Choosing the right conveyor belt is one of the most important, yet frequently overlooked details in the selection of a conveyor. The belt will only operate to the right efficiency if is made of the right materials, and getting it wrong can cause downtime, poor productivity and compromise safety. Belts are available in many different types, and the first factor is knowing the characteristics of the material it is going to convey. Size and weight are obviously important, as is how the material is going to be loaded, with a slow steady flow, facing different challenges from sudden or shock delivery. Additional considerations need to be the speed at which the belt will travel, its angle of inclination, either up or down, and the environment through which it travels. Something being carried inside, where it is hot and dry poses as many challenges as a conveyor outside running in the cold and the wet.

Typical Conveyor Belt Types

General purpose belts, as you would guess from the name, cover a wide range of belts, generally made from an inner carcass and an outer cover, made from materials such as Rubber, PVC, Urethane, Polyester and nylon, though there are many more. Applications are wide, though include high slip resistance for steep inclines or declines and can accommodate many challenging environments.

Plastic belt and chain

This is a lightweight, durable and wear resistant belt, used often in food production lines, packaging and manufacturing. Woven wire belts that are formed of multiple metal links have the advantage of being able to sustain very hot and very cold temperatures, so is naturally an option favourable to those baking, cooking and freezing, but is also found in the electronics industry, glass and ceramics and metalworking sectors. Hinge metal belting is highly durable and can operate in extreme temperatures, the dry and the wet and is often used in scrap handling, die cast operations and parts handling. Flat wire belts are, as the name says, offering a flat surface that is perfect for food preparation, cooking and freezing, as well as parts cleaning, painting, assembly, packaging and conveyor manufacturers have many other different options for specialised sectors.

Maintenance, Repair and Modification

Aside from getting the right belt, other practical considerations need to be taken into account. Belts need to be cleaned and maintained, and periodically repaired, replaced or modified. When you are having a new system installed, it is a good idea to ask the installer about regular service schedules, which can help keep breakdowns and downtime to a minimum. Periodic on site surveys are also highly recommended, to ensure things are functioning normally and that replacement parts are immediately on hand should any unforeseen circumstance or mishap strike. Depending on the nature of your business, it is advisable to check out the working hours and maintenance cover your installer offers. Someone operating standard business hours might be OK if your business does also, but you will have far more reassurance by having a 24/7 emergency repair service available to you.

If you are buying a second hand or used system, while the price might be good, ensure the supplier has the ability to provide you with any spare parts you might need for the conveyor belt’s lifetime.

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