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What You Need to Know About Conveyor Belt Spillage Control

Conveyor belt spillage is any fugitive material that falls around the load zone of the conveyor belt. When spillage occurs on a daily basis, it can be quite difficult to pick up. The force created when the spillage hits the ground can cause dust to scatter around the area, making it quite difficult to clean up. Conveyor belt spillage can also contaminate other materials being conveyed (i.e. ship loader facilities.) Without proper conveyor spillage control, the conveyor belt will work with reduced efficiency and affect product continuation as well as plant availability.

In some cases, the spillage can occur from the carry side and along the line of the belt. The spillage ends up on on walkways beside or beneath the conveyor which can cause quite a number of issues like falling debris and accidental slips and trips. This can become a hazard if the spillage becomes a lump before falling to the ground. Material spillage also increases the risk of slipping when the material accumulates on the walkway beneath the conveyor.

Fugitive material can end up burying conveyor components, idlers, and even structural supports which can lead to costly labour clean-ups and replacement parts. Spillage can build up around idlers and if left untreated, will lead to increased belt friction and seize up the idlers. Many material handling plants are designed and installed without paying too much attention to spillage control. In here we’ll be discussing what you need to know about managing material spillage when operating a belt conveyor system.

How to control material spillage

To effectively control material spillage, we should take a look at these 3 key factors:

  • Loading zone containment
  • Preventing the material from escaping the carry side of the belt.
  • Controlling material discharge.

Containment at the loading zone

The most common way to avoid spillage issues is by eliminating the spillage right from the source. Maintaining a tight seal at the transfer points is of utmost importance to contain spillage from becoming airborne. Containment at the loading zone depends primarily on how efficient the seal is between the fixed skirting and the moving conveyor belt. Extraction of dust is also crucial, as is belt maintenance and support.

Troughing the conveyor at the load point requires well-designed rubber skirts to ensure that the material is properly contained. The key to proper containment, however, relies on how accurate the seal is maintained. For example, the seals can be impaired when the impact of the material spillage causes the belt to sag, thus allowing the spillage to escape. In order to create an effective seal, close-tolerances should be maintained. This can only be achieved by using load impact bars placed between troughing roller sets. This absorbs the impact of the material falling from the loading chute which provides a low-friction support platform for the conveyor belt. This also prevents the sagging of the conveyor belt when it gets impacted by material spillage.

When the conveyor belt is supported on a fixed plane, the impact bars allow skirt rubbers to be tightly sealed at the loading section which reduces material spillage and prevent it from going airborne. This system will remain effective as long as the components are properly maintained. All the components are subject to wear, which is why it’s extremely important to fit clamps that allow fast re-adjustment. It’s also important that there should be a safe and easy access to the clamps to allow re-adjustments in the most cost-efficient way possible.

Preventing material spillage from the carry side of the belt

The conveyor belt should be inspected closely for misalignment or belt wandering which is one of the primary causes for material spillage. Belt wandering interrupts production due to it being stopped or repaired before operations are resumed. To perfectly track the belt to the center, the pulleys and idlers should be aligned, squared, and leveled prior before it is loaded. The proper way of loading the belt is by distributing the load in the center.

This can be achieved by installing a belt tracking or training device. But before these get installed, the belt should be monitored first to help identify any problem areas that cannot be alleviated through adjustments. To prevent material spillage from the carry side of the belt, consistent monitoring and maintenance should be exercised.

Controlling material discharge

Cleaning the conveyor belt at the discharge points eliminates fine material, thus reducing carryback that falls along the conveying strand. The removal of wet fines, belt washing, and spillage return are issues that need to be addressed in order to cope with difficult residues and effectively manage conveyor belt spillage.


Conveyor belt spillage problems can hinder your productivity potential, increase clean-up costs, and also pose a threat to your health. Make sure to follow these steps to ensure proper control of material spillage when operating a belt conveyor system.

A Brief Overview of Troughed Conveyors

The conveyor is one of the cornerstones of any modern mining operation, providing a safe and reliable way to transport ore from one place to the other, provided that it is a relatively short distance. Although for most industries the flat conveyor belt is the most commonly used, the mining industry tends to use troughed belt conveyors. This type of conveyor lifts up the sides of the normally flat conveyor belt, forming a trough that allows a much larger holding capacity for loose ores with minimal risk of said ores falling off the belt, which happens much more often on a flat conveyor belt. In this article we will be discussing and familiarising ourselves with the important bits of this crucial component and it is always advisable to speak with an expert when it comes to information regarding conveyors.

Before we get to our actual diagram however, there is an important detail that needs to be cleared up. Although the diagram we will be showing below is one of a conveyor belt that is used in the real world, manufacturers design these conveyors with different specifications to suit certain workloads. Some of the most common variations can be found in the dimensions of the conveyor belt, the angle of the trough, the power of the drive motor, the sizes of the pulleys, and the type of takeup mechanism.


Feed Chute: Loose ore and rocks enter through the feed chute and drop down onto the conveyor belt.

Loading Skirts: The loading skirts guide the ores entering through the feed chute from falling out of the conveyor belt.

Troughing Carrying Idlers: As the name implies, troughing carrying idlers are set at a specific angle to lift up the sides of the conveyor belt to create the trough shape, and help bear the load of ores and rocks.

Troughed Conveyor Belt: With the help of the troughing idlers, the conveyor belt is shaped to form the distinct trough shape.

Discharge Chute: Objects on the conveyor belt drop through this chute at the end of the conveyor belt, guiding them to the next area.

Head Pulley and Drive: The head pulley is located at the end point of the conveyor belt and is powered by the drive motor.

Snub Pulley: The snub pulley is a secondary pulley placed not too far from the head pulley, the purpose of which is to increase the tension on the conveyor belt at that point, which reduces the amount of power needed for the drive motor to move the belt, improving efficiency and reducing energy costs.

Return Idlers: These idlers help return the conveyor belt into its original flat shape and guides it to the tail pulley.

Stringer: The stringer is the general frame of the conveyor belt to which all of the pulley shafts are mounted.

Closely Spaced Idlers at Loading Point: Because heavy ores and rocks drop vertically through the feed chute and onto the conveyor belt, there are more idlers at the area of impact to spread the weight throughout a larger area, reducing the amount of wear on the idlers. In most cases there are specially-designed idlers called impact idlers, which have a distinct shape designed to absorb more impact than standard idlers.

Horizontal Screw Take-up: The takeup mechanism maintains tension at the tail end of the conveyor to make sure that the conveyor belt is guided correctly as it returns to the top side.

Tail Pulley: Located near the feed chute, the tail pulley guides the conveyor belt back up to the top side, repeating the cycle.

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