Buschman Conveyors: Common Repairs, Upgrades & Spare Parts
The Buschman Company brand of conveyors are a legacy brand, for many order fulfillment operations and warehouses around the country. Though no longer pristine equipment, a large quantity Buschman conveyors are still in warehouses and distribution centers across the U.S.
Below, we explore the history of the Buschman Company and take a look at the most popular types of conveyors that it produced. We also discuss the most common repairs that existing Buschman conveyors see, discuss spare parts, and outline potential upgrades for operations who are considering making a switch from an aging Buschman to newer and more reliable conveyor.
A Brief History of the Buschman Company
The Buschman Company was founded in 1932 in Cincinnati and produced a range of conveyors and conveyance technologies. The company was acquired by Pinnacle Automation, Inc. in 1992, joining the Pinnacle family of brands which at the time included Real Time Solutions (RTS), Alvey, and White Systems.
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In the year 2000, Pinnacle (and Buschman) became a member of FKI Logistex. At the time, the newly formed company was comprised of: Buschman, Alvey, RTS, Crisplant, White Systems, Mathews Conveyor, DAVCO, and SNE Systems.
In 2009, Intelligrated (now Honeywell Intelligrated) purchased the North and South American operations of FKI Logistex, including the Buschman brand of conveyors.
Usually, when someone refers to “Buschman conveyors,” they are referring to either live-roller or belt conveyors, or to certain sorters, which were produced and manufactured by the company. Relatively simple systems in terms of their functionality and complexity, even aging Buschman conveyors have remained in service for years, with relatively little upkeep required other than routine maintenance on most models. Other models can require much more attention.
That being said, as these machines age they do tend to require additional maintenance and upkeep. Parts wear more easily, repairs become more common, and unexpected downtime rises.
Common Repairs for Buschman Conveyors
Given enough time, friction, and wear and tear, every component of a conveyor will eventually break down and need to be replaced. That goes for Buschman conveyors as much as it does for any other brand or manufacturer. Sprockets break, motors burn out, gearboxes fail, and so on.
Generally speaking, the most common repairs for Buschman conveyors include:
- Wear items: Any moving part, especially those that experience a lot of friction or which actually physically convey product, will see a lot of wear and tear, and typically need to be replaced fairly frequently. Rollers, padding, and clutching mechanisms (clutch assemblies) fall into this category.
- Proprietary Items: For example, the drive pulley is the component responsible for turning the belt, and therefore sees a lot of movement during regular use. In Buschman conveyors, this is a proprietary piece of equipment which can not be swapped in for the same piece from a different manufacturer.
Spare Parts for Buschman Conveyors
Unfortunately, because Buschman is an older brand which no longer exists, many operations have a hard time sourcing spare parts for their Buschman conveyors. This can lead to operations-halting downtime in the event of a major break.
To combat this, we typically recommend that organizations follow a predictive spare parts management process, rather than a reactive one. This ensures that an operation has a.) sourced a trusted supplier of spare parts, b.) stocks the most critical components on site so that they are readily available in the event of a part failure, and c.) undergoes regular maintenance and auditing to preventatively identify potential issues.
In our experience, the most important spare parts that an operation should always have on hand are those that make up the drivetrain: A replacement motor, gearboxes, etc. If any of these parts were to fail, the entire operation would be forced to stop until a new part is sourced and installed; having the replacement on hand has the potential to substantially reduce that unplanned downtime. Similarly, an operation should have an adequate stock of any wear items that are likely to fail at any given time.
Upgrade Options for Buschman Conveyors
As mentioned previously, the Buschman conveyors currently in use in DCs and warehouses around the country are many years old. Because they are so dated, it can be fairly difficult to meaningfully upgrade existing Buschman systems. For operations which are happy with the performance of their conveyors, and who don’t need new functionality, the general recommendation would simply be to perform routine maintenance and stock critical spare parts.
As Buschman conveyors—like all legacy equipment—continues to age, the technology will inevitably begin to experience more errors, repairs, and unplanned downtime. Eventually the costs associated with repair and downtime will exceed the theoretical costs associated with replacing the equipment with something newer and more reliable. This will likely happen much sooner for operations which have seen their average order size/type change dramatically since the conveyor was originally installed. In these cases, the logical next step would be to replace the conveyor with a new piece of technology, such as an Accuglide or IntelliQ conveyor, or to dramatically rethink the layout and flow of their facility.
For operations which are seeking to increase productivity and efficiency, but which do not want to replace their existing conveyor, it may be possible to augment the system through the use of ancillary technologies or strategies. Shifting to technologies such as AMRs, AGVs, or AS/RS can lead to tremendous improvements.
Determining The Path Forward for Your Operation
If you have an aging Buschman conveyor or other aging order fulfillment technology in your operation, it can be difficult to know the exact best path forward for your business. Should you continue to maintain and repair your existing technology, or should you begin planning to make a shift to something new? At what point does purchasing new equipment make the most financial sense?
The answers to these questions will ultimately be specific to each unique operation and business. Working with a skilled and trusted systems integrator who can conduct a material handling systems audit for your business can help you answer these questions and identify other issues potentially causing your operation unplanned downtime and inefficiencies.
If you are looking for spare parts for your Buschman Conveyor, you can purchase those here.