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6 Ways to Keep Your Sanitary Food Conveyor in Good Shape

Mar 12, 2024

Unexpected conveyor breakdowns can wreak havoc in food production facilities. Halted production lines, food safety risks, and increased costs are just some disruptions that can occur. 

However, these issues pale compared to the expense and downtime of replacing an improperly maintained conveyor system.

The good news is that there are several steps that food processors can take to minimize these risks and keep their production lines running smoothly. 

  1. Conducting Thorough and Regular Inspections
  2. Lubricating and Replacing Worn-Out Parts
  3. Emphasize Staff Training and Continuous Improvement
  4. Tailoring Maintenance for Different Types of Conveyors
  5. Documentation and Optimization
  6. Getting Outside Support for Major Repairs and Overhauls

Read on to discover how to maintain your food conveyor, avoid expensive disruptions, and maintain an efficient operation.


The lifespan of various types of food conveyors can differ significantly:

These estimations are based on general trends and can vary according to how well the conveyors are maintained, the frequency and type of use, and exposed environmental conditions.

Proper maintenance can significantly extend a conveyor’s lifespan. Regular inspections, timely repairs, and part replacements can add years to a conveyor’s service life, preventing the premature need for costly replacements. This proactive approach to maintenance ensures continuous operation and contributes to the conveyor system’s overall longevity.


Maintaining a clean conveyor system is crucial for ensuring overall efficiency and longevity. Regular cleaning helps prevent the buildup of debris and contaminants, which can lead to equipment failure, increased wear, and potential contamination of food products.

Different conveyors require specific cleaning methods to ensure optimal performance and sanitation. Common cleaning solutions include:

  • Belt Conveyor Cleaning: Often involves using scrapers, brushes, and washdown systems to remove debris and clean the belt surface.
  • Vibratory Conveyor Cleaning: Air knives, vacuums, and washdown systems may be used to clean the pan and remove debris.
  • Horizontal Motion Conveyor Cleaning: These solutions usually utilize washdown systems, brushes, and air knives to clean the conveyor and remove debris.
  • Bucket Elevator Cleaning: This may involve using brushes, air knives, and washdown systems to clean the buckets and elevator components.
  • Dumper Cleaning: Typically use washdown systems, brushes, and air knives to clean the dumper components and maintain a sanitary environment.

It is crucial to confirm that cleaning and sanitation protocols deliver the expected efficacy through microbial testing and visual inspections. Validate that all surfaces meet sanitary guidelines and adjust methods as needed based on actionable test results.

After processing frozen french fries, a vacuum or air knife might be needed to clean this vibratory conveyor.

With that in mind, the appropriate cleaning solution for your conveyor will depend on the conveyor type, the materials conveyed, and the specific application in the food processing environment.  


Six essential maintenance actions can help food processors extend the lifespan of their food conveyors and prevent unscheduled breakdowns. 

1. Conducting Thorough and Regular Inspections

Refer to the manufacturer’s equipment manuals for maintenance checklists and recommended inspection frequencies as an ideal starting point. These specifications outline optimal operating conditions, preventative upkeep cadences, safety information, and performance logging details unique to each system.

Preventative conveyor maintenance should be systematic and thorough. Technicians can use checklists tailored to different types of conveyors, detailing specific inspection points for each model. This process includes: 

  • Checking for damage, wear and tear
  • Ensuring alignment, and 
  • Monitoring the operational functionality of belts, pulleys, motors, and other critical components
  • Confirming safety component operation.

Food manufacturers can handle these regular checks internally with proper training. However, for more rigorous quarterly assessments, bringing in a specialist to help is advised. Comprehensive evaluations keep all mechanical and electrical aspects running safely and efficiently.

2. Lubricating and Replacing Worn-Out Parts

Lubricate moving components basic every few months. More involved biannual deep lubrication procedures may require outside specialists. Timely replacement of worn parts like belts, springs, and bushings also prevents breakdowns. 

Maintain an inventory of commonly replaced wear parts like belts, springs, and bushings to avoid production delays when replacements are needed. Having these essential spares on hand allows technicians to swap components rapidly and prevents the downtime of emergency parts procurement.

While staffers may be able to change out basic parts internally with some guidance, planning for specialty part fabrication or sourcing requires conveyor technician expertise. The specialized skills of expert technicians are best suited to source and design custom or intricate replacement components.

Proper lubrication and part replacement reduce friction and wear. This extends the lifespan of conveyors, cutting replacement costs significantly. It also leads to smoother operation and less unscheduled downtime. 

3. Emphasize Staff Training and Continuous Improvement

Regular staff training is vital for maintaining conveyor systems. Training sessions should cover basic maintenance and safety protocols and focus on continuous improvement strategies. 

By collaborating with industry specialists, employees receive comprehensive training beyond the basics. These sessions share best practices for equipment: 

  • Installations
  • Calibrations
  • Testing
  • Providing in-depth knowledge and hands-on experience with new and existing equipment.

The goal is to boost performance and prevent accidents through improved maintenance and safety habits. Ongoing education and collaboration with experts cultivate a culture focused on preventative care instead of reactive repairs. 

This proactive approach maximizes equipment lifespan and productivity and empowers employees to uphold rigorous safety standards to achieve operational excellence.

4. Tailoring Maintenance for Different Types of Conveyors

Each type of food conveyor system has unique maintenance needs. A one-size-fits-all approach to conveyor maintenance will not work. The required tasks vary widely depending on a system’s design, age, and usage.

A bucket conveyor is used to convey pet food during processing.

Belt Conveyors: Regular checks for belt alignment and wear are crucial. Monitor belt speed and vibration and ensure pulleys and bearings are in good condition.

Vibratory Conveyors: Focus on the regular tensioning of springs and tuning of motors. Also, inspect the construction of the pan for wear or damage.

Horizontal Motion Conveyors: Regularly inspect for bushing wear and assess the condition of the pan construction.

Bucket Elevators: Check the buckets for wear or damage, ensure the integrity of chains and sprockets, and confirm that drives and motors function correctly.

Dumpers: Maintain the stainless steel hydraulic cylinders and panel walls regularly.

Understanding and applying these specific food conveyor maintenance tasks are key to the effective upkeep of each type of conveyor system.

5. Documentation and Optimization

While food manufacturers can handle basic performance tracking and maintenance logs in-house, consider partnering with specialists for more complex needs. Comprehensive documentation ensures all conveyor data is readily available for failure and cost analysis.


Regular visual inspections, lubrication, wear parts replacement, and sanitation should be logged and stored. These maintenance logs can diagnose decreased uptime reasons or determine when it’s time for a repair, modification, or replacement.


While routine maintenance is manageable alone, consultants help manufacturers optimize production system-wide, utilizing documented data. Documentation gives internal teams and specialists the visibility of data to maximize performance. Their expertise can spot underlying issues and identify improvement opportunities.

Veteran technician guidance helps uncover optimization opportunities and innovations to minimize persistent issues. This breadth of experience provides an invaluable external perspective that spots potential blindspots to efficiency.

6. Getting Outside Support for Major Repairs and Overhauls

Food manufacturers can often do basic tasks like inspections and part replacements themselves. But it’s better to hire conveyor specialists for more extensive repairs or complete equipment checks.

Regular food conveyor maintenance keeps a PurMotion conveyor in excellent condition.

Major overhauls demand specialized expertise—thoroughly inspecting subsystems, rebuilding components, and validating overall integrity require skills that are challenging to match internally. Attempting substantial overhauls without appropriate capabilities risks improper assembly, calibration issues, or safety violations.

It’s wise to rely on expert outside assistance for:

  • Full motor/drive-train rebuilds
  • Complete belt/chain replacements
  • Electrical or sensor diagnostic checks
  • Life cycle cost modeling
  • Comprehensive health assessments


Selecting the right conveyor maintenance partner is key for long-term success in food processing. As a leading manufacturer, PFI understands the needs of both conveyor equipment and facilities. Our guidance covers best maintenance practices, upgrades, and operator training.

We build reliable, efficient systems designed for compliance and easy upkeep. This sustains smooth operations over time. Additionally, we offer maintenance packages to optimize any equipment, even other brands. With deep industry expertise, PFI goes beyond just selling conveyors—our goal is to ensure maximum production uptime and throughput for food processors.

Our conveyors stand out in the industry for their durability and efficiency. On average, PFI conveyors have a lifespan of 10-15 years longer than most competitors. This is due to our commitment to using high-quality parts and materials and incorporating maintenance and sanitation-friendly design features.  


Regular maintenance ensures improved efficiency, sanitation, and uptime. PFI sanitary conveyors help food processors maximize performance, reliability, and long-term savings. We invite you to explore our page below to learn more about our innovative food conveyor solutions.

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