Purposes and Functions of Rubber Lagging in Conveyor Systems

August 27, 2018

For a fully capable, fully efficient conveyor system, we’ve learned to coat its pulleys in durable rubber lagging. Sure, the extra layer of rubber does imbue the equipment with impact-resisting strength, but that’s not the material’s key benefit. No, the two supple material bases have natural traction. One in contact with the other, the material-gripping feature takes hold, reducing system wear while it maximizes belt traction. 

What is Rubber Lagging? 

It’s the pliable overlay that covers pulley cylinders. It raises the coefficient of friction, reduces belt noise, and even channels moisture. For that later function, the rubber sheeting is fabricated with diamond notches, which connect and form a series of indented lines. The notches channel fluids away from the belt so that the pulley drum and belt don’t lose traction. Other patterns are, of course, available. As far as sheet thickness goes, expect rubber lagging to come in sheets that are several millimetres thick. Variants that employ a thickness of over a centimetre are obtainable when the application requires greater shock-absorbing capabilities. 

Key Rubberized Features 

Highly functional rubber lagging serves its purpose best when it exhibits the following characteristics:

  • Superior traction, even in wet conditions
  • Chemically resistant rubbers
  • Vulcanized materials
  • An abrasion resistance feature
  • Designed To Extend Shell Lifespan

Bonded as full sheets or fastened as strips, rubber lagging represents the one instance in this system layout where friction is a desirable operational attribute. In the bearings and geartrain, motors and other drive components, frictional events are minimized. Contrariwise, lagging friction is a desirable feature, one that increases belt traction. Then, like the tyres on a car, patterned grooves further enhance this system attribute. In the meantime, belt noise and load impacts are dampened by the pliable rubber. Incidentally, those patterns vary between the aforementioned diamond profiled grooves and many other intersecting patterns, including lined chevrons and herringbone patterns, both of which are gifted water shedding configurations. 

Of course, when we say rubber, we’re using a generic term. Natural rubbers and synthetics are in use here, and vulcanized materials are also common. By selecting the right pattern, rubber, and sheet thickness, the design engineer is assuring a high-traction pulley configuration. More than that, the selected sheeting won’t abrade, nor will it succumb to a chemical attack. Last of all, if new rubber lagging is on the cards, this job requires an expert hand. The old coating needs to be stripped, the cylinder drum sandblasted free of dirt and debris, and a new bonding agent applied, all so that the conveyor belt’s traction feature remains consistently firm.

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