Success for your Plant’s bulk material handling operators is defined by one primary goal every day: Transfer the most material possible with limited downtime and maintenance in a workplace that is safe for themselves and their coworkers.
Successful production depends on the harmony of interdependent material handling components optimized for safety and reliability.
The heart of that accord is the conveyor belt. The conveyor belt transports and distributes the bulk material throughout the operation. Given the number, lengths, widths, and sizes an operation requires, the conveyor belt’s central role often makes it one of the most expensive capital investments in a successful operation. Keeping the conveyor belts moving with minimal wear, misalignment, spillage, and dust becomes vital to optimizing safe and reliable bulk material handling.
Most conveyor belts are designed and manufactured to operate for several years. While variables such as operating conditions and bulk material application can influence conveyor belt longevity, operators that focus on the key principles of improving conveyor belt life and performance are often those that position themselves for the greatest success.
Improving Conveyor Belt Life & Performance: Transfer Chute
Proper conveyor belt loading preserves belt life while reducing the likelihood of related problems such as material spillage and dust generation.
The transfer chute is the bulk material handling component that places material on the receiving conveyor belt. A properly designed transfer chute should provide consistent centered loading.
Bulk material should be loaded by the transfer chute in the direction of receiving belt travel. The design should also accommodate various material types and environmental conditions. Receiving conveyor belts with “side loading” should have a proper chute design that manages the bulk material flow stream, so it is center loaded and in the direction of the receiving conveyor belt travel.
In contrast to a traditional box transfer chute’s square corners and vertical orientation, an engineered chute design actively prevents dust generation rather than just passively trying to control it. Engineered transfer chutes utilize chamfered or rounded loading elbows to achieve soft loading in the direction of the receiving belt while minimizing turbulent airflow in the receiving belt load zone as well.
Benetech’s Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) team uses Discrete Element Modeling (DEM) analysis to design, fabricate, and install an engineered transfer chute for an operation’s bulk material processing requirements. Benetech also offers improved transfer chute loading devices. Benetech’s patented MaxZone Plus® transfer chute loading device allows for adjustable vertical loading as well as horizontal adjustments for consistent center loading.
Improving Conveyor Belt Life & Performance: Material Impact
The bulk material characteristics and the impact of the load are two of the biggest factors influencing conveyor belt longevity.
The majority of wear takes place at the bulk material loading point where material is deposited onto the receiving conveyor belt. Once the receiving conveyor belt has sped the deposited bulk material to the conveyor belt’s forward velocity, there is no relative motion and, thus no wear.
Lower-impact forces (soft loading) delivered on the center of the receiving conveyor belt in the direction of belt travel will enhance conveyor belt life and performance. Soft center loading also helps reduce material impingement (bouncing).
A proper system design should account for a transfer-chute height that minimizes the loading height above the receiving belt. In the event the transfer chute is loading bulk material mid-belt, the height above the receiving belt needs to accommodate the clear passage of material under the chute discharge.
Well-designed loading systems also will match the speed of the material being loaded to the speed of the receiving conveyor belt. In addition to speed, a well-designed loading system delivers the bulk material with forward velocity, which helps reduce the receiving belt’s wear loading.
A receiving conveyor’s trough angle created by properly designed under-belt support will contribute to a better center for bulk material loading, as well as a tighter seal between the conveyor belt and the skirting system. Under belt support is often provided by the use of tightly spaced conveyor idlers, slider beds, or combinations of both working together.
Benetech’s Simple Slide Impact Idlers support and stabilize the receiving conveyor by tightly spacing the idlers in the loading area. Benetech’s Simple Slide Idlers offer the added benefit of improved service and maintenance.
Benetech’s Warrior Impact Bed supports and stabilizes the receiving conveyor belt as bulk material is loaded. The impact bed’s stiff, rigid steel frame and soft rubber bars reduce stress on the belt by absorbing and transferring the bulk material impact forces.
The Warrior Roll & Guide Support Bed creates a tight seal that helps eliminate dust and material spillage in the load zone. It also utilizes low-friction slider bars on the wing sections and conveyor belt idlers in the center to minimize belt friction drag while the belt is fully supported at the edges.
Improving Conveyor Belt Life & Performance: Material Containment
As tons of bulk material travel along a conveyor system each hour, material and dust will seek to escape unless they are properly contained.
A receiving conveyor belt’s skirting system encloses and seals the material transfer-loading chute and the conveyor belt to help contain loose and fugitive material/dust through components such as:
- skirtboard rubber with a polyurethane inset for a dual-layer seal
- clamp-sealing system to secure the skirt board rubber to the sides of the skirting system
- peaked hood to enhance passive dust control
- simple slide conveyor belt idlers as roller frames that slide into place without removing adjacent idlers
- inspection doors that allow convenient skirtboard inspection even in confined spaces
A modular format will allow the system to be built to any length on the conveyor. A modular skirting system also supports interchangeable skirt seal options. Inspection and maintenance should also be able to be performed safely from the outside of the skirting system to eliminate confined space issues. In addition, the skirting system should allow one person to inspect and adjust seals and liners safely and without special tooling.
Benetech skirting systems include different seal types, such as dual-seal B+ apron skirt board rubber seal, to suit an operation’s particular application. A quick-release clamp-sealing system for the side of the load zone provides ease of maintenance, effective containment, and reduced labor to adjust.
Additional components: peaked hood, simple slide idlers, dust-tight inspection doors
Improving Conveyor Belt Life & Performance: Wear Liners
Bulk material transfer discharge points that contribute to improved conveyor belt life and performance should include effective material wear liners.
Installed inside the skirting system, wear liners provide a protective surface against the friction and abrasion caused by the conveyed bulk material. The wear liner also assists in managing the side-loading forces from reaching the skirting rubber seals as well.
Optimizing the performance of wear liners is best achieved by selecting a system that can be easily serviced, with internal liners that can be adjusted externally. Elimination of the need for confined space entry, as well as allowing liners to be perfectly aligned quickly and easily reduces maintenance downtime and improves safety. Properly aligned wear liners ensure that material entrapment will not damage the conveyor belt. Wear liners further support the center loading of bulk material on the conveyor and reduce the material’s pressure on skirt rubber seals, which adds to their lifespan.
Wear liners should offer ease of adjustment, alignment, maintenance, and replacement. Safe and convenient inspection should be possible without inviting new problems such as exposed chute walls and material lodging between the chute wall and the liner.
Benetech’s XN Externally Adjusted Internal Wear Liner protects the sealing system and chute work from the wear and tear of material loading and throughput. With no need for cutting or welding, the wear liner is placed in the conventional position inside the skirt board while allowing access to the adjusting mechanism from the outside so personnel can remove, replace, or adjust the liner without entering the skirt seal enclosure. The wear liners are available in different materials in straight or deflector styles as well as in custom lengths and thicknesses.
Improving Conveyor Belt Life & Performance: Belt Tracking
Conveyor belt mistracking occurs when a conveyor belt operates to one side of the supporting structure. Mistracking is another major cause of conveyor belt malfunction and deterioration. A mistracking conveyor belt often costs an operation lost labor, time, and material, as well as compromised safety. It also can lead to equipment damage, such as delamination of the belt.
The most common causes of poor conveyor belt tracking include off-center loading of material onto the conveyor belt, incorrect belt splicing, and excessive material build-up within the conveyor system.
Proper conveyor belt tracking may depend on corrective conveyor belt tracking idlers that are designed to re-align the belt so the material and belt can travel in a consistent and correct path.
If alignment is incorrect, there will be belt misalignment caused by the conveyor belt idlers. Both troughing and return idlers must be properly aligned over the full length of the conveyor system.
If spilled material is allowed to build on the conveyor belt idlers, it can cause an increase in the idler roll’s diameter, causing an uneven force on the belt’s sides and making it mistrack on the roll. A conveyor belt tracking problem also can create intense friction between the belt and the conveyor frame that can scorch and soften the belt. Failed idler rolls that are not turning will likewise cause misalignment and result in belt damage.
Operators can ensure conveyor belt tracking for a correctly aligned belt in its center position by remaining focused on characteristics such as:
- a stable, rigid supporting structure that withstands the forces acting upon it
- pulleys and conveyor belt idlers fitted at right angles to the belt-running axis
- belt-contact components cleaned regularly and protected from material build-up
Benetech’s customizable conveyor belt trackers keep belts on track without the need for structural modifications. Conveyor belt idlers can simply slide in, and once in place, they respond instantly to any misalignment they detect. This rapid reaction keeps production moving longer while extending conveyor belt life.
Benetech: Your Ally in Bulk Material Handling
As professionals in your industry, the professionals at Benetech know the importance of a lasting, high-performing conveyor belt to your daily operation’s performance success. To learn more about our solutions for your conveyor system, including conveyor belt tracking, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to speak with a specialist.