Bulk Solids Conveying Equipment: Addressing Capacity Losses

November 8, 2018

A major issue in facilities that use bulk solids conveying equipment is addressing and preventing capacity losses. In a perfect world, equipment would operate with zero breakdowns, zero unplanned downtime, and zero failures, with no loss of efficiency or productive capacity. Reality, though, is different – these losses do happen and much management, operator and maintenance time is spent dealing with the consequences.

Bulk solids conveying equipment: six big losses

Total Productive Maintenance (TPM), a Lean manufacturing philosophy aimed at eliminating production deficits due to equipment losses, identifies six common types of equipment losses:

  1. Equipment failure
  2. Setup and adjustments
  3. Idling and minor stoppages
  4. Reduced speed
  5. Process defects
  6. Reduced yield

The first two losses represent equipment availability losses, meaning that the equipment is not always running during the planned production time. The next two losses are a performance loss, meaning that the equipment is not running at the designed or planned rate. The final two losses represent quality losses, meaning that when the equipment is running, it is not always producing good product.

By identifying and attacking the causes of the six big equipment losses, facilities using bulk solids handling equipment can greatly improve productivity and capacity. Even an introductory TPM program can make a significant impact on the six big losses through team-based continuous improvement initiatives such as autonomous and preventive maintenance activities, standardized work, and problem solving.

Equipment design – another key factor for reducing the six big losses

While TPM activities can greatly improve equipment functioning and productivity, a factor that should not be overlooked is equipment design. Equipment that is well-designed and built is inherently more reliable, durable and capable of producing quality output. Such equipment is less prone to unplanned downtime, requires less setup and adjustment to become productive, and produces quality output at the designed run rate.

Consider how UniTrak designs and builds its bulk solids conveying equipment to reduce the six big losses:

  • All UniTrak equipment has reliability designed in. We understand the importance of equipment availability and we use only the highest-quality materials and workmanship to ensure that the risk of failures and unplanned downtime is minimized.
  • Our equipment is engineered to reduce performance losses. For example, TipTrak™ continuous bucket elevators have fully interlocking bucket assemblies which prevent spillage, meaning you never need to reduce the machine speed to prevent spills or incur stoppages for cleanup. Similarly, all our conveyors are designed to permit easy planned maintenance and cleanout, meaning you get the unit back into service in the shortest possible time.
  • UniTrak equipment and fully-integrated systems are application tailored to achieve designed capacity and performance right from installation and commissioning. We dive deep into the specifics of your process and functional requirements, and ensure that these are fully incorporated into your equipment design to avoid startup losses. We also carefully address the integration of your conveyor with upstream and downstream equipment, avoiding stoppages and reduced speed due to mismatched flow rates and other issues that can arise when different types of equipment are combined.
  • UniTrak conveyors are designed for high-care applications where product quality and yields are critical. We have built our reputation on high-care conveying – ensuring that your product moves through our equipment with no damage or reduced yield.

For almost 50 years, UniTrak has been supplying the finest in bulk solids conveying equipment, including TipTrak™ bucket elevators, Powderflight aeromechanical conveyors, UniFlex flexible screw conveyors, KleanTrak sanitary conveyors, and Bagstander bulk bag dischargers and fillers. To find out more about our equipment can help you avoid the six big losses that reduce capacity and productivity, please contact our sales team.

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