Different parts of pneumatic conveying systems wear out over time, causing damage, dust and downtime, so it is a good idea to keep spare parts on hand. Here are some of the most critical spares you should store in a kit near your conveyor.
1. Shaft seals and packing
When shaft seals wear down and start leaking, the material being conveyed will contaminate the bearing. Over time this leads to bearing failure, causing material leakage — which is both a waste and a hazard.
Always have shaft seals and packing on hand to keep rotary valves and screw conveyors in ship shape.
Simply put, when bearings fail, equipment will not work properly. When a system runs with faulty bearings for too long, the equipment will eventually seize up and stop working.
To keep up production and uptime on rotary valves and screw conveyors, always have replacement bearings in your spares.
3. Inlet filters for blowers
Blowers need clean air to work properly. When the element of the inlet filter fills with dirt and dust, the pressure drop increases in the conveying system.
Always document pressure drop in your historical maintenance log. Once a pressure drop increase is evident, it is time to install a new filter element.
Why can’t you just clean the existing filter and move on? The filter will just get dirty faster as time goes on, so it is safer to install new ones according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
4. Filter bags or cartridges for dust collectors
There are a few key reasons why to keep extra bags or cartridges on hand for a dust collector.
For one, when filter bags get too dirty, they pass the point of no return; dust clogs the fabric’s pores, keeping the vacuum from pulling in more dust from outside.
Filter bags might also need to be changed when they get worn or develop holes, or when a high differential pressure in the dust collector occurs.
5. Motors and gearmotors
The most critical conveying equipment, such as rotary valves, blower packages and screw conveyors, rely on motors and gearmotors to run. It is always a good idea to keep a stock of spare motors in case fast replacement is needed.
6. Conveying long radius elbows
Conveying long radius elbows are often the first thing to wear in a conveying line — particularly the back sides, which have the most contact with material. When elbows wear out, problems like pressure drop, environmental hazards from material leaks and product degradation occur.
Long radius bends are the most common type of elbow, but it depends on the type of system. Be sure to have the right type of replacement elbows in stock.
When in doubt, check with an expert
Still wondering when and how to replace faulty or worn-out parts? Here are a few standard tips: Be thorough and regular with your maintenance checklist, ask the manufacturer for recommendations and check regulations to make sure equipment complies with industry standards.
Megan Thompson is president and chief operating officer of ACS Valves, which designs, engineers and manufactures rotary valves for metering, feeding and air in bulk material processing and pneumatic conveying applications. Thompson is an NFPA expert with 26 years of experience in the industry helping plants prevent explosions and keep workers safe.