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What NOT to do When an Agitator is Failing

Many processors make their own repairs to equipment, but in the case of agitators, the repair must be sound to avoid problems in the future.  Mepaco Service technicians are trained and experienced to troubleshoot shaft wear and are specialists in the repair of stainless steel.  Here is a list of what not to do when making your own repairs:

  • Do not ignore failing agitator – depending on their use of equipment, they need to schedule at least a temporary repair as soon as possible. Visit our blog to determine if your agitator is failing.
  • Incorrect weld repairs can cause the agitator to bow which causes run out and adds a new stress point in the agitator.  One incorrect weld repair may add another stress point in a different location.
  • Do not ask an inexperienced welder to make repairs. And experienced welder is required for agitator repair, there is a process of grinding out cracks, and cleaning procedures for proper repair of an agitator.
  • Don’t ignore straightening of the agitator after repair. It is very important for longer life of the agitator.

If you need to make a repair to continue production, be sure to schedule after care for the agitator.  You need an assessment to make sure the agitator is straight and that the welds will hold under stress.  We are currently experiencing long lead times for replacement agitators, so whether it is an after-event service call or a scheduled audit, it is important to have the agitator checked out to maintain production up-time.


How to Know When an Agitator is Failing

In some cases, there is a particular event that causes agitator damage such as a shovel or fork falling into a piece of processing equipment.  However, there are several other signs that determine when an agitator is failing:

  • The agitator starts developing cracks in the pipe or welds.
  • The agitator starts rubbing the tub side wall.

Here are some causes of agitator damage:

  • The drive end motor is not shimmed properly.
  • There is a bad bearing on idle side may create flexing.
  • Long term issues may be caused by a tool dropping into the tub.
  • The product is being over chilled. It is wrapping over paddles, the temperature probes are not functional, and the CO2 or Nitro is turned off.

Agitators are part of Mixers, Mixer-Cookers, and ThermaBlend Cookers.  This equipment is the most important part of the processing line and must be maintained for maximum uptime.  Other equipment, such as Metering Screws with Hoppers have leveling ribbons that may also need to be included in the list for agitator maintenance.

Currently, there is a 3-to-6-month lead time for a new agitator.  In some cases, agitator repairs can be made at the customer site.  Mepaco Services may be able to use a sleeve or secure welds to get the machine back up and running.  Sometimes, it is possible to make repairs for temporary production while the new agitator is put on order.

Contact Parts and Service at 920-356-9900 for more information.


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