Maximising Belt Conveyor Capabilities

January 29, 2019

Various alloys and polymers exist to maximize a conveyor belt’s load transporting capabilities. For example, in low-temperature environments, specially selected stainless steels remain ductile. That’s a powerful feature, especially when a shock load propagates and exposes an inelastic belt conveyor to material-cracking energies. Moving on from deformation plasticity, this is a good opportunity to see what it takes to maximize a belt conveyor’s material and mechanical strengths. 

Assigning Belt Coatings

So much effort has been spent on installing a flexible belt conveyor mechanism and a series of properly balanced pulleys. The drive powertrain is efficient, speed reduction gears and torque maximizing assemblies are doing their job, but the design process has somehow missed a key process-optimizing detail. Long story short, the system hasn’t added a surface coating to the belt, so the items coming onto the conveyor are skipping along its surface in a chaotic manner. What’s needed is an application-specific finish, as illustrated in this list: 

Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) – An abrasion resistance fluoropolymer that’s sold under the Teflon branded label

Fluorinated Ethylene Propylene (FEP) – Softer than PTFE, this type of Teflon is employed in low-temperature situations

Silicone rubber – A capable shock absorption polymer, the elastomeric coating performs as an industrial strength load dampener 

Neoprene – Die cut and loaded with pockets, the material is highly compressible. Belted systems made of neoprene are used in numerous applications 

Next, having covered the basics of belt conveyor coatings, we’re moving on to their mechanical features. 

Fitted With Unique Structural Aids

There’s an art to producing a special coating. Even so, not every performance-optimizing system parameter is material-linked. Taking a cue from those die cut pockets, the ones made of neoprene, think about the mechanically feasible options. Instead of a solid belt, picture a filter belt. This belt type, used in food-safe applications, drains water and liquefied soft tissues. For a polymer belt that’s as tough as its Teflon strengthened counterpart, there’s woven wiring and flexible chain linkages. The same degree of optimisation is delivered by a modular build, with hinged and sliding sections talking to PLC (Programmable Logic Controllers) devices to really maximize a belt conveyor’s capabilities. 

What’s been learned today? Belts can be simple and cheap, or they can be sophisticated and designed to expressly suit a desired purpose. Material coatings and internally mounted belt backbones further optimize conveyor designs so that they carry out their duties, no matter the load. Then, to fully realize their potential, modular assets add a degree of performance versatility that’s only matched by the equipment’s programmability strengths.

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