Understanding Self-Cleaning Pulleys: How Do They Really Work?

September 2, 2019

Since conveyor systems transmit kinetic energy through their spinning pulleys, maybe their rotational energy can be redirected? At the very least, a sharable power providing mechanism should divert a small portion of the energy. Used to clean the pulleys, to get rid of drum build-up, this self-cleaning attribute is generally viewed as an auxiliary equipment feature. In reality, however, toughened conveyors rarely do well without a high-functioning auto-cleaning feature.

Dynamic Self-Cleaning Pulley Drums

Instead of moving wipers and water jets, the best course of action here is one that relies on drum geometry. In this respect, crown-faced pulleys are moderately capable self-cleansers. While it’s true that these centre-peaked drums don’t eliminate dirt, they do channel grime and moisture towards their edges, where a drainage canal awaits. For real self-cleansing muscle, though, a more dramatic alteration in drum geometry must take place. Enter winged cylinders, which add a second dimension to the filth channelling mechanism.

Gusset and Strengthener Ring-Equipped

The idea is to create a non-continuous drum surface so that there’s somewhere for the dirt to drain towards. Instead of the crown-face design, which pushes muck sideways, a series of spoke-like metal walls radiate outwards from a self-cleaning pulleys’ hub. At the tip of each spoke, a short metal section carries the belt ribbon. Solid rubber or chain-linked sections, these “winged” tips carry that belt material. More precisely, it’s the underside of the conveyor belt that’s picked up by the wing pulleys. As those spoke tips carry the belt, the wet and gritty underside leavings drop away and collect in the pulley gusset. If a large-scale operation doesn’t look like it’s going to work with this moderately capable design, there are other, heavier options. These include wing pulley configurations with reinforcement rings on their rims.

Purpose-Designed Wing Pulleys

Left to work with a set of conventional pulley drums, the grime acts as an abrasive agent which wears away at the belt. Wing pulleys are fitted at the end or intermediate points in a quarrying or mining conveyor system. In effect, they provide a kind of end-process material relief valve. Of course, not every self-cleaning drum looks or works alike. There are straight spoked walls and L-shaped tips, and then there are scores of custom-built options. They include T-shaped tips, squirrel cage bars, tubular rim bars, and a dozen other highly effective hub and rim configurations.

When structuring self-cleaning pulleys, designers don’t just pull a bar or tubular drum surface out of a hat. There’s nothing random about this engineering service. The pulley gussets and strengthening rings match certain aggregate sizes and loading limitations. Moderate velocity streams and wetter material flows also impact the design specs. At the end of the day, though, the selected wing drum has to perform its underside stress-relieving duties effectively.

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