“Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful”.
Sadly there’s no fire in this song, just cold wind, blowing snow, hard conveyor rubber, thick oil, frozen chutes and a cranky ground man holding a frozen shovel that makes you nervous every time he looks in your direction. Nothing to fear though, he’s just fondly remembering years past where the onslaught of winter meant four months of X-Box and DVD’s while he waited for the thawing winds of Spring, so he could return to work.
Despite the onset of sub-zero temperatures, most of our customers still have more piles to put up. The days of shutting down for four months and overhauling the equipment while riding out the bitter cold of Canadian winters are seemingly gone. Whether it is to meet production commitments, or get a head start on inventory for next year; more and more, crushing operations are being asked to produce in spite of the plummeting temperatures.
The key to producing in the winter is simple. Keep those belts turning! Admittedly, this is a concept that is much more easily said than done. However, with a few modifications, you can give yourself a fighting chance at achieving this. Here is a list of the top ten products a plant operator can use to keep production levels up:
1. Heat tape.
Wrapping any critical hydraulic lines (i.e. accumulator line).
2. Rubber lining.
At a certain temperature nothing runs clean, but rubber lined chutes resist material build up much better than mild steel or AR plate. Just think about how much more efficient screening can be if your box is not lifting double its weight from all the buildup.
3. Belt Scrapers.
Clean belts mean well tracked belts and longer component life. Have you ever spliced a belt in -400? Suffice to say, it’s not fun.
Keeping those belts turning is no good if you are losing product off your belt.
5. Synthetic Oil.
6. Heat Tubes.
When tiger torches and propane are needed.
7. Tank Heaters.
These don’t have to be very elaborate, glue on tank heaters can run on a secondary gen set during shut down periods when your main gen set isn’t running.
8. Self-Cleaning Screens.
Because a clean screen is a happy screen.
9. Pre-Heat systems.
Getting to site early.
Sometimes despite all the preventative efforts, there is no replacing walking around the plant and cleaning up any leaks. This will allow you to see some things that might otherwise be missed.
Winter is inevetable, but by following a few simple tips, can make everything run a lot smoother.
Were you frozen out last winter? Get your control towers and vans ready for the cold too: