Tips for safely and efficiently installing screen media

By |  November 7, 2022
A proper screen media installation can make all the difference when it comes to prolonging the life of a screen. Photo: Major

A proper screen media installation can make all the difference when it comes to prolonging the life of a screen. Photo: Major

Choosing the right screen media for an aggregate operation is critical to produce the highest throughput. Perhaps equally important, though, is the way in which media is installed.

Proper installation, which includes accurate tightening, can make all the difference when it comes to prolonging the life of a screen. Manufacturers often offer installation guides that should be followed closely. And while specifics depend on the type of media, there are some general tips that apply to most.

By following correct procedures and training, employees can ensure an efficient, secure and safe operation.

Before starting installation

Employees who install screen media should be refreshed on the basics of screen maintenance and care.

Start by inspecting the condition of all vibrating screen components and replace if necessary. Check for worn crown bars, bent clamping rails and weak or broken coil and leaf springs. Also, examine the machine for cracks, broken welds and loose bolts. Any issues should be repaired before proceeding with the media installation.

Lastly, clean the decks properly, including side rails and support bars.

Correct & efficient installation

Before beginning an installation, read through the manufacturer’s instructions on the process. While likely similar, not all manufacturers’ screens follow the exact same installation process. Additionally, ensure the panel is the correct size and orientation before installation.

Installers should replace crown bar rubber with each new set of screens. If crown bar rubber isn’t installed with each new set, it will not sit properly on the crown bar and will cause the cloth to break.

Also, make sure all support bars touch the screen and the tension matches the manufacturer’s recommendations. If the tension is too loose, it can result in premature breakage and pose a potential increase in blinding problems.

Installers should perform a string test to ensure the screen touches each support bar. They can do this by running a string from sideplate to sideplate over the crown bars. Pull the string tight, and look for any gaps between the string and crown bars. If there are gaps, adjust the height of the crown bars. If the gaps aren’t eliminated, breakage of the screen is likely.

Next, line up the polyurethane strips on the screen cloth. These strips must line up with the crown bars. If they don’t, the life of the screen will be much shorter and less efficient.

Check the width, length and screen ledge before continuing. If the length of the screen doesn’t match the length of the clamping rails, don’t install. Doing so can result in screen breakage during production.

For tensioned screen media, the biggest element to screen media installation is tensioning the screen. When tensioning, always tighten inner clamp rail bolts first before moving on to the outside bolts. The tension of the screen should resemble that of a drum, and it should not flex when pressed.

Safety first

Screen installations should never be done alone. Always ensure more than one worker is involved in the process. Make sure workers follow safety procedures – especially while working at heights – and wear the proper PPE.

Screen media is sharp, and it can be harmful if protection isn’t used. Some screens, however, are lighter and manufactured with a shroud of metal to cover the hooks to heighten safety.

Troubleshooting & diagnostics

If screen media isn’t working correctly, take a look at the instruction manual from the manufacturer. Often, a small adjustment can make a big impact on the efficiency of the machine.

After installing new screens, a vibration analysis should be done. Vibration analysis systems can be a useful way to not only monitor and fine-tune a vibrating screen’s health, but also to spot small inconsistencies that can lead to large problems.

For example, an imbalanced screen left unnoticed can lead to premature component wear or possibly even screen failure. Work with a manufacturer or a dealer to conduct the analysis. Some vibration analysis tools don’t require machines to be shut down to conduct testing, allowing operations to run as usual.

Improper media installation is the biggest cause of premature failure on a deck. Preemptive maintenance is key. Operations should check the installation at least once a week to ensure screens are secure and in place. Also, look at surrounding components for issues such as wear, corrosion and cracks.

Properly installing media, as well as conducting routine checks, will help to prevent costly, unplanned downtime.

Lars Bräunling is the director of product technology at Major.

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