Conveyor Belts in 21st Century
The conveyor belts are an integral part of Belt Conveyor system. The conveyor belt system consists of two or more pulleys that are connected through a belt. The loop continues endlessly until stopped. One of the pulleys is powered which drives the whole system. This pulley is called the powered pulley. Conveyer systems are very important in industries. They are usually divided into two categories; material handling and bulk material handling. The former is used in factories to move boxes in a factory while the latter one, as the name shows, is used to move bulk material like grain, coal etc.
The first conveyor belt was seen in 1892. It was due to the multiple efforts of Thomas Robins that led to the development of the first conveyor. Later in 1901, Sandvik invented steel belts for conveyor system. The idea was put to a greater use by Richard Sutcliffe in 1905 when he started using this system for coal mines which revolutionized the coal industry. In 1913, Henry Ford introduced the conveyor belt system in the Ford Motor Company’s factory in Michigan. Since then, Conveyor belt is being used in almost all factories. As its application grew, so did the modifications and with that came the Mobius strip belt and the plastic belt. The applications of the belt will be discussed below.
Structure of Conveyor Belts
The conveyor belt consists of three basic parts, irrespective of what it’s made of. There’s usually a top cover, a carcass and a bottom cover. The carcass provides the core strength to the belt. The carcass needs to be strong to support all kinds of weight. Usually it’s made of metal fabric with threats in cross to support it against cuts, impacts and other damages. The most commonly used materials for the carcass include aramid, steel, polyester and nylon. The use of the material depends on the application. The weight and flexibility requirements generally determine the use of material. For example, steel gives excellent strength to the conveyor so it is used for bulk commodities. Aramid, on the other hand, is light weight so it is used as energy saver, in the case of light materials. The use of aramids, nylon or any other light material gives a longer lifetime and saves a lot of energy.
Applications of Conveyor Belts
It was not until the invention of conveyor belts that they became increasingly common in industries. Their usage reduced workload in significant amount. The growing demand and the increasing spectrum of applications gave rise to usage of different materials for the belts. Different materials offered different properties which made the belts more suitable for one task than the other. Different factors like the weight requirement, flexibility requirement, and energy requirements etc., were used to determine the most appropriate material for the belt. From elevators to grocery counters at supermarkets, different applications called for different materials. To transport loose material up through inclined surface, elevator belts are used. Conveyor belts are used for sidewalks, escalators, checkout counters, chairlift and many other systems.
Conveyer Belt Installation
After the Conveyor belt has finished its life span, it becomes important to change the belt. Calling professional for this can cost you some money so it’ll be a good saving if you perform this task yourself. Usually manuals make it sound too tough and time consuming, but it really isn’t that hard. Simply follow the given steps.
- First of all, you need to remove the old belt.
- Next, determine the direction of rotation.
- Install the belt into the system. Keep it as stretched as possible, but do leave some slack to be able to put the cable on the pulley.
- In order to be sure of the tension in belt, pull the belt from around the pulleys and overlap the last two tabs with the holes in matching links.
- Bend the links to enlarge the spot and then assemble the belt by placing the tab through two links at a time. Bend the belt once again and this time, second tab is inserted.
- Install the belt by putting it on pulley.
Some of the common problems faced by conveyor cable users include,
- Conveyor starts moving towards one side at a given point. The reason for this could be an indication of unlevelled structure. It can also be a sign that the idler does not stand on belt.
- Belt runs to one side for long distances. This may be because of the overall buildup of dirt in that industry
- Part of belt travels to one side at all points in the test. There can only be 2 possibilities for this. ‘Belt not spliced’ and ‘taking the shuttle’.