A drop-size carrot sorter, with Vesconite plain bearings installed on its conveyor chains, has worked well at South Africa’s largest carrot producer for two years.
The carrot producer installed the bearings on one of its two processing lines to test whether the processing line with Vesconite performed better than the standard processing line.
Since installation, the farm reports that Vesconite bearings on its conveyor chains have reduced wear and resulted in quieter operation.
A drop-size sorter consists of a mainframe with sprockets on each side. A chain runs on the sprockets and a polyethylene plate is attached. Rollers, spaced increasingly further apart, are located on the polyethylene plate and carrots, depending on their size, fall through the differently-spaced rollers into bins below.
Ensuring the smooth operation of the sorting machine, including the bearings on its roller chains, is thus paramount.
Vesconite agricultural application engineer Johan Cronje says: “Farmers are concerned about conveyor chain wear. A break in any one of the steel links means that the entire chain needs replacing.”
Chain replacement can be extremely costly. Besides the cost of the chain, a chain breakage could result in a drop-size sorter being out of operation for a day, with resulting losses in production and processing time.
Quieter operation is also important for animal welfare, since animals prefer quieter environments, and human health and safety, since workers may be sorting and working near the traditionally-noisy machines, states Cronje.