Debarkers are some of the most important pieces of equipment in a lumber mill. As long as they’re running smoothly, the mill will be able to keep up its output. But as soon as something happens to the debarker, everything grinds to a halt.
Outages caused by debarker failures are more common than they should be, partly because they’re complicated machines with lots of moving parts, and partly because mill managers tend to overlook them when it comes to proactive maintenance.
Mills can avoid debarker problems and related outages by engaging in proactive debarker maintenance that seeks to head off problems before they occur, thus saving time and money.
Here are three tips for debarker maintenance.
Pay Attention to Lubrication
One of the most common causes of debarker breakdowns is inadequate lubrication.
Without proper lubrication, a debarker is vulnerable to damage that can result in extensive outages and even having to replace the entire machine. Regularly inspect the lubrication lines that feed the debarker, look for loose fittings, and check to make sure your feed gears are being properly lubricated. Keep tabs on your lube pumps as well.
Also, keep a schedule that dictates how often each component needs to be lubricated with the recommended amount.
Listen Carefully to Your Machine
Most operators visually inspect their debarkers to check for problems, but many neglect another sense: hearing.
Pay attention to how your debarker sounds when it’s operating. Take note of how it sounds when the machine is running properly. That gives you a baseline to check against whenever you hear an unusual sound or vibration. Chances are, that unusual sound is indicative of a problem, or at least a hotspot that needs to be checked.
Don’t Ignore the Feed System
Your feed system needs to run smoothly if you’re going to have an effective production cycle. Feedroll and insert conditions in particular have to be monitored.
The main thing you’re looking for is your components getting worn down. This happens most commonly to your inserts or spikes. Worn-down inserts can actually be a safety hazard in addition to being inefficient, so they should be replaced as soon as you notice their condition.
Also look to see if your feed gears are getting worn down. Wear patterns should be easy to identify if you’re keeping a regular eye on the gear mechanisms. Check these gears daily and do a deeper inspection three times a week.
Debarker maintenance is essential if you’re going to have a woodyard that runs at peak efficiency. Contact Southern Field for more information on maintaining and inspecting your debarkers and optimizing your processes for better ROI.