Maintenance Tips for Telescopic Stackers
Lack of proper housekeeping has created more downtime and mechanical breakdowns in the bulk material handling industry than any other singular maintenance procedure. Although it may not be the most exciting job to do, it has the greatest long-term value. Successful aggregate operators systematically implement an ongoing housekeeping schedule, which often eliminates about 90 percent of their downtime.
*Transfer points: Another factor often overlooked is the importance of setting proper transfer points. As material shoots into the receiving end of a telescopic stacker, it should always land in the very center and as close the rear of the receiving hopper/chute as possible. Sometimes, because of the trajectory of the material as the conveyor makes its radial motions, material can miss the center target. This can create problems such as “miss-training,” spillage, and, in extreme cases, rip the edge of the belt. Operators often overlook the relevance of transfer positioning, and start “training” the belt as soon as they see that the belt is not running well. Improperly diagnosing this problem will only lead to additional wear that could be prevented with proper consideration to the transfer point positioning and material trajectory. It may be a tedious job, but it pays off big time in the long run.
* Continuous feed: A constant even feed of material will cut down the cost of energy. Not only do you spend money for every rotation running empty belts, but loading a belt after empty puts an initial higher load on the motors. Such costs in wattage and wear on the motors are unnecessary.
Crushing operations should try not to have surge hoppers, as they cause numerous problems and inconsistencies to the overall material handling. Several variables can affect continuous feed. Assess these variables and target the weak areas by the source.
* Smooth terrain: Although most telescopic stackers are designed to run on uneven surfaces, a concrete runway is often recommended. If this is not possible, it is important for operators to understand the affects of uneven terrain. The flow of material is directly affected as a telescopic stacker or any radial stacker, for that matter, moves over rough terrain. Bumps and small craters can also affect the center point of material trajectory into the receiving hopper. By interrupting the flow of material, you run the risk of material segregation and belt degradation. The smoother the terrain, the better the flow of material and the less stress you put on the machine. A concrete runway can often provide a quick return on investment. It often rapidly pays for itself by reducing long-term potential downtime.
* Electrical panel: The electrical panel can be considered the brain of a telescopic stacker and, therefore, should be treated with special care. Operators often fail to properly close the electrical panel, which exposes critical components to damaging environmental elements. Constant exposure will increase the risk of fraying and damage that is costly to repair. Keeping the electrical panel closed at all times is a simple task that should never be overlooked. When cleaning a panel, always use a vacuum; do not use a blower hose. This will simply push contaminants further into the component.
* Standing position: Quite often, a machine that is standing unused can cost more than a machine that is being operated. Although inspections on telescopic stackers are scheduled based on operating hours, if not put aside properly, the machine can undergo continuous stress. Since a telescopic stacker is a cantilever structure, the operator should always retract the machine at the end of the day. Exposure to weather and severe conditions can damage the structure, especially when it is not fully retracted and lowered to the ground. Winds that pick up overnight will add substantial and unnecessary stress to the machine.
Leaving a telescopic stacker sitting loaded is also not a good operating practice. Clearing the machine of all material removes unnecessary stress on the structure of the conveyor. Reducing the loads on the structure and all moving parts will prolong the operating life of the machine.