pre-pierce presses in Rollforming Division had several functional flaws, which caused inefficiencies in production as well as high maintenance costs. Upgrading to a new generation of conveyors addressed these issues, delivering greater operational efficiency.
The primary issue with the original conveyors were the belts; once lubricant from the press scraps had got onto the belt it would start to slip, and the longevity of the belts was poor. As a result, conveyors would need to be returned to maintenance for belt changes at a high frequency, and with each replacement belt costing over £1,000, the running cost was unacceptable. The flimsy construction of the conveyor frames didn’t stand up well to being transported back to maintenance for the required belt change, and resultantly they were also starting to show severe signs of fatigue.
The project was led by HGT’s Rafal Swies, a mechanical design engineer within the machinery team. After surveying the market for available options, he identified a manufacturer of positive drive belts (conveyor belts with an integrated tooth drive system) in Holland; Volta Belting. Not only did they supply a belt grade suitable for the application, they also offered standard drive and support roller elements, which Rafal proceeded to develop into the design concept.
Integrating this high performance belt and drive system, with a cost effective yet highly rigid laser cut frame, the new concept was born. As well as the functional improvements already highlighted, Rafal also incorporated safety covers into the conveyor, to both protect the operator from any unintended contact with the conveyor belt and protect the conveyor from any undesirable objects (such as tools) being transferred through to the skip.
The new conveyors excel in all areas; a higher transmission efficiency gives a more positive and economical drive, greater longevity will give a better return on investment in the medium term and with a standard design, spare parts and maintenance are easy to make provision for going forwards. The health and safety aspect of the conveyors has also improved, and at a cost of around £1,000 more than the original units they replace, the minimal extra spend per conveyor will be quickly absorbed by reductions in maintenance costs.
Paul Atterbury, Plant Manager, RFD, commented: “The five new conveyors that have been delivered to RFD have proven to be both efficient and robust in operation. They are fully suited to our production requirements and have added safety features that set them apart from the previous units.”