Conveyor belts are by far the most common type of conveyor system and are designed to move any material that is placed on top of them. Most conveyor belts are motorized and need to be wear-resistant, flexible, strong and powerful and, most importantly, they must not do any damage to the material that they are moving.
Conveyor belts are used all over the world in many types of settings. They are most commonly found in agricultural, logging, transportation, factory and industrial work. They are used to transport a wide a variety of items such as iron ore, coal, timber, salt, food grains, apparel, medicines, medicine bottles, books and packages etc. Actually, conveyor belts can be used to transport just about anything as long as the belt is large enough and powerful enough.
A conveyor belt is basically one piece of material that is looped over the top of and underneath a solid, sturdy frame. The belt moves along continuously when the motor is turned on or when it is propelled manually. Most conveyors are operated by a pulley system at each end of the belt which is powered by a motor. Most motorized belts can be stopped and reversed and you can usually control their speed. Conveyor belts are sometimes reinforced with wires to prevent them from sagging in the center. They must also withstand the wear and tear and the axial tension imposed while they are moving a full load.
Because of the weight and volume of the items that are usually moved on conveyor belts they must be made of strong, durable materials. Many conveyor belts are made of cotton, canvas, EPDM, Kevlar, nitrile, nylon, polyester, polyurethane/urethane, PVC, rubber, silicone, steel cord, Teflon, wire mesh or weave, etc. The material used to make the belt generally depends on the types of products that the belt is going to be transporting. The actual belt is typically made of smaller pieces of material that are joined together by connectors made of metal, nylon, urethane, etc. Conveyor belts are also made in a variety of widths and thicknesses.
Although conveyor belts are usually found moving products along in the industrial world they aren’t restricted to it. You will often find versions of conveyor belts in airports and supermarkets. In airports, conveyor belts move people along via a type of moving sidewalk system and they also move your luggage to the baggage carousel, that is if the airline hasn’t lost it. In the supermarket and convenience stores, conveyor belts are used to move your items up to the cash register.
Some of the most common types of conveyor belts are:
- Incline / Decline belting systems are used in applications where the processing equipments are at different levels of height. The belting material used is wear-resistant SBR, rubber, oil resistant nitrile, durometer PVC, etc. For example: These systems are often used to transport crates and boxes in the bottling industry.
- Heavy-duty belting is used to move minerals, cement, fertilizers and hot asphalt, etc. They are usually made of materials such as nitrile, neoprene and other fabrics that resist heat and high abrasion.
- Cleated belting is used in harvest products, food processing, minerals, fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, etc. The material used to construct these types of belts is neoprene, PVC, etc.
If you are purchasing a conveyor belt make sure you specify the application or the material that it will be transporting along with the thickness, width and length you will require; the working load per inch of the belt width; maximum operating speed; minimum pulley size; and if cleats/chevrons/ribs, sidewalls, V-guides and ropes, anti-static features, etc. are required.