Screw conveyors, also called auger conveyors, are an important part of many industries. They can be made in different designs, but the basic components are a conveyor screw which is the main part and moves bulk material along, a trough, a drive assembly, an electric motor, and the handedness, which determines the direction of flow of bulk material.
To ensure the safety of personnel and prevent expensive breakdowns in industrial settings, it is crucial to properly operate and maintain screw conveyors. These conveyors often have multiple moving parts, making them susceptible to hazards if mishandled or improperly maintained. Therefore, comprehensive training and adherence to safety measures while using screw conveyors are of utmost importance.
Potential Hazards of Screw Conveyor Operation
Screw conveyors can pose significant risks if operators and maintenance personnel do not exercise proper care.
Some of the potential hazards associated with screw conveyor operation include:
Pinch points: These points can trap loose clothing or hanging elements and pull people’s hands or bodies into the conveyor. Pinch points occur where the parts of the screw conveyor join or separate during operation.
Rotating parts: Gears, chains, and sprockets are rotating parts that can crush hands and fingers upon contact during operation or in the event of an unexpected startup of the conveyor system.
Electrical hazards: Electrical hazards are typically present at the points of electrical input and output. Any conductive material in contact with these parts can cause electrocution if mishandled.
Material handling hazards: Different materials present varying hazards. Some bulk materials are caustic and can be harmful if ingested through the nose or mouth. Other materials may cause chemical burns or similar injuries upon skin contact.
These hazards emphasize the importance of engaging certified professionals for the maintenance of screw conveyors. Operators must receive adequate training to minimize risks associated with their operation.
Safety Tips for Screw Conveyor Operation
Implementing safety tips can help operators consistently follow correct procedures while using screw conveyors. These tips should be periodically refreshed to maintain a high level of safety awareness.
Some good safety tips to start with include:
Proper training and education: Operators should undergo training conducted by qualified professionals. Attendance should be mandatory for all personnel in the plant or factory, and incentives can be offered to ensure participation and attentiveness.
Adequate lighting and visibility: Good lighting helps prevent accidents caused by slips and falls resulting from spillage or other hazards. Enhanced visibility enables individuals to interact more cautiously with the equipment.
Use of guards and barriers: Install guards and barriers around screw conveyors, particularly near sensitive areas of the equipment. These physical safeguards minimize interactions with screw conveyors, especially by unauthorized individuals who are at a higher risk of accidents.
Proper clothing and personal protective equipment: Before approaching a screw conveyor, individuals must be dressed appropriately for the environment. Easy access to personal protective equipment should be ensured to promote its consistent use.
Maintenance and Inspection for Screw Conveyor Safety
Regular inspection and maintenance are essential for the safe operation of screw conveyors. The following guidelines provide a basic framework for conducting inspections and maintenance tasks.
Regular inspection of components and parts: Thoroughly inspect all components and parts, both individually and as a whole, to ensure the entire system is functioning properly.
Lubrication and cleaning of moving parts: Regularly lubricate and clean moving parts to ensure their optimal performance. This maintenance practice minimizes wear and tear, extending the equipment’s lifespan.
Repairs and replacement of worn or damaged parts: Promptly address worn or damaged parts by repairing or replacing them. Neglecting such issues can lead to further damage and create hazardous operating conditions.
Proper storage of spare parts and tools: Store spare parts and tools appropriately to prevent damage or misplacement. Mishandling sensitive parts can introduce risks and result in costly remedies.
At Sodimate, we understand the importance of not only designing industrial equipment well and setting it up correctly but also making sure it’s well maintained. That’s why we encourage industry owners and plant operators to prioritize safety during operations. This can help keep everyone safe and also lengthen the lifespan of industrial equipment. Talk to us so we can advise you on the correct equipment to buy and walk you through its operation and maintenance. As a result, you’ll get the maximum benefits in your operations.