With their extremely cold temperatures, freezer and cold room environments can be very challenging settings for operating bulk materials conveyors. In this blog we present some tips to consider when buying and installing bulk material conveyors in freezer environments.
Tips for Buying and Installing Bulk Material Conveyors in Freezer Environments
Tip #1: Motors
Standard duty drive motors used on many conveyors are usually only designed for ambient temperatures down to -26°C (-15°F). If your environment is colder than this, you will need to ensure that the conveyor is driven by a motor designed and rated for cold service.
Tip #2: Drive assemblies
Depending upon the conveyor type, drive assemblies can consist of pulleys, rollers, bearings, belts, chains, disks, buckets, and other components. These components can be fabricated from metal, rubber, plastics, or other materials. Because these materials can deteriorate or become brittle in cold temperatures, it is important to ensure that all conveyor drive assembly components are fabricated from materials rated for cold temperature service.
Tip #3: Lubricants and greases
Standard conveyor gear reducer lubricant is usually rated for a minimum temperature of -12°C (+10°F). If your application temperature exceeds these limits, low temperature lubricants are available which can handle temperatures down to -34°C (-30°F). It is also important to remember to ensure that low temperature grease is also used in the reducer bearings. Most bearings used today are rated for low temperature service. However, it is often wise to confirm this with the equipment supplier.
Tip #4: Machine controls and condition monitoring sensors and electronics
Wiring, cabling and electrical systems used for powering and controlling the conveyor should be rated for cold temperature service. Because the condensation of moisture on cold equipment surfaces is a common occurrence in freezer environments, machine controls should be located outside of the freezer room or, if that is not possible, protected by a heating element that prevents the condensation of moisture and ice buildup which could affect electrical control systems.
Similarly, condition monitoring sensors and electronics installed on the conveyor should be cold temperature rated and be capable of performing their function in the presence of condensation.
Tip #5: Installation and commissioning
Installing and commissioning bulk material conveyors in freezer environments can be especially challenging for personnel due to the cold working environment. In such environments, the time for install and commissioning being substantially longer than that for normal temperature environments. For this reason, it is prudent to increase the installation budget when undertaking freezer environment installations.
Because fasteners tend to contract and loosen in cold environments, installation personnel should be especially careful when torqueing all fastened connections.
UniTrak has over 50-years’ experience in providing bulk material conveyors for cold room and freezer environments and other extreme temperature settings. Our equipment lineup includes the TipTrak™ line of continuous bucket conveyors, KleanTrak sanitary conveyors, Powderflight aeromechanicals, and UniFlex flexible screw conveyors. To find out more about how we can assist with your need for bulk material conveyors in freezer environments, please contact our sales team directly.