Applications of Shaft Locks in Conveyor Pulleys

Blog | October 8th, 2015

shaft-lockConveyor pulleys transmit motorized power into long belts, acting as the origin of the workhorse momentum that drives the system. The dynamic force encountered on the belt and is challenging at the best of times, but starting inertia is slowly overcome until the equipment is spinning merrily. It’s the duty of shaft locks to ground this rotating motion, to host friction-cancelling bearings, keyed and keyless shafts, and bridge the radial force spinning the conveyor pulleys so that the system is securely anchored to a stationary seat.

Cataloguing Shaft Lock Applications

Alignment is one of the pet peeves of setting up a conveyor system. Shaft locking mechanisms accommodate axial movement adjustments across a bank of conveyor pulleys, thus ensuring the belt is free of lateral movement issues. This kind of scenario is commonly experienced when transient loads become a problem. Conveyor systems that handle large loads and intermittent shocks require a reliable locking solution that can also adjust when alignment becomes problematic, thus illustrating one of the higher level roles of these anchoring assemblies. Yes, shaft locks are accessible for maintenance, for lubrication and alignment adjustments, but this fluid versatility factor must never undermine the steadfast reliability of the components.

The above mandate applies to mining conveyors and quarries, but it also has relevance in small package scenarios. The transferral of pharmaceutical commodities and mail packages are one example of this utilization archetype, with the shaft locks focusing less on loading capabilities and more on a bias for relative orientation vis-a-vis the goods located in a grid pattern on the conveyor.

Stresses encountered within a typical conveyor system:

  • Slippage
  • Alignment issues
  • Shaft play
  • Back lash

The Shaft and Lock Production Environment

Manufacturers offset the dynamic forces running between the shaft-to-seat assembly of today’s shaft locking products by adopting a state-of-the-art approach to the engineering obstacles that regulate modern conveyor science. Locking components can be either keyed or keyless, equipped with a splined shaft or threads and grooves, as long as the product is studiously analysed so that an application study accounts for the eccentricities introduced by any particular configuration. This includes tension forces, side-added axial movement, and other unpredictably energetic phenomena. When planning for this messy clash of radial and axial momentum, centrifugal and lateral force, only the very best locks will do for the most geometrically shaped pulleys.

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