When it comes to powering a conveyor belt, there are plenty of components that aid in its operation such as idlers, winches, motors, fluid couplings, bearings, couplings, scrapers, and gearboxes. But perhaps the most overlooked component involved in a conveyor setup is none other than the belt — the actual component that’s designed to transport the material from one location to another. In this article, we’ll be discussing the various types of conveyor belts and the factors one should consider when choosing a belt that fits their intended applications.
Composition of a conveyor belt
A conventional conveyor belt is made up of three layers. The top layer (cover) is where the material sits on during transportation. The middle layer (carcass) provides support to the belt and is usually made of metal or woven fabric. The bottom layer is simply a cover that completes the belt makeup.
Conveyor belts today are sorted into multiple categories. In fact, there are three popular types of conveyor belts made for underground applications. Categories of conveyor belts for this application are:
- Multi-ply – A conveyor belt makeup that consists of multiple layers of fabric which are separated by rubber. This helps deaden impact as the material lands on top of the belt. Multi-ply belts tend to be more hard-wearing than most other types of belts.
- Straight-warp – Impact and tear resistance are the two main attributes of this conveyor belt which uses polyamide and yarn on both sides for added durability.
- Steel-cord – A type of conveyor belt that is anchored by steel cables which run the entire length of the belt.
Things to consider when choosing a mining conveyor belt
The two main considerations when choosing a mining conveyor belt are the material itself and where the material is going to be located. It goes without saying that conveyors transporting light materials in temperature-controlled environments aren’t going to have the same requirements as those transporting heavy products underground in mines and quarries.
This is why the application and the environment should be the leading considerations during belt selection. Much like how conveyor components need to be functioning well to maintain productivity, belt rips or tears can also impact overall conveyor operations and cause lapses in operations.
Apart from application and conveyor environment, here are a couple of key factors worth considering when deciding on a conveyor belt:
- Fireproof – If your mining conveyor is operating in an underground environment, then it needs to comply with temperature standards.. Make sure that you’re fully aware of the rules and regulations since this will influence the type of belt you’re going to select. Staying compliant is for the safety of the workers and the efficiency of the conveyor belt as well.
- Service Life – Some conveyor belts have a longer service life than others. Factors such longevity and durability are important based on the specific type of environment the belt will be used for. Conveyors operating underground or transporting material from mines and quarries place greater demands on the conveyor belt compared to a line in a factory transporting light boxes.
Failure to consider this could result in productivity loss and increased downtime.
- Corrosion-resistance – Conveyor belts can corrode over time, especially those that use metals in their makeup. While corrosion may not be as much of a concern in a temperature-controlled environment, it can pose a few challenges on conveyors located underground where moisture levels and humidity are likely fluctuating.
- Belt Width & Length – Just like how belts are made for different applications, they also come in a variety of widths and lengths. For example, the belts used on the conveyor lanes in grocery store checkouts are much smaller in width and length than those used for transporting products from underground mines. While the belts can be custom-made to fit a certain desired length and width, knowing your exact sizing requirements is key to ensure operational efficiency.
- Temperature – The temperature fits into our whole point of making sure whatever belt you choose is suitable for the environment to which it will be installed. It’s one thing that the belt complies with temperature standards, but hot materials processing is a different kind of beast. That said, if you are transporting materials that reach temperatures of 220°F, it can end up being damaged even though it may not catch fire. For this reason, considering a belt designed with specific thermal properties can come in quite handy.
Selecting the best mining conveyor belt
A lot goes into selecting a conveyor belt for mining applications and it’s imperative that you weigh each factor considerably when designing the system for your next project. A conveyor belt is a key piece of the puzzle and the right one will not only meet your productivity and profit goals, but also exceed them. When choosing a mining conveyor belt, take note of its composition along with its specific characteristics to ensure it fits with your intended applications.