What are Troughing Idlers for?

September 17, 2019

Troughing idlers are used to impart mining conveyor systems with a U-shaped material-handling profile. When a belt sits on a series of troughing fittings, it takes on a long, scoop-like outline. And what’s the reason for adding this shape to a conveyor ribbon? Well, it won’t do any good as a large object carrier. In fact, that outline would do more harm than good. On an aggregate conveyance system, however, this is a highly desirable shape.

Equipped With Material Funnelling Features

Taking a look at a troughing idler, it’s shaped into an instantly recognizable outline. Three idlers form a concavity. A longer idler has been inserted along a shaft and is sitting horizontally. That’s a conventional enough look. Things change now when the two remaining idlers are added to the assembly. Shorter than the bottom cylinder, the two additional pulleys bookend that longer cylinder at an angle, hence the cupped or arched layout. Now, with a belt added, the troughing feature becomes obvious. When a loose aggregate stream comes tumbling onto this conveyor belt, it’ll fall away from the belt edges and accumulate at or near the centre of the travelling strip.

Troughing Depth Configurations

The length and diameter of the three pulleys are partially responsible for this system function. Again, the lower idler can be as long as required, but the two outer head and tail idlers must be of the same length. Next to decide the trough depth, the angle at which those pulley elements connect to the lower pulley is adjusted. Lower angles create moderate arches. With high-walled troughing angles, that classic U-shaped profile is established. Imagine one of the lower, cup-like systems funnelling a high-volume aggregate flow of crushed and screened minerals. Used in mining applications, this is a fairly conventional troughing configuration. Meanwhile, maybe carrying partially crushed quartz rocks in a quarry, the high-walled system variant keeps sharp-edged rocks confined while they move at speed down a long, rugged section of a steel-reinforced conveyor belt’s overburdened ribbon.

Just to reiterate the point, troughing idlers are unpowered belt shaping assemblies. They curve flexible, wire-reinforced conveyor belts into a form that’s suitable for guiding aggregate loads. They’re used in mines and quarries, plus in coal power generation systems and pharmaceutical facilities to funnel pills. Even agricultural applications use this idler layout, perhaps as a feed channelling mechanism. Just as a quick by-the-way, there are also self-aligning troughing idlers, which can adjust their aggregate guiding angles to compensate for unusual load densities and transient loading conditions. Otherwise, the head and tail angles are usually locked in at a 20° angle.

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