Major Elements and Parts of Conveyor Pulleys

July 9, 2018

Conveyor pulleys are the cylindrical drums that support and move conveyor belts. They’re mechanical devices, but there’s more to their inner workings than that crudely outlined description. For starters, that outer shell isn’t just a hollow drum. No, although they’re designed to satisfy standardized dimensional guidelines, not all pulleys are generic, nor are they rudimentary constructs. In truth, a deconstructed conveyor pulley contains many complex parts.

The Anatomy of a Conveyor Drum 

Axial seam welds bind the rolled metal sheets in place. At the end caps, circumferential welds fuse the drum to those end-disc segments. The major design element to consider at this point is the drum thickness. Mild alloys, formed into thin-walled sheets, are ideal for luggage transportation and packaging systems. For heavy-duty applications, however, thick stainless steel sheets are the best option. Then, as an optional extra, it’s time to consider the surface trimmings. Rubber cladding is a popular option. The pliable material absorbs impacts and adds traction to the system.

Deconstructing the Drum 

Next up, there’s the end-cap design to solve. It’s here that the system concentricity issue is solved. Made from discrete elements or machined as a single piece, each cap is precisely bored so that the high-tolerance circular openings are prepared to accept their seals, bearings, and locking mechanisms. Before moving any further, take a closer look at the machined end-cap options:

PG – Penetration welds connect the caps to the conveyor pulley hub

PGM – Larger butt welds reinforce the hub-to-cap connection

PT – A strong machined or forged connection extends from the drum down to the hub

PHK – A keyless design that evenly distributes hub and disc contact stress 

The Shaft to Hub Connection 

Clearly, it’s the end-caps that join the conveyor cylinder to the hub, which is why we’ve taken the trouble to illustrate the popular welding connections in the above-bulleted list. Still, how does that shaft lock against the hub? There’s a great deal of loading stress here, so the connection must be reliable. Well, there are several options. Among them, keyed rings lock low-load parts together. However, for high-torque applications at least, keyed mechanisms surrender to keyless designs. In this configuration, a ring of bolts clamps down on a series of tapered rings to really lock the parts together. 

Then there are the lube points to add to the equipment. They penetrate labyrinth seals and enable slippery fluids to grease the pulley bearings. Locking mechanisms, pulley reversing components and more, the options are many. Even the drum can change shape. Instead of a flat face, some applications work better when a crowned (tapered) pulley is installed.


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