June 2002

Engineering Case Histories

Case 9: The machine remembered

Machines have a memory of overstressed conditions

Sofronas, A., Consulting Engineer

Most involved with machinery have heard the story, "Yes, it was overloaded. But the machine is back to normal now, so no harm was done." For machinery this is not necessarily so, as this case history shows. Vibrating conveyors are used to transport difficult-to-handle products, and this one had failed after only three years of service. Machine designers keep operating stresses very low in vibrating conveyors because if overstressed, they are excellent weld fatigue test machines. This particular conveyor operates at 500 strokes a minute (30,000 cycles per hour). With a three-year run length before a failure occurred, de

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