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Regular inspection and maintenance of your conveyor carwash will give you many years of safe, efficient and reliable operation — and provide an excellent opportunity to review and exercise your OSHA-approved Lock-Out Tag-Out (LOTO) procedures. Always use your LOTO procedures for cleaning or inspecting your conveyor.
I recommend starting with an end-to-end walk-through on the surface of the conveyor. This is optimal for inspecting guide rails, correlators, trap doors, decking, pit covers and any other contact points for wear and potential safety concerns. I also suggest always dating and documenting the findings of your inspection, maintenance or repair.
Read also: OSHA and your carwash
Next, remove all pit covers for the underground inspection. A thorough cleaning of the trench and pit shelf should include the removal of all dirt and trash and the lowering of the water level to expose the entire conveyor.
The conveyor chain should be tight with minimum sag. Excessive sag may indicate the need to remove links or to adjust or repair the tension mechanism on your conveyor.
Visually inspect each link and roller for wear and loose attachment points. Repair or replace as necessary. Flipping or turning your chain over every couple of years can add to the life of the chain. Pushers tend to wear out faster than the chain itself.
The entrance of your conveyor usually has the take-up section to maintain
chain tension and the forks to raise the rollers. Visually inspect all chain tension devices for wear and proper function. Grease any required items.
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Make repairs to any air leaks and set the proper air pressure to your conveyor’s tension mechanism and roller raiser, if air-equipped. Check the take-up sprocket or drum for wear.
The exit of your conveyor is usually the drive end. Electric drives should have watertight junction boxes and conduits and electrical connections without exposed wiring.
Hydraulic drives should be free of leaks. Inspect the drive sprocket for wear. Turning your drive sprocket over annually will increase its life.
As with any piece of equipment, repair or replace items as needed. Replacing suspect parts is always better sooner than later, as bad parts can quickly affect others.
These tips are generic in nature and fit the scheme of most conveyors manufactured over the past few decades. Following your manufacturer’s recommended maintenance routine is the best practice possible to ensure the safety and longevity of your conveyor. Your equipment distributor or manufacturer’s rep can help you identify normal wear and tear and assist you in choosing the proper repair option.
Monty Rast is Director of Operations for Autobell Car Wash, Inc. Autobell is one of the largest full-service, conveyorized carwash chains in the country, with locations in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.