Black Diamond Equipment had a process of lubricating aluminum parts for hot forging that was performed manually. “We had to manually dip them, and our cycle times made that a terrible use of human resources. There was a lot of idle time,” says Mike Will, Operations Engineer. While determining how to eliminate the need for an operator to manually feed the process, finding a company with conveyor systems that could withstand the characteristics of the lubricant was one of the biggest concerns.
“As the lubricant sits in open air, it tends to build up on any surface near the water line. As the lubrication evaporates, the solids are left behind forming a kind of sludge. This was a major consideration in how I approached the design of the entire machine, but particularly the conveyor,” says Will.
Dynamic Conveyor offers modular conveyors built from plastic modules that allow the conveyors to be submerged in tanks of water or lubricant. The conveyors are self-lubricating and use a positive sprocket drive and tracking with plastic link style belting that eliminates slippage making them maintenance free.
The recently implemented automated system links the DynaCon Z-style conveyor with an oven conveyor, so the operator is able to control both conveyors as a single system. The DynaCon conveyor, partially immersed in the lubrication bath, draws parts up out of the bath and feeds them into the oven conveyor.
The DynaCon conveyors have the ability to withstand the lubricant. “It’s the way the conveyor’s designed,” says Will. “There are not a lot of places for that material to attach to and in addition to that, the materials used in the DynaCon tend to prevent the lubricant from accumulating.”
Will says of the DynaCon conveyor, “I’m impressed. Over six months of service, it’s required no maintenance and it hasn’t needed any cleaning, which is nice because given the option, most people would rather not mess with the lubricant we’re using.”
Will estimates the entire system will pay for itself within two years at current volumes. Of the conveyor he adds, “it was surprisingly inexpensive given its capabilities. The conveyor is definitely carrying its own weight.”