Thursday, June 24, 2010

Knowing your conveyor oven

Brown has produced conveyor ovens for over 30 years. Many of the steel beasts are still in production. That is why we have a reputation of building some of the finest equipment in the industry and we have repeat customers. However, with so many of them in the field we take an amazing amount of service calls daily. Here are some tips for maintaining and using these dryers.

In all Brown and Harco brand dryers that have thermocouple heat controls the t-couple is located under the center heater and is designed to read the air temperature of the chamber at belt level. That means that you should have your dryer set at about 340. This is the oven temperature, not the temp of your garments. These temps are based on time within the chamber. Just like baking a cake, you have to leave the shirts in for the proper amount of time.

Many of our competitor's units place their t-couple inside a heater element. With these units your temperature settings need to be higher, maybe as high as 800. Remember you are reading the temp of an element, not the chamber. If an element goes out, you will not know it on your digital control but your shirts won't cure.

What I am telling you is that if you set your Brown or Harco dryers at 500+ your will be wasting power and not getting any control over the heat. Turn it down already.

Power Fluctuations:
We get calls, usually in the summer months, that dryers are suddenly not curing. After checking out the dryer we determine that it is functioning properly. What has happened is that the power companies are altering the amount of power going to the facility and the dryer has less power to keep the heaters hot. Very common when all the air conditioners are running. But this makes the dryer run cooler and react slower to shirts being fed into it. All you can do is slow down, wait a day or so, and then the power will be restored.

Working heaters:
Older dryers did not have indicator lights for the heaters. Newer dryers do. The lights are designed to blink on and off when the heaters are working. If they are on all the time, there is a problem. If they do not turn on, you have another problem. Either way, call the manufacturer.

For older dryers, when you notice a drop in heat (like when your shirts aren't cured) then you need to check the heaters manually. Here is a cheap test. Use a 2x4 that will go through the chamber. Staple toilet paper the length of the board. Raise the board to within 1" of the heaters and prop it up so that the belt will run. Leave it in position for 30 minutes. When you remove the board, you should have a scorch mark for each heater. Call us with your findings.

Belt and fan motors:
Get over the fact that you will need new motors about every 10 years. If the fans do not work, the air flow in the dryer will be affected and the heat will fluctuate.

With belt motors, you need the motor control too. Suck it up and spend the $300. Lasts 10 years and if you don't you will keep replacing parts every year and a half.

Final suggestion:
Nothing against electricians. Do not call one. They are usually household type and have no idea what they are looking at. Textile dryers are simple to fix. Most of the time, an operator and a phone with a few tools and you are good to go. Follow the instructions of the manufacturer's service tech.

We look forward to your calls. Sometimes, we will tell you that your unit is too old. There is no such thing as Hospice care for a conveyor oven. Not worth the money and there aren't any sentiments attached to the thing. Good tools require maintenance and occasional replacement.

Keep in mind, we take trade-ins.