Not Your Average Road Trip!

A couple of summers ago, a fellow marketing teammate and I tagged along with one of our belt cleaner technicians in Nashville, TN. We like to refer to these expert technicians as "Mr. Blade."

Regular belt cleaner maintenance ensures productivity

We visited a quarry with several conveyors in operation. Our goal for this visit, as with all regular stops on Mr. Blade routes, was to inspect all belt cleaners and replace any worn blades and perform any maintenance needed.

belt cleaners systems need regular attention and maintenance

I quickly learned that a Mr. Blade ride-a-long is not for the meek. Why did I think it would be a good idea to walk up and down conveyors all day in the 100-degree heat while 7 months pregnant?! All joking aside, I give the Mr. Blade crew a lot of credit, and I can see why it is beneficial for our customers. There are tight time frames as to when the belts shut down to be able to cut, mill, and install blades. Mr. Blade was working like a mad man to meet the operation's timeframe and:   

1) Inspect the belt cleaners

2) Gauge which ones needed the most attention

3) Track down the maintenance manager to inform him (some plants like this step before action is taken while others operate on a "just do what needs done" basis.)

4) Replace the blades

"Take Your Child To Work Day"

Belt cleaner inspection can be similar to regular doctor visits

Conveyor belt inspections should be treated like prenatal care....frequent and thorough

At the end of the day (and several band-aids on my heels later), we had inspected all belt cleaners and replaced five blades. It was a long, hot, and tiresome day but nothing some Nashville sweet tea and hot chicken didn't solve! I survived and that extra weight & big-belly bump that accompanied me that day is now three! I can tell him the story of how he went to work with me for an adventurous few days. 


Just like I had to go to many checkups/doctor visits while pregnant, belt cleaners should be regularly inspected and maintained to ensure optimal performance. 

More Info On Mr. Blade - See How It Benefits Others

A little more about day #1

Before my coworker and I put on our hardhats and steel-toed boots (those were not easy to lace up!) and headed to the quarry, we made sure we had a plan of action. That plan included filling in our Mr. Blade teammate on my condition and to maybe, please, possibly "go easy on me" and choose my day on-site accordingly. You know, give the harder, longer, and hotter day to my younger and non-pregnant counterpart. She was willing to take one for the team. I went first, see summary below:

  • Hit the road bright and early
  • Had about an hour commute (1-way)
  • Got on-site and did safety training
  • Had a quick conversation with the plant manager 
  • Walked across the quarry to each conveyor location
  • Climbed lots of stairs
  • Crawled over and under conveyor walkways to access each side of the conveyor
  • Laid on countless hard grates/flooring to inspect the underside of the conveyor/belt cleaning systems
  • Took a quick break/breather while Mr. Blade ran to the van to cut a blade. Let me tell you, that white-hot cement is hot!! Not sure what was the lesser of two evils - giving my tired and swollen feet a break or enduring the heat which quickly radiated through my jeans, burning my legs and backside.
  • Grabbed a quick snack to eat because it was too hot to really have an appetite
  • Repeat, Repeat, Repeat...

Day 2: My turn to "rest" & my coworker's turn to get dirty

So I'm sure you can guess my shock and astonishment when my coworker departed a little after breakfast for her day on-site only to stroll into the hotel lobby two short hours later. TWO SHORT HOURS! It seems I had such a busy, jam-packed, and productive day that day 2 was short and sweet. SHORT AND SWEET! 

belt cleaner inspections should be a regular occurrence

And for the icing on the cake, it was overcast, cloudy, and really cooled down after a nice, quick, light rain came through. I might still be licking those wounds - ha! And if you can't face looked like this →

We still aren't sure how the days and agenda got so mixed up, and I would like to point out that my coworker got to enjoy a summer pregnancy shortly after this...I'm not sure why she didn't want to take another road trip! It was a learning experience and I'm glad I went. 

Need help keeping up?

My main takeaway: it was enlightening how the customer was relieved to not have to deal with inspecting, tensioning, maintaining, and replacing the belt cleaners. We showed up and the customer had the trust and assurance to turn it over to us and not be bothered with the details. They just wanted us to handle it - less on their plate. 

Keeping your belt cleaners operating at maximum productivity is very important to your operation. If you get shorthanded or overtasked and need help, Mr. Blade is here. I can personally vouch for their expertise, knowledge, hard work, and how they strive to keep your belt cleaners efficient and productive.