Industrial conveyors are a critical component for handling bulk solids. Issues with these units can disrupt production and cost you valuable time and money in repairs and downtime.
Regularly checking the alignment of a belt conveyor can help reduce mistracking. Also, routinely cleaning the belt, idlers, and pulleys can prevent excess material buildup.
Squaring the Belt Ends
Belt lacing is a powerful method of splicing conveyor belts and can greatly increase the life of your system. However, it is important to follow procedures accurately to ensure the splices are straight and square.
If a splice is not square, it can lead to uneven tension distribution and other problems with the conveyor system. Signs of a crooked or skewed lace can include ragged edges that scrape against skirtboards and ironwork.
To properly square a belt end, it is best to do it before cutting the belt with a knife. This helps to ensure a straight cut that will make it easy to install the new splice. It also helps to minimize the time the knife is in contact with the belt.
Using a Center Line
Industrial conveyors typically use two types of lacing: over-clinch and under-clinch. Both require precision during installation to ensure a strong, straight splice.
Using the center line method can help ensure this. Start by measuring the center points of the belt at intervals across its width, a distance back from your intended splice area. Mark these points and use a square to draw a line perpendicular to the average center point that will serve as your cut line.
This technique works well for cleated or chevron belts containing material on steeper angles. However, these methods are less effective on cylindrical-conical or crowned-shaped head and tail pulley conveyors. These belts are especially difficult to track and require additional tracking measures.
Using a Chalk Line
Conveyor belt lacing is a method of connecting two conveyor belt segments. It works on a zipper principle with clips, bolts, plates, or hinges that connect the ends of the belt and are joined together with a pin. There are two main mechanical belt fastener lace types: staple type and hinged plate type. Hinged plate lacing uses metal plates bolted or riveted to the conveyor belt ends and can require heavy-duty tooling for installation.
Turn off the power to the conveyor and take other manufacturer-recommended safety precautions before making your squaring cut. With a chalk line and a square, mark an average centerline for your conveyor belt by measuring at two-foot intervals starting from the end of the belt in both directions.
Using a Square
A conveyor belt laced improperly can create false crowns or redistribute weight in an undesirable way. A square is an effective method for squaring the belt ends before lacing.
Conveyor belts must be cut squarely and at a consistent angle, or they’ll track off when the lace comes around the end pulleys. This mistracking can cause the system to stop functioning and shut down production.
The size of the pulleys on your conveyor system will dictate which belt lacing type you should use. Generally speaking, smaller pulleys can only drive hinged fasteners or plastic lacing, while larger ones can accommodate steel or stainless-steel solid-plate fasteners. Use Accurate Industrial’s Conveyor Belt Fastener Selection Chart to determine which lacing options are best for your operation.
Using a Straight Line
The most effective plan for keeping a conveyor system running smoothly is to prevent issues before they arise. This means checking frequently for anything that may need to be addressed.
This can include identifying moisture sources on the conveyor belt and taking steps to mitigate them. Moisture can promote slipping, sticking, and other problems that can slow the conveyor and reduce efficiency.
Another easy step is to regularly check that the frame of your conveyor is square and all pulleys are properly aligned. Using a standard level to confirm that the pulleys are even can help you avoid bigger problems.