Mining Conveyor Belt Maintenance
The belts that power your mining conveyor are the weakest link in your conveyor system. Despite recent advances in technology, and an estimated lifespan of anywhere from three to ten years, your belts still require ongoing maintenance. Weather, extreme temperatures, and abrasive materials can significantly shorten their lifespan and potentially cause a catastrophic failure.
As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. We’ve created a mining conveyor belt maintenance checklist that will allow you to detect minor problems before they lead to even bigger ones. Read on to learn more about the daily, weekly, and monthly/ongoing maintenance steps you need to take to ensure reliable belt performance.
For your convenience, we’ve also created a downloadable checklist.
Perform a visual inspection and check the entire conveyor system daily for rocks, tears, lodged components, and foreign objects (such as bolts) that have fallen into the system and cut the belt.
This is often easier said than done, especially on conveyors that have long runs. An optional remote monitoring system can help detect belt tracking issues, component failures, and allow you to prevent major problems.
There are a few other daily maintenance tasks to perform:
Check for belt mistracking (when the belt pulls to one side and runs off the track) by visually looking for:
- Misaligned idlers or locked rollers
- Faulty chute structure skirting
- Material overload on the belt
- Crooked belt splices or worn vulcanized belt splices
Perform daily greasing of roller bearings to help avoid any locked rollers.
Visually check for belt slippage by looking for:
- Damaged wing or tail pulleys
- Material overload on the belt
Check for material carry-back (material that doesn’t discharge from the bed as it should and instead gets caught and carried back on the return) by visually checking for:
- Poor quality scrapers
- Improperly installed scrapers
- Inappropriate scraper type and size
Perform Scraper Maintenance as needed:
Clean—Remove debris from the tension springs and the blade. Sometimes debris that was intended for the chute will fall back upon the cleaner.
Inspect—Visually inspect the wear lines of the blades to ensure they’re not nearing the end of life.
Tension—Add tension to the blade to accommodate blade wear and improve its performance.
Depending on the size of your operation and how many hours/miles operated, there are several visual inspections you’ll need to perform on a weekly or monthly basis.
Belt slippage—Check for improperly installed or worn lagging on the head drive pulley (AKA lagging pulleys). Replace as needed. The less grip the lagging has, the greater the chances of the belt starting to slip. If you find any broken pulleys, replace them immediately as a bent or damaged one can affect belt tension and result in slippage.
Belt mistracking—Your idlers and rollers can become dirty, misaligned, or frozen due to extreme environmental or operating conditions. An idler that doesn’t work properly will wear out a belt very quickly. Keeping a regular eye on the idlers and performing cleaning as needed will help keep the belt in good operating condition. Regularly inspecting the idlers and rollers will also allow you to more accurately determine when to replace them.
Material carry-back—Check for dust weekly. A dust containment system will help minimize dust accumulation at belt transfer points and prevent carry-back.
Replace worn or malfunctioning equipment on an as-needed basis.
Scrapers—High-performance scrapers will last a lot longer than poor-quality ones. Replace malfunctioning or worn scrapers on an as-needed basis.
Idlers—Inspect your idlers and replace them as needed.
Belt repairs—If you find any belt rips, repair them according to the manual. Do not attempt to use mechanical fasteners to close tears as they only serve as a very temporary solution.
Idlers and rollers— Repair or replace any broken or damaged idlers or rollers in your monthly or weekly inspections.
Dust containment system—Repair or replace anything in the dust containment system in your monthly or weekly inspections.
Replace lagging—At an estimated rate of every 3-5 years unless ceramic.
GET A PROFESSIONAL BELT CONVEYOR ASSESSMENT
The above-suggested belt maintenance tasks can help keep your conveyor belt in good working condition. However, it’s highly beneficial to have West River Conveyors perform regular belt conveyor assessments to detect mistracking and resolve issues in a more timely manner.