How Does a Conveyor System Work?
Conveyor systems are a type of mechanical handling equipment that can move materials from one place to another. There are various types of conveyor systems, including roller, belt, chain, electric track and pneumatic conveyors.
In industrial applications, conveyor systems are used by manufacturers to automate the transport of materials. They are advantageous compared to manual transport as they can handle objects of any size or weight with a great degree of safety, are quick and efficient (reducing cycle time), can be installed almost anywhere and reduce the likelihood of human errors. Conveyor systems are also commonly used in airports, sorting offices and assembly lines for efficient handling of items.
The global conveyor systems market is expected to grow significantly in value due to the increasing use of conveyor systems in the automotive, rail, food-and-beverage and distribution industries which are adopting conveyor systems to boost production rates. As a result, manufacturers are looking towards more efficient and high-performing products that can be used to optimise their conveyor systems to the highest degree.
The Main Components of a Conveyor System
The main components of conveyor systems usually include:
- Belt – made up of a layer of woven or metal fabric (carcass) sandwiched by two cover layers.
- Rollers – facilitate easy and effective movement of the load on the conveyor system.
- Electric motor – acts as the driving unit of the conveyor system.
- Frame bed – where the belt is laid on and the load is carried.
- Pulley (drums) – give the conveyor system structure and direct the motion of the belt.
Typically, the belt is rolled around the rollers, which are then operated by the electric motor and pulley systems, moving the belt all the way across the frame bed.
Common Causes of Repair in Conveyor Systems
The most common reasons conveyor systems require repairs or early maintenance range from:
One common way conveyor systems get damaged is through the build-up of small objects or materials in-between the conveyor system gaps. Blockages are usually easily noticeable as they can significantly slow the system down.
Conveyor system blockage can be prevented by ensuring no sharp edges, corners and surfaces are in the path of the conveyor belt, leading to the accidental dragging of items.
When utilising conveyor systems for the transfer of liquids, material spillage can be a problem, especially along the load and transfer points.
A simple way to avoid material spillage is through the installation of skirt clamps, impact beds or belt ploughs.
When utilising conveyor systems for the transfer of materials that can leave residue behind on the belt, such as minerals or clay, a build-up of materials can be left behind on the conveyor belt. This build-up of residue can end up negatively affecting the rollers and pulleys and being a health and safety hazard.
Material carryback can be avoided through the installation of scraping systems that clean the belt routinely, ensuring no build-up of residues.
Conveyor belt rollers can seize up over time, developing sharp edges. This can lead to many issues such as damages to products, mistracking, blockages and safety hazards.
Seized rollers can be avoided by checking the rollers for quality routinely, as well as using corrosion-resistant lubricants on the bearings of the rollers.
A conveyor belt can slip or break due to an incorrect amount of tension connecting it to the pulleys. It’s therefore important that a suitable amount of tension is applied to the belt. One sign of an incorrectly connected belt is screeching noises during operation.
Belt slippage can be avoided by the application of suitable lubricants to the conveyor belt in order to reduce the effects of wear and tear. In addition, it must be ensured that the belt isn’t overloaded, is kept in its optimum temperature range, is installed properly and is routinely inspected for signs of damage. It’s also important that the maximum load capacity and rolling speed of the conveyor system match the volume and weight of the materials that it is planned to carry.
Belt Tears & Rips
Conveyor belts can encounter tears and rips due to sharp items, high friction, and being overloaded. Tears and rips can result in inefficiencies and potential damage to products.
Conveyor belt tears and rips can be avoided by vulcanisation, cold curing and manually bonding the tears with durable, easily applied adhesives (listed in the section below). Adhesive solutions provide lightweight, efficient and quick repairs that can be applied with ease for reduced maintenance downtime.
Mistracking happens when the belt no longer aligns with the frame bed that it’s laid on. This can cause items to fall off the belt and potentially damage the entire conveyor system.
Mistracking can be avoided by ensuring the conveyor frame is level and square, all rollers are aligned with the frame, the conveyor belt is cut to the exact length it needs to be, and the belts are kept clean and routinely maintained.
Preventive Maintenance for Optimised Conveyor Systems Performance
As with any other mechanical system, parts within conveyor systems require adequate maintenance in order to function optimally. As a manufacturer, you can carry out scheduled maintenance using high-quality lubricants, adhesives and sealants to ensure the long-term reliable performance of the conveyor systems. Here we explore our recommended solutions for optimising the manufacturing and maintenance of conveyor systems.
Lubricants for Conveyor Systems
Conveyor systems contain many bearings and shafts which connect the pulley system (drums) together. Bearings and shafts require proper lubrication in order to maintain operational efficiency and ensure the smooth operation of the conveyor system. This is most effectively done through the use of application-based lubricants for each component in the conveyor system.
Proper lubrication of bearings and shafts within conveyor belts, during their assembly process and while maintaining, leads to:
- High performance at both high and low temperatures
- Resistance to chemicals, acids, solvents, fuels, etc.
- Resistance to water-washout, humidity, oxidation
- Corrosion protection
- Resistance to wear – lowering the frequency of repairs
- Reduced friction – smoother operation
Our top lubrication brands Krytox and Molykote offer lubricants, greases and oils for lubricating bearings and shafts. Choosing the right lubricant for your bearings should be based on the specifications of each application, taking into account viscosity and speed to eliminate any risk of lubricant washout and contamination. Learn how to clean and grease your bearings for maximum performance.
Krytox GPL 227 is a high-performance grease that can be used in conveyor systems to reduce wear and friction, protect against oxidation and corrosion, and increase the durability and reliability of components. It is stable at high temperatures, non-flammable and chemically inert. It has been designed specially to provide support and absorb pressure under high loads, by increasing its viscosity.
Adhesives and Sealants for Conveyor Systems
When it comes to conveyor maintenance and repair, it is essential that repair and maintenance teams have the right solutions to hand to make efficient and effective repairs to limit downtime and extend component lifespan and performance.
At Antala, we have years of experience in supporting industry leaders in ensuring they have the right solutions to hand when they need it most. From investing time on-site to find the right adhesive and lubricant solutions to optimise clients’ overall processes; to ensuring that teams stay stocked up with the products they need to keep operations running smoothly, we are proud to support teams in boosting operational efficiencies.
Adhesives can play a significant role in the maintenance of conveyor systems performance. The proper use of suitable adhesives for conveyor systems enables:
- Quick and easy maintenance
- Emergency repairs
- High performance at extreme temperatures
- Resistance to external contaminants
- Greater efficacy than mechanical fixtures
Araldite 2018 is a cold-curing polyurethane adhesive that can be used for the repair of conveyor belts. It is designed for use on thermoplastics and provides a flexible, pale coloured bond. With an easy application and optimised cure time, it offers an efficient belt repair solution to limit unexpected downtime and keep operations running efficiently.
Araldite 2028-1 is a cold-curing polyurethane adhesive that can also be used for the repair of conveyor belts. It is suitable for use on a wide range of metals and plastics, UV stable, transparent and fast-curing. With an easy to apply two-component dispenser system, it can be easily applied and will allow operations to run smoothly whilst a permanent replacement belt is attained.