What You Need to Know About Belt Cleaner Tensioning

When using a belt cleaner on a conveyor system, one of the most important things to look out for is the belt tension. This can sometimes be overlooked due to the amount of time spent on maintenance, refurbishing, and shutdown installation. Today we’ll be discussing key things about belt cleaner tensioning and why you should do it to get the most out of your conveyor system.

Without correct belt tensioning, the performance of the belt cleaner can be seriously compromised. This results in poor efficiency of the conveyor system which can hinder material transportation. To address this, it’s essential to maintain optimum belt cleaner tension on the blades which allows for more efficient cleaning while reducing carryback and protecting the belt altogether.

With the correct belt tension, thorough cleaning is much easier to achieve, helping to boost system safety and productivity. An additional benefit to a correct belt tension is the reduced wear and tear on polyurethane or metal blades, helping to prolong its lifespan. For more information regarding belt cleaners, visit out Brelko conveyor spillage control page.

Problems caused by over-tensioning the belt cleaner

One of the most common problems of an inefficient conveyor system is over-tensioning the belt cleaner. Some operators believe that the added pressure will result in better cleaning which is definitely not the case. Over-tensioning doesn’t improve the performance of the belt cleaner, but rather introduces problems that aren’t present in the first place. The increased pressure can cause the blades to wear out faster, reduce the efficiency of the belt cleaner, and cause serious issues for the conveyor system.

Over-tensioning the belt cleaner can create internal pressures of around 120 ̊C (250 ̊F) which can cause melting and blisters due to excessive vibration and friction. The thermal changes can severely damage polyurethane blades and can make it harder for the blade to reduce carryback.

How under-tensioning can cause problems as well

Under-tensioning can also cause issues to the belt cleaner. The aggressive tensioning can contribute to increased temperatures and cause damage to the belt. Since the belt is the most expensive component of a belt conveyor system, reducing heat transfer is paramount to prolong its lifespan. Once operation stops, the metal blades can actually melt the belt and burn through the top layer, leading to unnecessary downtime and costly repairs.

Another misconception that needs to be addressed is under-tensioning the belt cleaner. Improper belt tension can contribute to a number of different issues and is no better than over-tensioning the belt cleaner. The lack of tension on the belt cleaner blades can result in chatter or bouncing of polyurethane or metal blades. This bouncing can drastically reduce the blade’s lifespan as well as increasing carryback in the conveyor system.

The bouncing can also cause heavy damage to the belt across its width, making it much more difficult to clean and maintain. If the issue is not addressed immediately, the chatter marks can eventually get worse and contribute to expensive repairs. An inefficient belt cleaner is prone to excessive carryback. Carryback can cause belt mistracking and amplifies material spillage which can be more time-consuming to clean up.

Belt Cleaner Tensioning

Excessive material build-up can also occur on the surface of the belt as a result of inefficient belt cleaning. This can accelerate the wear and tear of the blades and make the belt surface abrasive. Material build-up can also reduce the lifespan of the belt and make it difficult to clean because of the worn-out top covers. It’s a time-consuming and expensive issue that can be remedied by proper belt cleaner tensioning.

Why optimal belt cleaner tension is key

Over-tensioning and under-tensioning a belt cleaner can present a number of different problems such as added maintenance cost, increased maintenance, and reduced conveyor system efficiency. That’s why it’s important to optimise the belt cleaner tension to maintain peak performance throughout operation. A properly adjusted belt cleaner tension allows for maximum conveyor system efficiency by increasing blade life and reducing component damage to a minimum.

To achieve optimal belt tensioning, routine inspection and and tension checks should be conducted. Slight adjustments should be made every now and then to maintain proper belt cleaner tension. This ensures that the belt cleaner performs at its best in a safe and efficient manner. Belt cleaner tensioning can be performed in a quick and simple procedure like selecting a system with an intuitive and straightforward tension check. These kinds of systems allow for easier tension checks and optimise belt cleaner performance as much as possible.

You can also choose to use an air tensioning system that maintains constant pressure throughout each blade. The key here is to regularly monitor the pressure gauge and make simple adjustments at the regulator. This ensures that the belt cleaner is at an optimal tension to maximise the lifespan of the blades. You can opt for a mechanical tensioner, but this requires periodic maintenance as the cleaning blade continues to wear out. Air tensioners are much better since the consistent force on the blade allows for much more efficient cleaning due to the constant pressure.


The importance of an optimal belt cleaner tension should never be understated. It’s easy to over-tension or under-tension the belt cleaner which can result in a number of different issues. By having adequate tension on the belt cleaner, the overall productivity of the conveyor system is increased while minimising costly repairs and unplanned downtime. This simple change will make a huge impact on the performance of the belt cleaner so make sure to adjust the belt cleaner tension properly.