In a manufacturing environment, machines that work perfectly can still benefit from optimization. For example, it is now possible to improve the service life of machines and equipment thanks to high-performance materials, which are often used to design wear parts. Sacrificial parts are also an effective solution to reduce risks of equipment breakdowns. In this article, we will define the major role that these two parts can play not only on the frequency of maintenance but also on the prevention of equipment breakdowns.
What are wear parts?
As their name suggests, wear pars are easy to replace and engineered to wear out in place of a more expensive machine component. This avoids having to replace a costlier part with a longer and more complex repair time. A wear part acts as a shield between machine components and allows the system to operate at optimal capacity. Maintenance schedules can therefore be spaced out and repairs and upkeep will be much simpler to carry out, since only worn plastic parts need to be replaced.
"Why wear out a machine component whose maintenance is complex and expensive when you can wear out an easily replaceable plastic part”
Alex Tremblay-Frenette – Eng.
The advantages of wear parts
Reduce the frequency of major maintenance
Although wear parts also need to be replaced, they have the advantage of requiring simpler and less expensive maintenance than standard machine parts.
Reduce the time required for maintenance
Although production shutdowns are necessary, they can prove to be expensive. For this reason, they should be brief and efficient. Replacing a wear part is less complex than having to replace a machine component.
Improve the service life of the equipment
Wear parts are designed to withstand stress, friction and shocks, hence their name. For example, rather than directly wearing out machine or conveyor components, it is preferable to install UHMW wear parts that will not only reduce friction but also wear out, leaving the machine intact.
Since they are made of performance plastics with shock absorbing properties, wear parts help reduce impacts. This also reduces noise, increasing the comfort of operators and reducing the risks of occupational injuries.
Sacrificial parts: allies in case of breakdowns
Although their name may seem pejorative, sacrificial parts are a sizable asset and help ensure peace of mind for all manufacturing businesses.
They are so called because they protect other parts in case of breakdown. In the event of equipment failure, this part absorbs the stress or impacts generated by unexpected events. This avoids damage by preventing unnecessary strain on gears, conveyors and motor systems.
Advantages of sacrificial parts
Avoid costly repairs
Sacrificial parts are easy to replace, inexpensive and help avoid costly repairs. They also prevent major breakdowns by absorbing stress and ultimately breaking. Therefore, they spare the entire system by stopping movement.
Are easily accessed and replaced
These parts are strategically placed inside the system. They are therefore easy to access and can be efficiently and quickly replaced.
Liners are a good example of wear parts. Plastic liners made from a type of UHMW can easily be installed, protecting the metal surface of a hopper or chute from premature wear.
Wear parts also allow various features to be optimized. For instance, besides protecting the original surface, wear parts facilitate the flow of materials through the chute while reducing noise. Of course, the main purpose of a wear part is to be easily replaceable and above all less expensive than the part on which it is affixed. Once the liner is too worn out, it can be easily changed and will require much less maintenance time.
Sacrificial parts act as a protection in case of unforeseen circumstances or in the event of major failure. Their purpose is to absorb shocks and to break, thus stopping movement and preventing the system or machine from straining, which can cause damages requiring critical maintenance. For example, a plastic gear can be installed with the purpose of breaking in the event of a system overload to protect other components such as the transmission or the motor.