Production continues and you have to keep crushing with your mobile crusher
Operating a mobile crusher in winter is difficult and hard on the equipment. The days are shorter. Snow & ice are giving you a hard time. And the harsh cold is unbearable.
Failing to adapt your crushing operation to winter conditions you risk downtime and loss in production.
Today, few businesses shot down over an extended period over winter. Instead, many of them run all winter whether they need to provide material for a project or prepare stockpiles for spring. Having a winter maintenance plan and spending the time to prepare your unit for the cold will help keep your machine running at its best.
Here is how to minimize the hassle and maximize production.
- Clear your conveyors and remove spillage before you go home
When temperatures hover around freezing wet and sticky material will freeze in place overnight and cause start-up problems the next day. Conveyor belts jam or slip, chutes are plugged, screens are shut, and motors need more power to start. To reduce issues, it is recommended to make sure that the conveyor is cleared from the material before shutting down and any build-up overnight should be removed before the conveyors are started.
Typically, the tail pulley of discharge conveyors is close to the ground. It is also recommended to move your mobile crusher to remove any fines that have built up underneath your tail pulley so that the accumulated material can’t cause any premature belt wear or negatively affect your belt tracking.
Having a belt heater or a heat cannon helps de-ice the conveyor belt by applying the correct amount of heat where ice builds up – especially around pulleys, idlers, seals, or rollers.
All conveyors on a RUBBLE MASTER can be started individually so that you can discharge any leftover materials without firing up the entire plant. In addition, the main conveyor can run in reverse so that materials from the cleaning process are discharged underneath the plant and can be removed afterward.
- Make sure the hopper and pre-screen are free from any material before you go home
Your feed hopper is equally important as your conveyors. It is much harder to remove frozen obstructions from a hopper than from a conveyor because it is much higher up and the steel structure is almost impossible to heat up. Fines and material stick to the hopper walls and pan feeder and obstruct the material flow. Fines in your pre-screen build a solid block of ice and render your pre-screen useless causing more wear and tear inside the crusher. Remove your material and unplug your pre-screen before you shut down for the day.
- Let your machine heat up properly before you start feeding
Never start crushing with a cold engine because you risk damage to your mobile crusher. Allow ample time for fluids to warm up by letting the machine idle with your crusher, feeder, and conveyors shut off. This is especially important for hydraulically driven machines. Since many fluids have specific operating temperatures, it is important to ensure you are using the appropriate fluid types. Many manufacturers including RUBBLE MASTER offer special hydraulic oil options for extreme climate conditions. If you are using the wrong oil, you lack crushing power and struggle to keep your machine running.
RUBBLE MASTER’s diesel-electric drive doesn’t utilize hydraulics to operate conveyor belts or the crusher. Without the necessity to heat up hydraulic fluids you reduce your start-up time and save fuel.
- Utilize engine block heaters and hydraulic tank heaters
A heater system prevents the freezing of critical fluids and makes the machine start-up in harsh conditions easier and more cost-effective because you reduce your idle time and thus fuel costs. Typically, engine block heaters can be retrofitted for all major engine brands.