Engineering & Mining Journal

JUN 2019

Engineering and Mining Journal - Whether the market is copper, gold, nickel, iron ore, lead/zinc, PGM, diamonds or other commodities, E&MJ takes the lead in projecting trends, following development and reporting on the most efficient operating pr

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Page 31 of 115

30 E&MJ • JUNE 2019 COMPANY PROFILE-PAID ADVERTISEMENT Conveyor Belt Systems 101 Conveyor Belt systems are a great feat of human ingenuity! Let's go back in time to different eras where minerals and aggregates were trans- ported by hand with the use of wheelbarrows, oxcarts, etc. Now jump back to today to ponder mod- ern conveyor belt systems, which carry huge loads, efficiently, for miles, sometimes over challenging terrains. We can truly appreciate how far the conveying solutions industry has come. From a technical standpoint, these systems can be challenging to understand, operate, and maintain, both for the expert as well as the novice. As efficient as these systems have become, multiple compo- nents are involved, and many factors need to be considered in order to have them operate as intended. When we start hearing about idlers, motors, pulleys, transmissions, loads, temperatures, controls, inclines, and conveyor belts — just to name a few; we can easily become overwhelmed. That said, there is ample support to help maintain and operate conveyor belt systems, and the best place to start is with a good supplier partner who will work with you to find the best solution for your systems, not the lowest "cost" solution or what might be best for them. A good (and qualified) supplier partner will take the time to understand the situation and find the best solutions to make sure that the systems will run efficiently and fulfill the tonnage required, at the lowest cost possible and thus offering their true value. Due to the importance of conveyor belt systems in the mining and aggregate industries, we could go deeper and expand on the multiple components and factors that are involved. However, for the purpose of this article, we would like to focus on one of the main carrying compo- nents in these systems: the conveyor belt. Just as the industry has evolved over time, and great improvements have been achieved within the overall conveying solutions industry, conveyor belts have evolved as well. There are now new carcasses that perform better, new belt designs which are more resistant, and new compounds which last longer — just to name a few. There are many things to learn about a conveyor belt, from how to choose the right one, to its construction, to how to install, maintain, and troubleshoot issues. Here we will focus on two typical issues and ways to help identify those issues as well as address them. Conveyor system problems/causes and their solutions Tracking or Training These are some of the most common issues facing heavy-duty conveyor belt systems. Tracking troubles can cause several problems, from early wear and tear on the conveyor belt and other components, to product loss, and eventually total system failure. Common causes and solutions include: • Mechanical malfunction – Review the proper alignment of the pulleys and adjust as necessary. The frame should be square, check its alignment, and fix if necessary. Make sure idlers don't have uneven or excessive wear, are clean, and turn freely. • Crooked Splice – Make sure the belt ends are properly squared and replace the splice, whether it is mechanical or vulcanized. • Material buildup on pulleys – Have a proper maintenance routine in place. Also, determine which mechanical cleaning devices are the best solution for the application and install them in their proper location. Belt Plies or Cover Separation There are several reasons for this issue. However, most of the time it is caused either by selecting the wrong belt for the application, or because the belts are of substandard quality. What you end up with is a conveyor system that will not perform at its expected effectiveness. Common causes and solutions include: • Chemical attack – Check the environmental conditions influenc- ing the conveyor system, as well as the conveyor belt itself. Make sure you understand the Safety Data Sheets of the product being conveyed so you can match the specifications to the conveyor belt. • Pulleys are too small – Sometimes the pulley diameters are over- looked, and not matched correctly to the belt being used. Check the belt specifications and either install larger pulleys, or select a different belt better suited for the existing system. Either of these solutions should work depending on the specific situation. • Excessive pulley crown – In this case, the solution is fairly straight- forward. Refer to the industry standard CEMA 402-1964 or refer to the belt manufacturer specifications and adjust accordingly. For additional support on the newest and most efficient conveyor belts, and other components available, make sure you find that strategic sup- plier partner that will support your operations. We hope these thoughts have inspired you to get excited, either for the first time or once again, about these amazing machines that have come a long way through his- tory. The mining and aggregate industries are key to the progress and development of people and nations, and conveyor belt systems will be at the top of keeping industry in motion. Andres Webber is a regional sales manager for Motion Industries' Conveyance Solutions Group. He has over 30 years of experience in the industrial sector, with the last seven in the conveying industry. He frequently assesses both heavy- and light-duty applications and sys- tems, applying strategic and operational think- ing for innovative solutions. For more informa- tion, visit or click to Motion's Hose & Rubber page (

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