Haunting around a "crooked" belt

"We had delivered the wire conveyor belt only four weeks earlier. The customer had pulled it in and put it into operation as usual. Everything worked perfectly. So when the customer called and described the problem, we couldn't explain the phenomenon at first."

Edgar Kischel, responsible for wire belt sales at HEIN, LEHMANN, had the customer explain to him exactly what was going on. Then he decided: We'll go to the company and take a close look at the matter on site. No sooner said than done!

"It turned out that the belt was running extremely unsteady. The belt swayed more than 150 millimetres in the running direction - sometimes to the right and then again to the left."

It goes without saying that this belt behaviour considerably disrupted a smooth production run. But no one knew where the problem lay - or rather, where the belt lay! Edgar Kischel and his colleagues discovered the following:

"It was always just the early shift that was busy every morning getting the belt to run reasonably straight. To do this, they adjusted the existing control rollers over and over again. Once that was done, everything ran smoothly again. Neither the midday shift nor the night shift reported anything unusual about the belt running."

But every morning the early shift was confronted with the same problem again: The belt was ... going wrong! So everyone asked themselves the same question: Why was it only the early shift that was struggling with the belt? Was the whole thing some kind of haunting?

"To find the solution, we asked whether there was a supervisor on every shift. Here we received the first investigative approach: there was a supervisor, but only on the early and midday shifts, not on the night shift. So we proposed to establish a supervisor for this time as well."

Eager for further observations by the customer, Edgar Kischel and his colleagues drove home again. Only two days later, the phone rang - and the customer came back with good news: the problem had been solved.

But how?

"It all had to do with the World Cup, which had taken place in Brazil at the time. It turned out that the employees on the night shift were enthusiastically watching one or two of the games. In order to miss as little of it as possible and still achieve the normal production quantities, they made a mistake that regularly threw the belt off track: they overloaded it. This caused the belt geometry to warp - and ultimately the belt to sway."

So no haunted ghosts were found in our client's business. It had "only" been the ghost of the World Cup that had caused chaos.

Do you also have a challenge and need a partner who has the best solutions at hand? Contact us - we will be happy to advise you.