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Tips for Troubleshooting Aeromechanical Conveyors

March 9, 2017

While aeromechanical conveyors operate on a simple principle and have few moving parts, they are not immune from operating problems. In this blog, we present some tips for troubleshooting some of the more common problems that are often encountered with aeromechanical conveyors.

Problem #1: Material buildup on internal parts. Materials that tend to cake or pack can deposit and build up on the sprocket housing and impede the movement of the discs around the sprocket. This problem often manifests itself by the conveyor stalling or failure of the drive motor or rope and pulley assembly. Conveyor stalling or failure of the rope assembly or drive motor is attributable to the increased drag resulting from the material deposition and buildup.

Addressing this problem requires increasing the frequency of sprocket housing cleaning when conveying materials which tend to cake or pack, or by applying a polished finish or non-stick coating to surfaces in the sprocket assembly where material may deposit and accumulate.

Problem #2: Premature failure of the rope assembly. Manufacturers of aeromechanical conveyors provide recommended service intervals at which rope and disc assemblies should be replaced. These service points are designed to address the inevitable loss of rope strength and flexibility that results from use. When rope assemblies fail before its normal life expectancy, or before replacement service points are reached, this could be indicative of underlying problems with the conveyor. These could include the following:
• Improper rope tension. Having a rope that is tensioned either too tightly or too slack can cause premature wear.
• Sprocket wear. Over time, sprockets can wear and become grooved, causing accelerated wear of the rope.
• Material wear. Running hard materials through the conveyor may cause particles to become lodged between the rope discs and sprocket housing, causing wear and tear on the rope.
• Frequent starts and stops, or running empty. Starting and stopping the conveyor frequently can impose strain on the rope assembly, increasing the risk of premature failure. Rope assemblies also wear more quickly when a conveyor is running empty as opposed to when it running with material. Conveyors should be stopped when all material has been conveyed through the equipment.
• Disc wear. Conveying highly abrasive materials can cause rapid wear due to the high speed at which the discs travel. When conveying highly abrasive materials through an aeromechanical, choose equipment which is outfitted with abrasion-resistant discs.

Problem #3: Infeed issues. Undershooting equipment throughput rates may be due to the bridging of material at the conveyor inlet. Installing a vibrator at the infeed inlet, or choosing an inlet with steep-wall geometry, can eliminate this issue.

Problem #4: Discharge issues. The discharge opening of an aeromechanical can become plugged with material, causing material buildup within the conveyor. When this occurs, material will recirculate within the conveyor, causing additional load and stress on the conveyor motor and rope assembly. To ensure that material can freely discharge from the conveyor, confirm that any connections to the discharge outlet are the same diameter as the discharge outlet’s spout opening.

Aeromechanical conveyors generally run problem-free and require little maintenance. However, always be on the lookout for symptoms of abnormal operation which could be indicative of the problems described above. If you think your equipment is running abnormally, do not hesitate to call your equipment provider for guidance or help.

UniTrak offers the Powderflight line of aeromechanical conveyors. To find out more about the lineup of quality conveyors we offer, please contact our sales team.

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