Types of Conveyor Belts & Belt Cleaners

This article was authored by:

Dan Baxter
Material Handling Sales Engineer

When selecting the proper belt conveyor for your process needs, it is critical to consider the different types of conveyor belts (and belt cleaners) available. In order for a conveyor to operate at its full potential, the correct belting and cleaning options must be selected.

While there are many types of conveyor belts, the most appropriate belt is determined by examining what belt characteristics will result in the most efficient handling solution for your material’s unique characteristics at any given point in the process.

Choosing the right belting for the application at hand can mean the difference between an efficient, low-maintenance conveyor, and one that requires frequent maintenance and downtime.

This article focuses on the types of conveyor belts suited for troughed belt conveyors, shuttle conveyors, and steep incline conveyors.

Types of Conveyor Belts for Troughed Belt & Shuttle Conveyors

In most cases, shuttle conveyors and troughed belt conveyors can run the same types of belts and belt cleaners. The most common options are discussed here.

Heat-Resistant Belting

For conveyors handling material coming off of hot processes, heat-resistant belts offer an excellent option, resisting degradation associated with heat. Typical conveyor belting is rated for 200°F steady operating temperature. Heat-resistant belt ratings are 400°F, but are available for temperatures as high as 750°F.

Moderate Oil-Resistant Belting

When working with moderately oily materials such as waste products or some fertilizers, an oil-resistant belt provides protection from swelling or ply separation due to oil exposure. This type of belting is also referred to as MORS.

Raised Profile (Steep Angle) Belting

Raised profile belting can be used for inclined conveyors carrying material at limited angles exceeding 20°. This type of belting features low-profile cleats to assist in preventing material fallback while conveying on an angle. Despite this raised profile, this type of belting is still flexible enough to be used on conveyors with small-radius pulleys.

Other belt types can be sourced for chemical resistance, flame retardance, and solar resistance.

Belting Options – Troughed Belt & Shuttle Conveyors
Heat Resistant Raised Profile Moderate Oil Resistant
  • Resistant to belt degradation due to hot materials
  • Works great for conveyors placed in line after a kiln or dryer
  • Raised profiles on the belt surface reduce material fallback at steeper angles
  • Flexible enough to still be used on conveyors with small radius pulleys
  • Resistant to swelling or ply separation due to oil exposure
  • Works great with waste products, fertilizers, and other moderately oily materials

Belt Cleaner Options

Some materials, particularly those that are wet or sticky, have a tendency to adhere to the belt surface, causing carryback, build-up, and ultimately preventing the conveyor from operating correctly. These problems contribute to increased wear and mechanical failures, as well as higher maintenance costs and downtime.

As such, belt cleaners are an essential tool in prolonging conveyor belt life and protecting pulleys, keeping belt conveyors in optimal condition and ensuring efficient operation for years to come.

Several options and designs exist for keeping conveyor belts clean. Commonly used implements include:

Belt Cleaners (Scrapers)

A conveyor belt cleaner, also referred to as a belt scraper, is a spring-loaded blade or plate that scrapes the conveyor belt in order to clear any fugitive material sticking to the belt. The scraper blade may be made up of plastic or metal and is usually mounted at the tangent point of the discharge pulley, removing material before it is carried past the discharge point.

Dual Belt Cleaners

A dual conveyor belt cleaner setup is an ideal option for materials with a higher moisture content, or that require more aggressive belt cleaning.

This setup prevents material from traveling to idlers and other components through the use of a primary and secondary belt cleaner; by positioning a primary belt cleaner at the head pulley, the cleaner is able to remove the bulk of material. A secondary cleaner, positioned lower than the primary cleaner, sitting just behind the head pulley, removes any remaining material for a more thorough clean.

Return Side Belt Plow (V-Plow)

The return side belt plow, also commonly called a V-plow, is another belt cleaning option. This v-shaped “plow” is positioned just before the tail pulley on the return (non-carrying) side of the belt in order to prevent any large particles from getting lodged between the belt and pulley, which could otherwise cause rips and tears.

Self-cleaning Tail Pulley

In addition to external belt cleaners, self-cleaning tail pulleys are also useful in preventing material from getting pinched between the pulley and the belt, avoiding buildup and excess wear.

Various self-cleaning tail pulley designs are available on the market, including wing pulleys, chevron pulleys, spirals, and more.

While many manufacturers use only a self-cleaning tail pulley when fugitive material is a concern, FEECO recommends employing both the self-cleaning tail pulley and the v-plow for optimal protection of the tail pulley and belt.

Types of Conveyor Belts for Pocket Belt (Steep Incline) Conveyors

Because of their design differences, steep incline conveyors cannot proficiently use any of the same components (belts or cleaners) as troughed or shuttle conveyors unless the angle is under approximately 20 degrees.

Pocket belt conveyors instead utilize special belting known as corrugated sidewall belting.

Corrugated Sidewall Conveyor Belts

This style of conveyor belt contains material with corrugated sidewalls. Sidewalls are flexible enough to contain material and work with a variety of pulley sizes. The belting is available with a range of cover compounds for various types of handling, including standard, oil-resistant and heat-resistant.

Corrugated sidewall conveyors also employ cleats along the belt in order to contain material during vertical handling, creating pockets for material to rest in (it is for this reason that the steep incline conveyor is also frequently referred to as a pocket belt conveyor). Cleats can range in height from 1” – 6”, and can be either integrated or detachable.

Belt Cleaning Options for Steep Incline Conveyors

Steep incline conveyors are limited in their cleaning ability, due to the special type of belting they use. For this reason, dry, less-adhesive materials perform better with this style of belt conveyor.

When some type of cleaning is necessary, producers employing a steep incline conveyor can enlist the help of a belt thumper.

A belt thumper is mounted to the underside of the belt on the return side of the conveyor. This mechanism creates a high-speed rotating action that causes the belt to vibrate, loosening and removing any material that may be stuck, before it reaches the feed location.

At FEECO, we know it’s critical to have a solid understanding of the process and the material before selecting the proper type of conveyor belt for each conveyor style in every unique setting. This allows us to confirm that all of our equipment will have the right configuration to meet or exceed the customer’s requirements. Our long history in bulk solids handling, in combination with our concept testing facility, ensures that we can find an innovative solution for your bulk material handling requirements. For more expertise on belt conveyors and other bulk material handling equipment, contact us today.


About the Author . . .

Dan Baxter is a Material Handling Sales Engineer.

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