Service & Support

Make a Tough Machine Last Even Longer

Proper maintenance can make your rugged and durable Oliver separator last even longer. All Oliver machines have to stand up to constant flow of abrasive materials and nonstop vibration; we have developed time-tested machine troubleshooting tips techniques to counteract or minimize the effects of age and wear. Review the appropriate item below to troubleshoot any maintenance issues you may have:


At least half of the problems with new machines can be traced to backwards rotation of the fans. If It seems insufficient air is the problem, check fan rotation. When viewed from the motor end of any Oliver Gravity Separator, the fans and air shafts should run clockwise.


If there is insufficient air and the fans are running correctly, remove the deck and clean it. The deck can be cleaned best by blowing the dirt and chaff out from the top downward, while the gravity separator is running.


The air filters on the side of the machine are designed to screen dirt out of the air before it enters the machine. If they become plugged, the fans cannot pull enough air through them to provide proper separation. The air filters can be cleaned by removing them from the machine and gently tapping them on the floor. A more effective cleaning may be obtained by removing the filters and using compressed air to blow out the dirt.


Although Oliver Gravities are counterbalanced, they must be attached to a secure foundatlon. A six inch concrete slab is best, but is not absolutely essential. Many processors run Oliver Gravities on wooden floors with no problems. If any vibration can be felt in the floor while the machine is running, the foundation is probably too weak. Weak foundations lower the quality of separation because the foundation absorbs some of the oscillating action intended for separation.


Often merely lowering the operating capacity slightly will greatly improve the separation. Capacity is usually dependent on the standards to be met and the quality of material being fed onto the gravity. Quality and capacity are inversely related. That is, increasing capacity usually lowers quality; and decreasing capacity usually improves quality.


Loose clamps are not a common problem, but they occur more often than people realize. Loose clamps usually occur when an operator makes an adjustment and fails to tighten the clamps sufficiently. The result of loose clamps is false vibrations. False vibrations absorb much of the oscillatory action of the deck and produce results similar to weak foundations.


Deck covers are the portion of the machine that actually make the separation. Without friction between the deck cover and the material to be separated, no separation will result. Therefore, a cover must be selected that will perform well with a specific product. Using the wrong cover will cause poor quality separation in very low capacity and sometimes will cause sufficient damage to the deck that it must be rebuilt. Generally, the cover should have a rough surface texture and the openings should be as large as possible without allowing material to fall through. Oliver makes four standard decks: cloth for small grasses; 30 mesh wire for seeds the size of alfalfa and clovers; 16 mesh wire for seeds the size of wheat and oats; and a 10 mesh wire for large seed such as beans. A variety of special decks to meet particular needs are also available.


Belts commonly slip on new machinery. New belts have a tendency to stretch slightly and should be checked frequently during the first couple of weeks of operation. To check a belt, turn off the machine. Then apply pressure to the back of the belt midway between the two pulleys. The belt should deflect approximately 1/2 inch.


This is a very rare problem because normally a gravity separator will make some improvement in any seed lot. However, a gravity is a specialized machine designed to separate particles of varying density and similar sizes. If material does not fall into that classification, then it probably cannot be separated on a gravity.


The final pattern on the deck may vary slightly depending on the product being processed. But, optimal performance starts with the correct pattern depth.
In terms of actual measurements, we suggest depths that vary with the size of the product. Start with an average depth of material of from 1-2 inches for seed or other products the size of beans, from 1/2 to 1 inch for commodities the size of wheat seed, from 1/4 to 1/2 inch for materials the size of alfalfa seed and less than 1/4 inch for anything smaller than alfalfa seed.
Depth across the table will likely vary. As a general rule, the product depth along the high side of the machine should be from 1 to 3 times the depth along the low side of the machine. The average depth of material at the feed end of the machine should be from 2 to 4 times the average depth at the discharge end. Variations occur, based on the commodity being separated. However, approximation of these conditions on the deck surface will provide good starting separation. Make the necessary adjustments in tilt and air flow to obtain optimum separation.


This is most commonly a problem with new, inexperienced operators. The solution is usually more experience. Do not be afraid to adjust the machine. Make an adjustment. Wait a couple of minutes to determine the effect. Then decide if it is good or bad. If the effect is good, then try something else for further improvement. If the effect is bad, return to the original setting. Allow a couple of minutes and try another adjustment. Finally, remember to make all adjustments in small increments. It is better to approach the final setting through several small steps than to make one adjustment that might be too large.

If you have maintenance concerns not addressed here, please click here to contact us or call us at 719-254-7814. We will be glad to share our thoughts on the issues you may have. For the convenience of our customers, we maintain a laboratory service where we can process your sample. There is no charge and all samples will be returned upon your request. If you have a sample you would like to have tested, please call us. Then, we can discuss your problem and determine how much of a sample is needed for testing. If you like, we can set the test dates so you can be present during the test.