The daily demands at a bulk material handling facility are high. To provide the service and support the customer needs, operators strive to move immense amounts of product within a targeted timeframe. Every day counts.

Production schedules will typically aim to account for expected housekeeping and maintenance, particularly in the load zone and specifically at the conveyor belt. However, if problems mount at the conveyor belt and lead to an extended shutdown, productivity and customer service are quickly compromised. Downtime can cost thousands of dollars per hour.

Today’s conveyor belt is an engineering feat of endurance and performance under demanding conditions. At the same time, because of its duties, the conveyor belt is inherently susceptible to wear and mechanical complications over time. Quick, easy, and efficient service for helping to extend the belt’s life becomes critical to the production line.

Conveyor Belt TrackingCommon Conveyor Belt Problems

Most plant professionals are familiar with leading problems that can halt production, consuming valuable focus and time to solve them as fast as possible.

Carryback. Perhaps the most common conveyor belt issue, Carryback is the material that doesn’t discharge from the belt as it should and rather sticks on the return. It will often either continue to build on the belt or fall off under the belt line.

If not noticed and managed, it can create difficulties at the conveyor belt and throughout the load zone, including equipment damage (e.g. to conveyor belt idlers), poor belt tracking, material loss, extra housekeeping, and safety hazards.

Belt slippage. When the conveyor belt has either too much or too little tension, it will slip or snap, which can hasten damage to the belt and other components such as the conveyor belt idlers. This lack of balance can make the belt slip from the pulleys and potentially cause other problems, such as motor failure, friction causing heat and fires, and disruptive grating and squealing. A slipping belt needs to be corrected right away or, better still, avoided.

Mistracking. Conveyor belt tracking should always be centered on the conveyor belt idlers, as a steady material flow depends on a belt that is aligned on its path. If the path is altered, belt tracking will be poor and the whole conveying system will shift its course toward malfunction.

The problem can start with factors such as excess carryback, seized or misaligned conveyor belt idlers, or improper positioning on the conveyor belt idlers. Undesirable consequences can be uneven belt wear, lost material, and belt damage from rubbing and catching. Poor belt tracking also can form pinch points that create safety risks for personnel.

Material spillage. Every operation eventually deals with material spillage along the conveyor length, particularly at load and transfer points. At best, it creates extra housekeeping. At worst, spillage can create production halts and major safety hazards.

Just a few of many potential causes of spillage can be:

  • Poor conveyor belt tracking
  • Misaligned transfer chute
  • A change in belt angle along an incline conveyor
  • Insufficient belt tension that causes sags between the conveyor belt idlers, which opens gaps between the skirting and the belt
  • Too much material being fed, forcing the transfer chute to slowly back up and discharge material around the feed pulley
  • Excessive housekeeping requirements, which adds to personnel safety risks

Conveyor Belt Problems: The Solutions

The potential challenges to a day’s production are apparent. Regular maintenance and inspections ensure they do not grow into unexpected and untimely risk, interference, and cost.

Operators can solve and control conveyor belt issues with well-engineered components that provide ease of service and conveyor safety by design. Benetech understands the urgency of easy and safe maintenance for bulk material handlers. That conveyor service and safety must include consideration of potential conveyor hazards as well as confined space safety.

In time, the more efficient plant professionals become utilizing the right equipment, the less time and effort they will spend on clean-up and repair in the load zone. Benetech supports load zone inspection and maintenance with modular, ergonomic components that reinforce conveyor safety and restrict conveyor hazards.

The MaxZone Modular Skirtboard and Belt Support System seals the load zone to improve material flow while preventing material spillage and fugitive dust. The modular components allow for quick and easy replacements without special permits, welding, or hot work. Confined-space permitting also is minimized because of external serviceability of internal components (safety by design).

The modular components further can be retrofitted to accommodate and enhance an existing system as an economical solution to sealing and protecting the load zone.

Should consistent center-loading be an issue, the MaxZone Plus System provides an efficient, affordable, and easy-to-service solution for transfer points.

The precisely engineered transfer chute features adjustable side kicker plates and a deflector to move material onto the conveyor belt for a smoother transition, greatly reducing spillage and loss as well as problems such as belt mistracking and slippage. The MaxZone Plus also can be simply installed and retrofitted into other containment systems.

The XN Externally Adjusted Internal Wearliner® protects the sealing system and chute work from wear and tear without having to enter the skirtboard to install, inspect, adjust, and replace the wearliner.

The Benetech wearliner is placed in the conventional position inside the skirtboard, but the adjusting mechanism can be accessed from the outside. Personnel do not have to enter the chute to inspect the liner, remove it, or make adjustments, eliminating the need for confined space entry requirements. Downtime for worn-liner replacement can be achieved in minutes with no hot work required.

Benetech’s Simple Slide Idlers slide into place without having to remove adjacent idlers, resulting in excellent serviceability and greater safety. The compact size of the conveyor belt idlers’ frames allows for placement even when entry space is confined.

Similarly, Simple Slide Return Idlers allow for easy installation and maintenance while providing full belt support between the discharge point and the tail pulley. Like the Simple Slide Idlers, the conveyor belt return idlers’ frames are compact for placement even for confined space entry. One person can service the idlers from one side of the belt, and there is no need to raise the belt or remove adjacent idlers to replace the roller.

Dust-tight, heavy-duty, and easy to install, Benetech’s conveyor chute inspection doors apply a distinctive design to provide easy access for inspection and clean-out of conveyor equipment. A door-deflector panel ensures less material build-up on the door seal, and ergonomic cam-action and never-seize closing latches with adjustable tension accommodate suite operation requirements. Custom sizes are available as well.

Benetech’s SC3® Conveyor System conquers load-zone spillage and dust through a fully enclosed, self-cleaning conveyor that simplifies inspection and access, eliminates clean-up costs, extends conveyor belt life, and prevents further dust build-up.

Specially sealed see-through side panels and dust-proof inspection doors with easy-open handle clamps allow for proactive inspection. A built-in washdown system with a fine spray also removes any particulate accumulation to help prevent dust and carryback.

Benetech: Your Ally in Bulk Material Handling

Operators can take charge of proper inspection and maintenance with conveyor service made easy and safe. To discover more about our complete solutions for easier and safer service supports your objectives, contact us at

Posted in Conveyor Belts