Conveyor belts are integral parts in conveyor systems that continuously transport items from one area to another by an endless, flexible and flat piece of material on a series of rollers. They are usually powered by an electric motor and operate continuously and automated, cutting down production time as well as labor costs.
Conveyor belts are made from many different materials, all of which are durable, long-lasting and able to safely operate without interruption. Conveyor belt materials are either seamless and flexible or constructed out of hard pieces that are able to move easily. Rubber belting is the most common type, closely followed by polyurethane belting (which is sometimes referred to as urethane belting) and plastic conveyor belts. Within the manufacturing industry, there are many different kinds of industrial belts, the most common of which is flat belting, which operates continuously. Continuous belting varieties are often called endless belting. Round belts are most commonly used as power transmission belts, though they can also be used to keep flat belts securely on their rollers during twists and turns in conveying processes. Conveyor belting is also used in many engine varieties. These include power transmission belts like V belts, which have triangular, trapezoidal or V-shaped cross sections. Timing belting is used in internal combustion engines and is manufactured with small teeth that interlock with engine gears and cogs. Since the applications for conveyor belts are so numerous, many facilities have specialty belting custom made for a specific function.
Assembly lines are the most common places to find conveyor belts. Food and beverage processing, automotive manufacturing, electronics production, packaging, recycling, agriculture, pharmaceutical, printing, mail sorting, waste management, milling, commercial goods production and metal fabrication operations all use different kinds of belts to convey materials, parts, finished products, packaging like bottles and boxes and large quantities of goods ready to ship on pallets to different areas of a manufacturing facility. Without a full conveyor belting system, these operations could spend a large amount of time transporting their products within and outside their premises. Machines like elevators and anything using an internal combustion engine, including aircraft, electric generators, automobiles and trains also make use of conveyor belts. These belts, however, are used to transmit energy rather than convey goods. A popular application for standard flat, flexible rubber belts is at grocery stores. Nearly every store that sells large quantities of small goods have conveyor belts at each checkout line to speed up the process and help the cashier.
Conveyor belting suppliers offer different styles of products, which are available for unique applications. For example, fin belts flex and catch fast-moving containers to separate and move them into their respective cartons in packaging facilities. O-ring belts, also known as endless round belts, connect the outside edges of wide flat belts to chains along curves on conveying systems so that the flat beds do not slip inward. Round belts are generally not used to convey objects. Many conveyor belting suppliers have selections of belts made of certain materials that are resistant to harsh conditions and environments like freezers or ovens. These belts are made specifically to resist very high or low temperatures as well as acid and chemical exposure, among other hazards. Conveying systems that are inclined and must work against gravity use belts with ridges or a corrugated surface to keep objects in place when in motion. Most flat belts are composed of two or more layers. They consist of a core material made of fabric or plastic mesh, which is then coated with layers of the surface material, usually a rubber composite or plastic.
Conveyor belts can be made from various materials, ranging from rubber compounds and leather to polyurethane and PVC to wire mesh composed of assorted metals, including stainless steel and carbon steel. A number of characteristics differentiate conveyor belting types. Different sizes and groove shapes are examples. For instance, if the traction on a conveyor system is an issue, a good choice is a deep slotted V-belt. Sizes also play a key role in determining belt configuration. If a mining company needs to load thousands of pounds of copper onto a conveyor all at once, the belt must be wide enough and strong enough to handle the load. Many conveyor belt manufacturers will design and manufacture uniquely shaped belts for specialty uses, such as food processing. Some conveyor belting features raised stoppers or blockaded sections to more easily sort and package the food. Because of the wide variety of conveyor belt configurations available and the equally wide variety of conveyor manufacturers and suppliers, any operation that needs one can easily find the right conveyor belting for its purposes.
Image Provided by DuraBelt, Inc.
Conveyor Belt Terms
- A device that is used to maintain the proper level of tension
in a conveyor belt, in order to compensate for the stretch and shrinkage