Conveyor Components Boost Material Handling Efficiency

June 11, 2019

5 Min Read
Conveyor Components Boost Material Handling Efficiency
Innovative conveyor components deliver maximum up-time and minimum maintenance costs.

Heritage Cooperative serves more than 3500 farmer members and 4000 rural and urban customers. Among its 30 locations is its expansive Kenton, OH-based Agronomy Center, which includes a 30,000-tn dry fertilizer storage facility for products including potash, ammonium sulfate, and urea. Material is delivered to the operation via rail and loaded out via truckloads for field application. Recently, the company upgraded the facility’s key material handling systems with new, innovative, high-performance conveyor components – an investment that returns maximum uptime and minimum maintenance costs.

Acting as a high-speed hub facility for crop nutrient distribution, the operation runs numerous hard-working material handling systems that are subject to corrosive conditions. “We need to minimize the costly maintenance downtime associated with periodic component failure, belt mis-tracking, and frequent material buildup,” said Tomas Nawrath, maintenance manager for the facility.

For ongoing support and service, Nawrath and his team consults with Superior Industries, a leading manufacturer of bulk material handling systems and components. “We need solid, cost-effective solutions when upgrading our conveyor components, and that’s what we get,” said Nawrath.

Vince Schlatter, a veteran component sales engineer for Superior Industries, works closely with the Heritage Coop team to provide conveyor component solutions that boost the cost-efficiency of each material handling application.

Corrosion-Resistant Idler Rolls
A 1000 tn/hr receiving conveyor system is located in the “basement” of the facility, where moisture levels are an issue. “We had experienced significant component rusting and material buildup,” said Nawrath. He adds that they had used conventional steel idler rolls and frames, that over time would flake, break, or literally disintegrate from severe rusting. “When an idler fails, you risk potential belt damage, and costly downtime – so we started the upgrades by changing out the return rolls and frames on the receiving leg of the system. We wanted more wear life and we wanted to reduce our maintenance costs,” he said.

“Steel idler rolls are typically prone to material buildup, and that leads to belt misalignment and tracking issues,” said Schlatter, who had recommended the use of stainless-steel frames fitted with Superior’s Moxie rolls.

Schlatter explains that Moxie rolls are retrofittable idler rolls comprised of a composite blend of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) material that’s extremely corrosion-resistant. “When compared to steel idler rolls, they offer far greater wear life, and due to the lubricity of the HDPE material, the roll sheds material quickly,” he said. Schlatter noted that the Moxie roll incorporates a new seal design technology that extends wear life by trapping and ejecting contaminants to prevent bearing damage.

“The Moxie rolls and stainless steel frames are working very well for us, and we’ll be changing out more of our older idler rolls as we go along,” said Nawrath. “We have no rust, no buildup issues, and the components are easy to clean. We simply wipe them down and they look brand new again.”

Innovative V-Shaped Wing Pulley
The operation also wanted to upgrade certain tail pulleys in its basement operation. In one instance, a conventional wing pulley was rusting so badly that the belt would no longer track properly. “It was wandering all over the place,” said Nawrath.

Schlatter recommended Superior’s Chevron wing pulley and it was installed on several systems. It features a V-shaped wing configuration that deflects material away from the pulley and belt, minimizing the potential of pulley or belt damage. “The Chevron is available in stainless steel or epoxy-coated paint, and we specified the latter as it was a more cost-effective solution for them,” he said.

“The V-shaped wing configuration allows continuous belt contact and minimizes vibration to the belt,” said Schlatter. When compared to the conventional wing pulley, he stresses that the Chevron wing pulley sheds material far more quickly, while preventing wing bending. “It provides smooth operation with less noise, less belt wear, and less impact and load on the bearings,” he said.

Custom-Engineered Drive Assemblies
Most recently, the operation replaced the head and tail pulley on its 100-ft-tall bucket elevator. The rust on the rim or face of the prior head pulley was causing the lagging to delaminate, resulting in head slippage.

Schlatter suggested a custom option for the head pulley. Via Superior’s Core Systems design program, operations can access custom-engineered drive and tail pulley assemblies that are ideally suited to the specific application, while ensuring that power requirements are met. Each drive assembly is delivered as a pre-assembled package, which eliminates the time and labor in component acquisition, onsite assembly, and installation.

“With our engineering expertise, a custom, pre-assembled package eliminates the legwork and guesswork involved with drive assemblies – and when the right components are specified, the result is maximum uptime and productivity,” said Schlatter.

Heritage Cooperative wanted extended wear life, as well as affordability. Since an all-stainless steel component would be quite costly, Superior specified stainless steel on just the face of the head pulley, preventing rust from forming underneath the lagging, and eliminating potential delamination and head slippage. “We liked this option, and it was a cost-efficient solution for us,” said Nawrath.

To replace the tail pulley on the bucket elevator, Superior specified a mine-duty Chevron V-shaped wing pulley, as they had worked so well in the operation’s corrosive environment. “As it had to be placed down into a pit, the tail pulley was not shipped as a pre-assembled unit,” said Schlatter.

Customer Focus
“Superior provides solutions that are the right fit for us, and their customer service is excellent in addressing any issues that we may have,” said Nawrath. “In our business, we need reliable components that keep our belts running.”

For more information on Superior Industries (Morris, MN), call 320-589-2406 or visit

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