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Reduce Downtime in the Grain Industry

October 19, 2021

The agricultural industry has been innovating new ways to produce and move products faster and more cost effectively for centuries. From the quarter horse to the Iron Horse, from the wagon to semi truck, farmers and ag professionals have found quicker ways to move their harvest and increase their yield. 

Today, agricultural en-masse and drag conveyor systems are the fastest and most consistent means of transporting agricultural bulk materials along the supply chain, from the farm to grain processing and beyond. These conveyors are designed to move large amounts of grain horizontally or at inclined angles quickly, while preserving the integrity and quality of the product. 

With thin margins and a tight turnaround, the ag industry doesn’t have time for downtime. If your conveyor systems break down, the whole supply chain experiences disruptions. 

What’s causing the breakdown? Here are several common issues people encounter with their conveying systems in the grain industry:

Broken Sidebars

Typically, sidebars only break as a result of being overloaded or from obstructions due to cyclic stresses. It’s tempting to push more product through faster, but this product overload can kill your conveyor system and result in long downtimes.  

If your sidebar is breaking under normal use, you might be using too light of a chain.

Worn Out Chain

One way to extend the life of your conveyor and prevent breakdowns is to regularly address chain wear. Over time, a chain will wear down and break first at the pin before it ever breaks at the sidebar. The pin undergoes the most stress from normal operating conditions and gradually weakens from use until the pin breaks.

It’s far cheaper to run regular maintenance checks to catch a worn out piece of equipment than it is to deal with damaged equipment. All of that downtime has a ripple effect on your supply chain. Institute a regular preventative maintenance routine by your in-house mechanic or consult with Webster Industries for preventative maintenance recommendations for chains and conveyors. 

Wrong Chain

As mentioned above, sometimes damage to your conveyor system is the result of using too light of a chain. Similar problems occur when there’s too wide of a flight on too narrow of a chain.

A good rule of thumb is the 5-to-1 rule: the maximum overall width of the flight should be no more than five times the narrow end of the chain.

Subpar parts result in longer downtimes. Stainless steel material and different heat treatment options increase the longevity of chains, pins, sidebars, and flights. Webster Industries specializes in producing parts for the grain industry that withstand the day-to-day wear and tear of running en-masse and drag grain conveyors.

Addressing Your Grain Conveyor Issues

No matter what has caused the breakdown, Webster Industries can help you troubleshoot the inefficiencies in your drag and en-masse grain conveyor systems to make sure that your systems operate at their prime efficiency. We conduct regular wear analyses to determine the right time to replace conveyor parts. We also specialize in manufacturing quality mill chains, SBR chains, and UHMW flights for drag and en masse conveyors.


The Webster engineering team is ready and willing to help you troubleshoot immediate conveyor challenges you’re facing. When something breaks down, make Webster your first call, at (800) 243-9327. We can make sure that your production line keeps moving longer and more efficiently with the best conveyor and chain equipment in place. We are readily available 24/7 - 365 days a year.

Give Webster Industries a call today or contact us now to keep your grain conveyor systems rolling.

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