Conveyor Pulley Rubber Lagging and Its Benefits to Conveyor Pulleys

May 2, 2019

Rubber pulley lagging serves several different roles. There’s the obvious reason for the blanketing layer, the need to protect the cylindrical drums from heavy impacts. Next, apart from the loading challenges, there’s the traction issue to work out. Lagging, fixed to a pulley drum’s surface, should grip its load-transporting ribbon. With some satisfaction, two performance factors have now been singled out, but a third issue is beckoning.

Cancelling Out Loading Vibrations

Conveyor system engineers build durable and load-capable belted carriers. Their frames are reinforced with carbon-strengthened steel so that high-velocity mining loads don’t end up damaging core equipment assemblies. In quarrying applications, equally heavy burdens threaten to buckle entire equipment frames. The superstructure holds, but the vibrations propagating through the pulleys are intense, so severe in nature that they buckle pulley drums. To counteract the kinetic energies, they’re absorbed and safely distributed by a thick layer of rubber pulley lagging. The elastomer takes the brunt of the attack so that the underlying pulley, rigid as ever, avoids damage.

Rubber Pulley Lagging: Detailing the Benefits

With the elastomer killing the damaging mechanical noise, the lifespan of the rubber-clad pulley increases. Alignment problems become a non-issue, too. There are no impacts to kick the pulley mounts out-of-whack, so the source of a nuisance misalignment problem vanishes. Consequently, maintenance and repair periods lessen while equipment downtime issues shrink. And, should this be an outdoor conveyor system, that aforementioned traction-improving feature becomes that much more relevant. Dewatering sprays and heavy periods of rainfall can undermine non-rubberized pulleys, so much so that they squeal. The noise is a result of process-undermining slippage. By adding rubber pulley lagging, more traction is certain. 

An Engineer’s Point Of View

In more technical terms, the rubber lining, or lagging, around a drum supplements an already satisfactory belt-to-pulley frictional coefficient. Without the rubber, that coefficient wavers because of watery discharges and clay/dirt films. Traction issues worsen while impact problems strike the non-malleable cylinder. With rubber lagging on conveyor system pulleys, the slippage disappears, the belt moves steadily forward in a smooth, linearly constant fashion, and there’s very little sticking to worry about because that clay-like film can’t adhere to the pulley drums.

To see the results, after all the conveyor pulleys are fitted with rubber lagging, a mining inspector steps back. The heavy vibrations are neutralized, the belt traction problems have disappeared, and there’s no stickiness stopping a payload from moving forward. That means productivity margins are growing, maintenance costs are dropping, and the conveyor system components are enjoying a lifespan boost. Corrosion, system fatigue, even once unsolvable misalignment incidents, all of these issues even out and fade away.

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