Maintenance time also means upgrading to better performing equipment
For many horticulture businesses, the harvest, processing and packaging season is drawing to a close. EQM is already undertaking maintenance and equipment reviews for many of its food industry clients and more and more are looking for greater reliability of equipment and higher performance.
EQM’s Anthony Bloxham says there has been a trend over the last couple of years to replace aluminium equipment with stainless steel, and although the up-front capital outlay is more, in the long run businesses are much better off. “We are visiting sites that are entering their annual maintenance period but they are also looking for performance improvements and that is about having the right equipment for the job.”
Bloxham points to a pet food processing plant that had been using an inferior gearbox and motor made of aluminium. “The gearbox and motor was driving a conveyor that took pet food from a large chiller through a metal detector prior to leaving the plant, but it was on its last legs. It was operating in a very harsh environment with high-pressure hoses used regularly for wash downs. We recommended they install the EQM iSeries Stainless Steel Gearboxes and motors which would improve performance but offer better protection in the harsh environment.”
The iSeries gearbox fitted perfectly with the IP67 motor and only had to do a slight modification to fit the torque arm mount.
“Stainless was the most suitable replacement. It will last much longer and its performance far exceeds the previous solution.”
One of New Zealand’s largest food processors nearly ended up with sauce on its face when a special planetary gearbox broke down.
Bloxham went onsite to see what could be done, and what would have been an easy replacement if they had had the exact gearbox, turned into a bigger issue, due to the specific equipment not being available in New Zealand and the Italian manufacturer being closed for its summer holidays.
However, looking for a quick solution to keep the sauce line running Bloxham assessed the gearbox and went back to EQM to see if there was any other solution.
“The main issue was the mounting needed to match up and I was confident that a standard STM gearbox would solve the problem. We found a worm gearbox that had the matching output mounting and shaft size and then selected an input flange and coupling to fit the small mounting dimensions of the existing servo motor. Everything lined up perfectly, so I raced back to the site to install it,” he says.
All in all the production line was down for a little over three hours and not only was the line up and running but within days they doubled the speed of production. It went from packing 60 squeeze bottles a minute to 120 bottles! The nation’s tomato sauce lovers can thank the quick thinking of EQM.
The STM UMI series has the unique feature of an input coupling, which enables this gearbox to be easily adapted to individual customer requirements.