Often when we’re out visiting clients who operate polymer finishing lines, we’ll ask, “What keeps you up at night?” And the number one response, whether it’s from a facility manager, engineer, maintenance person, or an operator, is always, “Downtime.”
It’s no wonder downtime is on the minds of people responsible for rubber manufacturing line equipment. Depending on the amount of damage, downtime, and repair costs, when equipment fails, the impact can be far-reaching, even devastating for an organization. One of our North American clients lost five days of production at $250k per day over a single gearbox failure.
So, what are the common causes of polymer finishing line failures, and how can your company prevent expensive repairs and loss of production time?
Most polymer finishing line equipment requires consistent preventative maintenance to perform optimally. Equipment failure is most common when proactive maintenance is neglected or postponed, which often happens when a company is short-staffed or overwhelmed with production demands.
Always ask your supplier to provide a guidebook. To assist our clients, we’ve developed a detailed polymer finishing line guidebook with step-by-step instructions for maintaining each piece of equipment in the system. Easy to follow maintenance schedules enable our clients to organize preventative maintenance activities and ensure regular upkeep does not become overwhelming. It’s best to keep guidebooks in the plant with the equipment, so they are nearby when issues arise.
Be prepared for unexpected problems by ordering any spare parts you might need when machinery breaks down. We equip our clients with a two-year spare parts list of the standard items that wear and will likely need to be changed out. Keep spare parts stocked and organized, so you can locate them quickly and easily when needed. So much time (and profit) can be saved when you have repair parts on hand and the instructions handy.
Don’t be afraid to ask for guidance. Anderson engineers encourage clients to reach out when they need help or have questions. We are a collaborative company and willing to share information to help our clients become proficient at finishing line machine maintenance. No matter your location, we stay connected 100% of the time by phone, fax, text, email, or in person.
Anderson provides processing solutions that solve
our clients’ biggest challenges and achieve outstanding results.
Servicing equipment only when it breaks down is costly, both in terms of unplanned downtime and the possible repercussions to other machine parts.
Predictive maintenance reduces the risk of downtime during the manufacturing process. By regularly monitoring the operational data of machinery, patterns emerge allowing operators to predict when support might be essential and can plan for repairs during less costly times. Operators learn to make adjustments to avoid breakdowns, such as reducing workloads to ease the burden on machines showing early signs of failure. Being able to monitor a machine’s performance over time reveals evidence that can also help identify when a device is reaching the end of its lifecycle.
When done well and consistently, predictive maintenance helps operators learn to detect subtle changes that even experienced engineers and skilled maintenance professionals might miss.
Proactive corrosion control
Corrosion of metal is one of the most significant problems for manufacturers across the board. Machinery with parts that have been allowed to corrode is more often subject to failures and can be dangerous for people to operate. Corrosion control must be part of a proactive maintenance plan when equipment, such as synthetic rubber dewatering machines, is interacting with high levels of moisture. And a persistent problem, often explicitly seen in polymer manufacturing plants, is the deterioration of the equipment due to free chlorides.
Purchasing machinery built to resist corrosion is always a good first step. When getting ready to invest in new equipment, source products made with titanium and stainless steel. Depending on the application, Anderson manufactures its products from these high-strength, corrosion resistant metals. Titanium is highly reactive and exhibits exceptional corrosion resistance in oxidizing acid environments, including in concentrated hydrochloric acid containing free chlorine used in polymer processing. Stainless steel avoids corroding in places where carbon and low alloy tool steels usually degenerate.
Titanium and stainless steel are resistant, but certainly not immune, to corrosion. Don’t automatically assume these assets will be safe from corrosion indefinitely. Without proactive corrosion control, pitting or stress corrosion cracking can occur, leading to dangerous or expensive problems.
Polymer Plant Field Service
If you are unsure of how to protect your existing equipment from degenerating, we are experts in research and detection of corrosion. And we are experienced with inspections across all of your company’s manufacturing assets, not just Anderson equipment.
To keep your processing plant running smoothly, or when you want to explore areas for improvement, Anderson engineers provide troubleshooting of equipment, operational training, maintenance training, and plant-wide optimization.
When planning to replace rubber processing equipment or add new machinery to a polymer finishing line,
manufacturers know they are looking at significant downtime. Be sure to ask these important questions first.