When it comes to steam tunnel finishing, one of the items that routinely gets overlooked is the conveyor system that transports your garments from garment loading, through the steam tunnel finisher, and then to sort.
Regardless of what brand conveyor you have, the most popular and widely used of these is a chain style with an upright pendant that pushes the hanger along on the conveyor tubing or a “cactus” or “helping hand” chain that actually carry’s the garments through. Regardless of the type of conveyor you have, these systems are critical to maintaining acceptable production rates.
All of these systems provide positive garment spacing at approximately 3” garment center-to-garment center. Steam tunnel finishers are designed to operate optimally with the conveyor fully loaded, this will promote the most efficient and effective airflow and heat delivery with the least amount of loss. So it is important that you inspect your conveyor chain to see if there are any broken of missing pendants. Every missing pendant will represent lost production opportunity as well as increased inefficiencies in process. We have seen operational conveyor systems with as many as 20% of the upright pendants missing; if you are operating the conveyor at 1,000 garments per hour, you will be effectively missing 200 garments per hour of productive opportunity. That’s almost one operator’s worth of lost production! Not to mention the loss in airflow and heat which is like throwing away profits.
I read a quote one time from the Ignorance is Bliss School of Planning that went something like this: “The nice thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise and is not preceded by a period of worry or depression”. Routine inspection and servicing of your system can prevent costly down time. Please contact the manufacturer of your conveyor system for a recommended PM schedule, proper lubricants, best practices, etc. A full inspection of your system should be conducted on a monthly basis though.