Best Practices: Crusher Housekeeping for Peak Production
Updated: Jan 20, 2022
Problem: Build-up of spillage/material on, in and around crushing/screening/conveying equipment throughout the shift. Spillage or overflow occurs primarily when loading at one of the three, main material transfer stations:
Under-crusher conveyor – spillage, so clean/keep clear, check/maintain the skirt board rubber sealing hopper that directs material onto the under-crusher conveyor
Screen delivery conveyor – material exiting crusher and going to screen
Stacking conveyor – material travelling from screen to stackers
Negative consequences of poor housekeeping include:
Generation of material piles
Increase in slip, trip or fall risk around equipment
Material piles can harden and restrict/impact moving of machine, or result in bending/warping of frame, and damage to the plant
Build-up of debris/material on conveyor frame causing stalling of rollers, which leads to flat spotting and, eventually, rollers cutting into belt
Material build-up can change/restrict access around plant, resulting in reduced preventive maintenance—greasing, check oils etc.
Solution: While not always popular—particularly in the heat of summer or the cold of winter—the solution is simple: Take a shovel and 15-30 minutes after each shift and remove any debris/spillage build-up. This is the preferred route for those owner/operators who look to protect their crushing/screening asset investment. Conversely, some operations prefer to spend that time in production, rather than maintenance; the run-it-until-it-breaks philosophy. While the latter approach is easier and may appear attractive in the here and now … in-house replacement of 3-4 center can rollers can run several hundred dollars (parts and time), while replacement of a typical, 80-foot belt will run $3-4,000 if/when those rollers fail. The risk of allowing build-up involves hidden potential cost too. Over the long haul, poor maintenance practices will inevitably lead to premature equipment failure and reduced plant longevity. Not to mention, an MSHA Part 100 penalty can also result in significant cost, particularly if a repeat violation. From experience, I have seen some owners be proactive in offering operators incentives to maintain the equipment in good working order. This practice, in turn, has successfully incentivized personnel to be actively involved in the condition of the equipment. It is also a fact that a cleaner, less problematic work environment positively affects morale, which impacts productivity—another hidden, financial benefit of a clean workspace. Bottom line, a safe, clean workspace means a clear mind, optimal productivity and no MSHA violations … a win-win all-around.
Joshua Lovett Columbus Equipment Company Product Support and Sales Representative (CEC PSSR) Joshua Lovett has spent 10 years in the concrete and asphalt recycling, and demolition industries, with the last four at CEC. He’s a good guy to have in your corner if your business is making big rock little rock. When not in the field, Josh is a keen woodworker in pursuit of that perfect cup or bowl. Josh can be reached at (614) 980-1466 with any crushing technical support questions.