When to Replace Crushing Equipment to Boost Capacity

Aug. 17, 2018

Change is a necessary component in the aggregate industry. There comes a time when equipment needs adjusted or replaced in order to prevent downtime, and keep a plant running smoothly.

Screens wear out. Conveyors break down. And crushers, eventually, need to be replaced.

Fortunately, although crusher replacement isn’t frequent (crushers typically last for 30 to 40 years), it also doesn’t need to be inordinately difficult. And, while components like screens and conveyors are certainly replaced more frequently than crushers themselves, those changes also don’t need to slow production.

In fact, done correctly, they can often improve it.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at crusher and part replacement. We’ll look at screens, conveyors, and crushers, with an eye toward when each component should be replaced and how it can best be done to ensure your plant keeps producing what’s asked of it. 

When to Replace Screens

The most obvious sign a replacement screen is needed is the presence of holes or obvious wear. 

Traditionally, screen media have been made from steel wire. It’s an effective material, and it’s certainly capable of filtering and controlling flow. In recent years, newer products have been brought to the market that have improved durability. Rubber or urethane modular screen panels, for example, tend to need replacement less frequently than traditional steel wire screens.

It’s important to note that modular panels have a lower open area percentage, which means that it’s better suited for use on larger product.  (Note:  Replacing wire cloth with modular panels on an existing screen may actually decrease its efficiency due to the reduced open area percentage.  Sometimes this may mean that a larger screen may be required depending on the capacity required on the decks.) 

Consider screen replacement as the material being produced changes. Even if there isn’t obvious wear on a screen, you’ll boost capacity if you’re using a material that’s well-suited for your product.

When to Replace Conveyors

Without properly functioning conveyors, your crushing plant will grind to a quick halt. Ensure that you’re replacing components as they wear in order to maintain the flow of material.

Again, the obvious sign that replacement is needed is visible wear and tear. Be sure to monitor all conveyor components for this (V-belts, guarding, pulleys, idlers, etc.).

 Additionally, replacement will become necessary if you’re looking to increase the capacity of production. When you start reaching the limits of the horsepower of your current conveyors, and require more to move the material you’re producing, that’s problematic. Volumetric capacity is a concern as well – you don’t want material spilling over and out. 

So, don’t work under an assumption that your current setup will be able to process changes in capacity. Instead, be willing to replace and upgrade conveyors as production demands change. 

When to Replace Crushers

Finally, let’s take a look at when you should replace the engine behind it all – the crusher itself.

This is obviously the biggest replacement you can make at your crushing plant, so it’s important to do it correctly. Because crushers tend to last multiple decades, there can be inertia against actually making the leap to a new machine – but when the time comes, it’s necessary.

One of the more telling signs that crusher replacement is needed is when maintenance costs rise past reasonable expectations – or even rival the cost of a new machine on an annual basis. Older crushers will begin to wear out liners, bearings, and bushings prematurely.

Additionally, replacement may become a necessity when your plant simply can’t make production quotas under normal operating hours. Whether this is due to a slow decline in capacity over time or an increase in demand, it’s a sign that the time for replacement has come. 

At the end of the day, if you can predict that making the replacement will result in a positive ROI within a one-to-three-year timeframe, it’s probably best to make the leap. Sales projections should factor into that. 

When the time comes for a crusher replacement, plan to impact production as minimally as possible; often full-scale replacement can be done during a weekend shutdown, and the plant can be back up and running with boosted capacity on the next normal operating schedule.

Work with Mellott to Ensure Optimal Crusher Replacement

There’s no denying that change is hard. But, in the case of crusher replacement, when it boosts your capacity and results in a positive ROI, it’s for the best. 

Want to ensure that you’re replacing parts and equipment when you need to? Or, are you looking for replacement equipment you can depend on? Get in touch with us.

At Mellott Company, we’ve been maintaining crushers for decades with dependable parts and services. We can work with you to ensure that you’re phasing out your equipment in a way that will boost your plant’s capacity through high quality replacements. 

You can find and purchase the crusher parts you’re looking for in our online product listing or get in touch with us online if your crushing needs are more specific.

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