How Do Conveyor Belts Work?
From their early 20th century beginnings of mining, agriculture and even the Ford Motor company’s assembly line, conveyor belts have been used to carry or ‘convey’ a range of materials in industrial, manufacturing and warehouse spaces. So let’s take a look at how conveyor belts work and have managed to become one of the most trusted labor-saving devices of the modern age.
The Way a Conveyor Belt Operates
Conveyor belt technology is straightforward, and that’s part of the reason conveyor belts are so trustworthy. A long piece of material — traditionally leather or rubber, and now often a type of fabricated material — is stretched between two motorized rotors or pulleys. As long as the motors that turn the pulleys operate at the same speed and spin in the same direction, the belt will move and transport the materials placed on the belt.
Depending on the length of the belt — the transport distance — and the weight of the materials being moved, rollers may be placed along the route of transport to prevent sagging and allow heavier elements to be carried along the belt without interruption.
Function of a Conveyor Belt
From moving raw materials like ores and grains in mining and agriculture to packages and parts in warehouse and assembly lines, the function of a conveyor belt is always about moving some material across a distance in a manner that ultimately saves on labor and time.
Over the years, conveyor belt uses have expanded. Today, thanks to different belting materials and tapered rollers, materials can be moved around corners and even vertically. Think of retrieving your checked luggage after a flight — one of the most common forms of conveyor belts used in airports around the world. In fact, airports use a series of belts that carry pieces of luggage up an incline from outside the terminal and ultimately deposit them onto a turnstile that allows them to turn around corners.
Conveyor Belt Uses and Applications
Today, conveyor belts are used in a variety of applications and industries. Modern conveyor belts can be used to move anything from lightweight to heavyweight materials. Many specialized impact-, rip- and temperature-resistant belting materials and fabrication options are available to meet almost any industrial need.
For companies concerned with sanitation, such as pharmaceutical and food and beverage industries, there are highly specialized conveyor belts and belting materials that meet clean operation requirements of HACCP. For more stringent health requirements, anti-microbial belting materials and sanitary equipment help keep almost any production operation safe and moving.
Need a New Belt or Belt Services?
From customized conveyor belt consultation and fabrication to installation and repair, SEMCOR is ready to support your conveyor belt applications with the right materials and expertise you need to get moving — and keep moving! To learn more and get answers to any of your questions, contact your SEMCOR representative today.