How To Prevent Wear & Tear On Conveyor Systems

Everything has a shelf life, even the equipment that’s built tough and designed to last. And, this principle certainly applies to conveyor systems.

Think about what your conveyor goes through, especially if it’s operating in a mine or quarry. There’s dust, heavy loads, impact forces, and a multitude of various parts and components that are working to make everything tick. 

Tips For Preventing Wear & Tear On Conveyors

While it might seem like simple equipment, performance and efficiency of conveyors shouldn’t be overlooked because any downtime experienced is lost productivity and profits. It’s why managers should strive to prevent wear and tear on their conveyors as much as possible. After all, the best way to prevent problems is proactively — not reactively. 

Not only will preventative maintenance better streamline efficiency and reliability, but it will also help control maintenance and repair costs. 

Here’s a look at some tips for how to prevent wear and tear on conveyor systems:

Managing Material Carryback

Material carryback is common and costly on conveyor systems. 

In fact, it’s estimated that on a 60-inch belt traveling at 800 feet per minute, a conveyor operating in a mine or quarry might be carrying as much as 3 tons of material back per week. And when you consider that carryback doesn’t just have the potential to harm the belt, but the rollers, idlers and other components, it’s a problem that should be addressed. 

This is especially true if you’re working with materials such as clay and mineral ores that have more of a tendency to stick to the belt. 

Although you might not be able to completely eliminate carryback, you can make efforts to reduce it. One way is via the installation of belt cleaners, which work to minimize — and in some cases — eliminate carryback. 

Belt scrapers are another solution. There are both primary and secondary belt scrapers, which clean conveyor belts to eliminate any issues with carryback. Primary scrapers clean at the lead pulley head, while secondary scrapers remove any other residue.

Belt Damage

Whether it’s belt mistracking, belt rips or tears, several belt issues have the potential to derail your operations. 

Belts are one of the most expensive components of the conveyor, so it’s imperative to keep them well maintained. 

Here’s a look at some things you can do to minimize potential common belt issues:

  • Impact idlers/cradles: These work to help minimize the force of falling material, thereby preventing excessive wear and tear to the belt. Just be sure you install them at loading zone areas.
  • Sealing system: Don’t underestimate the importance of administering the appropriate sealing system for your belt.
  • Make sure the pulley lagging is set appropriately to increase friction and prevent belt slippage. Belt slippage just causes the conveyor to work harder, thereby putting more stress on it.
  • Perform regular belt conveyor assessments to detect mistracking and resolve issues in a more timely manner. At West River Conveyors, we specialize in performing belt assessments on conveyors to ensure that it’s running up to its full potential.

Minimize Dust Accumulation

When you’re working in a mine or quarry dust comes with the territory. But mining dust is a lot different from the dust that gets dispersed throughout your home, as it can be abrasive and even hazardous (both to worker health and site operations).

Dust tends to accumulate in greater frequencies at belt transfer points on conveyors, and it’s why a viable dust containment system should be a part of an overall plan to minimize wear and tear and ensure enhanced operations. 

Dust containment systems and filters come in various different styles and sizes, so make sure you find the one that’s right for your application.

Routine Cleaning/General Maintenance

This is the most basic tip when it comes to preventing conveyor wear and tear — simply pay attention to your equipment. 

West River recommends giving your conveyor a once-over each day before you begin work and at the end of the day after you’ve stopped running it. Check for areas where materials have built upon the belt or areas that are dirty and then clean them accordingly. 

This is easy preventative maintenance that can help eliminate major problems before they have a chance to occur. Daily inspections can also determine if the conveyor is misaligned so you can restore it to a square and level posture.

Idler Maintenance

Idlers are a very important component on the conveyor system, but they’re also subject to the environment. 

With that being said, idlers can freeze, take on dirt or become misaligned due to the conditions. An ineffective idler is going to lead to a lack of production. It could also lead to a conveyor belt that wears out faster than normal. 

The good news is that this is an easy thing to keep an eye on and resolve when necessary. All it takes is a routine inspection of the idlers and occasional regular cleaning to make sure they’re operating in good condition. 

Regular inspection can also help you determine when to replace them before they become too worn out.

Preventing Stress On Conveyor Systems 

We get how it can be difficult to invest — both from a time and financial perspective — in many of these preventative solutions, but remember that what you put into your conveyor system is likely what you’ll get out of it. 

The reward has the potential to be a lot greater than the initial upfront investment, with the payoff coming in increased productivity, less downtime and savings on overall maintenance costs.

Learn about our conveyor maintenance services