With the complex demands in food processing and production, safety, and quality, every component within food equipment is critical. Any machinery with moving parts will utilize bearings. Here are some tips to reduce wear issues and extend bearing life:
1. Pull more out of your grinder
Ask your grinder experts about an upgrade kit to address a different plate configuration to increase throughput.
If you do not have a level sensor, contact your controls partner to add controls to turn off the grinder before it runs dry. A continuous flow of meat product will keep the plates and blades lubricated - required for best performance.
Keep the pins, bushings, heads, and knives in well maintained condition.
2. Tune your system
Schedule an audit to tighten up your process. Look to remove 15 - 20 seconds from all inefficient processes.
Consider VFD motors at different speeds to improve production flow.
3. Address small issues before they become a big downtime issue
With production at or near max or a lack of production staff, preventative maintenance may not be consistent. Operators need to allow time to address small maintenance issues. Rushing to close a safety grate that slams on the equipment causing welds to break, or not reporting wear of critical parts can lead to significant downtime.
If there is a repair needed on a piece of equipment, the best advice to ramp-up production is to have long-lead item parts on hand. Agitators that are custom fabricated can take up to eight weeks for delivery. Cylinders, motors, gearmotors and gearboxes are all long-lead items that can take up to 2 - 5 weeks for delivery.
Call Mepaco Parts and Field Services if you need support with these upgrades at 920-356-7334.
Depending on the complexity of the equipment and controls, there are a few options for production personnel to learn how to operate the equipment. The manual explains the operation of the equipment and its components. The customer can visit Apache for training and testing or contract with Mepaco Field Services for on-site training.
In one example, the production staff did not understand how to operate the HD3000 Dumper, causing the carriage to bind-up where cylinders weren't lifting in tandem. The issue was caused by incorrect operation.
Due to the operational configuration of the hydraulic cylinders, the HD300 dumper must be fully cycled (complete cylinder extension and retraction) each time it is used. The production staff was not fully retracting the dumper leaving the carriage 12 - 18" off the ground. This allowed the cylinders to start up unevenly and compounded if the staff did not fully extend the dumper. This caused the dumper carriage to misalign and bind against the dumper frame.
Once the carriage binds against the frame the only way to safely correct the situation is to lock out the hydraulic power unit, disconnect the hydraulic line from the overextended cylinder and allow the carriage to drift down until it is re-timed. Once the cylinders are re-timed the power unit can be operated to bring the carriage to the fully down position. Air will need to be bled from the cylinder that had the hydraulic lines removed.
Please call Joe Hertel, Field Services Manager, at 920-219-2286 if you have any questions about the operation of Mepaco equipment or if a training visit is necessary for new personnel.
Our long time service expert, Greg Ebert, has retired. Greg served Mepaco for over 30 years in a technical support role. We wish Greg a very happy retirement and we thank him for sharing his expertise with our sales, service and engineering team.
Meet our new service tech team who are ready to service your equipment and troubleshooting needs, from left: Bob Dolan, Jacob Jongebloed, Mike Sutton, Ray Henry and Josh Schladweiler.
If you are in need of service, please call your sales representative or call Monica in Parts and Service at 920.356.7347 or 920-344-2085.
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