Plain Rubber, Chevron, and Diamond Groove Pulley Lagging: What are their Differences?

July 16, 2019

Pulleys are rarely, if ever, shipped naked. Providing system tailored features, they’re dressed in layers of plain rubber. The high-traction elastomer is there to minimize belt slippage. That’s a commendable coatings trait, one that’s clearly intended to maximize conveyance efficiency. Curiously, the available lagging options have expanded. Plain rubber is a fine traction optimizing solution, but there are also a number of specially etched and cut surfaces, including diamond grooves.

Diamond Groove Pulley Lagging

A high-grip rubberized covering is installed around a conveyor drum. For every centimetre it turns, a centimetre of conveyor ribbon also moves. There’s very little slippage, so no frictional energy is lost. Maximizing this effect, diamond-shaped grooves are cut into the rubber. They further enhance a pulley’s grip. Strangely, the patterned rubber works better in this role than a plain rubber coating. That shouldn’t be so surprising, not when we check out another high-traction rubber surface. That’s right, on vehicle wheels, which use countless types of grip patterns, a plain rubber tyre is not a realistic consideration. Of course, vehicle tyres can do more than grip a rough road surface.

Fluid Collecting Drum Lagging

A simpler conveyor system eschews plain rubber linings, especially when there’s dirt or water carried along the rubber transport belt. Picture the most fundamental lagging pattern, which would probably be an etched herringbone design. With the drum moving forward, the channels in the lagging drain dirty water. That’s all very well, but what if the drum were now to move in reverse? Those parallel lines, running at a slight angle, no longer collect water. Adding a mirrored array of cut-outs, a diamond-like template is established. Now, no matter what direction the drum rotates, the grooves collect the dirty water. Just like a car speeding down a wet road, the lagging ejects excess fluids. Finally, on switching to a chevron design, another feature comes to the fore. Furnished with V-shaped slotting, the grooves meet in the centre of the pulley, where they maximize water and sticky fluid dispersion performance.

Plain rubber lagging tends to find its way onto non-drive pulleys. Snub and take-up cylinders work better when fitted with featureless rubber coatings. Diamond groove and chevron designs are used on powered drums, so a high-traction feature is obviously handy here. Sticking with herringbone and chevron stripes, unidirectional motion is the key. If the equipment is multidirectional, to the point that the system reverses, then mirrored V-shaped grooves collect liquid waste in either direction. By the way, even if a conveyor system doesn’t convey wet product streams, it’ll still require maintenance. Hosed down at day’s end, that clean-up waste needs to be discharged, again, by groove-patterned drive drums.

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