How Do Conveyor Belts Work?
A conveyor system systematically carries and transports materials, typically in an industrial or controlled environment. Conveyor belts are a tried-and-true energy saver designed to increase efficiency. Let’s take a look at how conveyor belts work and why they’ve stood the test of time.
How a Conveyor Belt Works
A conveyor belt works by using two motorized pulleys that loop over a long stretch of thick, durable material. When motors in the pulleys operate at the same speed and spin in the same direction, the belt moves between the two.
If objects are particularly heavy or bulky — or if the conveyor belt is carrying them for a long distance or duration — rollers may be placed on the sides of the conveyor belt for support. Rollers keep objects in place and keep the belt from sagging.
Functions of the Conveyor Belt
How is a conveyor belt typically used? A conveyor belt’s function is to move objects from Point A to Point B with minimal effort. The conveyor belt pace, direction, curvature and size varies based on the needs of the user. In some industries, a conveyor belt brings products through a manufacturing or packaging line and back out again.
Conveyor belting usually falls under two categories: lightweight and heavyweight.
Lightweight belting is designed to meet various material handling requirements in diverse industries. A lightweight belting system has a working tension of less than 160 pounds per inch of width. The four main types of light-duty conveyor belts are:
- Solid plastic
- Thermoplastic covered
- Lightweight rubber
Top industries that use lightweight belting include:
- Food processing
- Unit package handling
- Paper goods
For your toughest applications, use heavyweight conveyor belting with a tension of at least 160 pounds per inch of width. A heavy-duty belting system is used for applications that require continuous movement of bulky, heavy materials. The belt is often coated with PTFE to withstand high temperatures.
Top industries that use heavyweight belting include:
- High-temperature food processing
Conveyor Belt Uses and Applications
Lightweight and heavyweight belting have a range of uses and applications across different settings and industries. Whether you need light-duty or heavy-duty belting, conveyor belt systems are remarkable in their ability to impact efficiency, productivity and labor.
Conveyor Belt Uses
A conveyor system has a wide variety of uses, such as:
- Quickly and reliably transport a large amount of material
- Stack materials at the end of a transportation line
- Streamline the process to get something from Point A to Point B
- Move a product vertically or horizontally with a high degree of flexibility
The advantages of using a conveyor belt system include:
- Reduce labor while massively increasing productivity and time efficiency
- Protect workers from any injuries caused by carrying heavy loads
- Keep the product safe from damage during transportation
- Easily transfer a product onto a different route
- Enjoy relatively simple maintenance of this durable, long-lasting system
Conveyor Belt Applications
Conveyor systems are at work across many industries, including air travel, mining, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, food processing and more.
At an airport, a conveyor belt is the best way to process, sort, load and unload passenger luggage efficiently. For the pharmaceutical industry, conveyor belt systems transport cardboard boxes or palates full of medical supplies before and after packaging and distribution. In manufacturing and mining, enormous amounts of material are transported through tunnels, along roads and up steep slopes on conveyor belts.
For food processing, products go through their life cycle on a conveyor belt. Items can be spread, stamped, rolled, glazed, fried, sliced and powdered — all while rolling on the belt. Think of the hours of manpower that would otherwise be spent bringing each food item through every part of that process. With conveyor belts, goods move from start to finish in mass quantities while still retaining a uniform high quality.
Each industry has its own specifications and requirements for the type of conveyor belt they use. From shipyards and power plants to bakeries and ice cream plants, the conveyor belt is the go-to utility because of its simplicity and reliability.
Turn to SEMCOR for Custom Conveyor Belt Fabrication
If you’re in the market for a new conveyor belt or belt maintenance services, SEMCOR can help. Offering everything from customized conveyor belt consultation and fabrication, to installation and repair, we can support your conveyor belt applications with the right materials and expertise you need to get moving — and keep moving!
We know that when something goes wrong, you need a quick fix you can trust. You can reach us 24 hours a day, seven days a week for any conveyor belt emergencies.
Have any questions? Contact your SEMCOR representative today to learn more.