8 Tips to Extend the Life of Your PHA Straw Machine

Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) straws are gaining popularity as an eco-friendly alternative to traditional plastic straws.  As demand for these biodegradable straws continues to increase, ensuring the longevity and efficiency of PHA straw machines is critical for manufacturers.

Straw-making machines that break down or stop functioning properly after just a few years of use typically face issues due to 2 main reasons:

  1. Quality problems with the straw-making equipment

To avoid losses caused by poor quality equipment, straw manufacturers should take the following precautions when purchasing machinery:

  • Choose a reputable straw machine manufacturer
  • Conduct on-site inspections of potential suppliers
  • Compare several manufacturers in the same category
  • Be cautious about buying equipment without brand guarantees, after-sales support, or technical backing

A high-quality straw-making machine should be able to operate effectively for 10-15 years or more.

Three-Color Co-Extrude Drinking Straw Extruder 2
  1. Lack of regular maintenance on the machinery

It’s crucial to prioritize routine maintenance of straw-making equipment. Regular upkeep not only ensures the machinery continues to run stably but also extends its operational lifespan.

Proper maintenance is essential for:

  • Ensuring consistent performance
  • Preventing unexpected breakdowns
  • Maximizing the longevity of the equipment

By addressing these two factors – choosing quality equipment and performing regular maintenance – manufacturers can significantly improve the reliability and lifespan of their straw-making machines.

To avoid the aforementioned issues, you can refer to the following tips and tricks when using your straw-making machine:

1. Regular Maintenance and Inspection

  • Routine Checks: Implement a regular maintenance schedule to inspect all parts of the machine. Look for signs of wear and tear, such as cracks, rust, or unusual noises. Early detection of potential problems can prevent costly repairs and downtime.
  • Cleaning: Keep the machine clean to prevent debris and contaminants from accumulating. Regularly clean the machine’s components, especially the extruder and molds, to ensure smooth operation and prevent blockages.

2. Use High-Quality Raw Materials

  • Material Consistency: Ensure that the PHA granules used are of high quality, with consistent size and composition. Impurities or inconsistencies in the raw materials can cause blockages and damage the machine.
  • Proper Storage: Store PHA granules in a cool, dry place to prevent moisture absorption, which can affect the material properties and machine performance.
pha/pla straw

3. Optimize Operating Conditions

  • Temperature Control: Maintain optimal temperature settings for the extruder and other heating elements. Overheating or underheating can affect the quality of the straws and place unnecessary strain on the machine.
  • Speed Adjustment: Adjust the machine’s operating speed based on the material characteristics and desired output. Running the machine at too high a speed can lead to premature wear.
  • Belt Check: Ensure that the belts are properly installed on the pulleys before operating the equipment.

4. Train Your Staff

  • Proper Training: Ensure that all operators and maintenance personnel are well-trained in machine operation and maintenance procedures. Proper training can reduce the risk of operator errors and extend the machine’s lifespan.
  • Safety Protocols: Implement and enforce safety protocols to protect both the machine and the operators. Correct operation and adherence to safety guidelines can prevent accidents and equipment damage.

5. Gearbox Maintenance

  • Oil Level Check: Open the gearbox cover once a month to check if the oil level is reasonable. Generally, the oil should be changed every two months (30# machine oil is recommended).

6. Lubrication Checks

  • Lubrication Oil: Regularly check if the lubricating oil in the reducer and other parts is sufficient, typically adding oil once a month.

7. Bearing Lubrication

  • Calcium-Based Grease: Replace the calcium-based grease in the bearings and bearing seats of the traction unit every six months.

8. General Cleanliness

  • Gear and Chain Lubrication: Keep the machine clean, and lubricate the gear and chain drive parts with grease every six months to ensure the normal operation of the transmission mechanism.

Extending the lifespan of PHA straw-making machines requires regular maintenance to ensure efficient and reliable operation. Investing in prolonging the equipment’s life not only saves costs in the long run but also supports your commitment to environmental sustainability.

If you have any operational or technical questions about your straw-making machine, please contact us to receive a free copy of our “Common Issues and Solutions in Straw Production” guide.

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