Virtually all coil handling equipment has wear items that will eventually fail. The question is–do you store replacement parts at your facility so they’re ready when a part fails, or do you order spare parts from an OEM or third-party vendor when you need them?
If your organization prefers the latter, make sure you plan ahead to mitigate downtime as much as possible.
Organizations that aren’t comfortable with that option can go the other route and keep a stock of spare parts on hand. For the most part, this is a perfectly acceptable option, especially for companies who have many of the same press feeding machines.
Don’t just throw your spare parts on a shelf, or worse, the closet floor and forget about them, though. If you do, you might come back to find rusted or deteriorated parts that aren’t fit for use.
Here are some tips to help ensure your spare parts are replacement-ready when you need them to be.
Consider Your Environment
Is your facility located near saltwater or other type of caustic environment? Does your organization work with materials, such as salt, that can be extremely corrosive? Or is your facility located in an area known for high humidity?
If so, it would be wise to find a more suitable storage space, whether that’s a place off-site, a room shut off from the problem area or a climate-controlled clean room.
The type of equipment/parts you’re storing will determine the proper environment.
For example, drive wheels are made of rubber. Just like tires, they will develop “dry rot” if they’re stored in a hot, arid environment, exposed to the sun for extended periods and/or stored near equipment that puts off ozone, e.g., electric motors, generators, welding equipment, battery chargers. Instead, store rubber parts in a dark, warm and relatively dry location. Airtight containers will also help prolong the part’s life.
Metal parts, including rollers and motors, can benefit from the same storage environment. While light won’t affect metal parts like it will rubber or plastic, humidity can be detrimental to metal, causing it to pit and rust over time.
It should definitely go without saying, but never store parts outside or any other place where they’re exposed to the elements.
Pack Spare Parts Correctly
Creating the proper storage environment might be troublesome, depending on an organization’s resources and location, but an easy way to help protect parts is to make sure they’re packed properly.
Bearings, for example, often come packaged in grease. Keeping them packed like that until they’re needed is a great way to protect them in the long run.
The same goes for other parts as well. Often, OEMs or parts suppliers send equipment and parts already packed in a way to protect them from damage by drops or environmental hazards. Unless otherwise directed, organizations can usually leave the parts in that packaging.
If that’s not feasible due to space constraints or because the packaging isn’t ideal for storage, organizations can purchase something called VCI paper. Standing for “volatile corrosion inhibitor” or “vapor corrosion inhibitor,” this special paper blocks oxygen, moisture and other corrosive elements from reaching the part and corroding/rusting it. The paper will also help keep parts that are coated with special materials, e.g., straightener rollers, from collecting dust.
In addition to protecting parts from corrosion, organizations should ensure parts are properly stored to avoid falls. This especially applies to metal or plastic parts that are subject to dents or breaks. Some parts, like hardened straightener rolls, can actually shatter if they fall as little as 3’ to a concrete floor. So, storing parts on a lipped shelf or closer to the floor can help protect them, too.
Sometimes, it’s not practical or even possible for an industrial processor to properly store spare parts for any amount of time. In that case, the processor should talk with their machine OEM or parts supplier to ensure when the processor needs parts, they can receive them quickly. In that instance, it’s extremely important to know what the wear items are on a machine so everyone can plan ahead.
At EnSight Solutions, we work directly with our customers to ensure they have parts when they need them. We keep a stock of the most common parts so we can ship them quickly to processors when they need it. We can also work with processors and keep some custom parts in stock for them down the road.
If you’re interested in learning more about EnSight Solutions and the coil-handling equipment and parts we offer, contact your EnSight industrial processing sales specialist now.