Article by Jeremy Axel
Conveyor belts are used to move everything from raw materials to finished products. In order to do this, they have to be durable enough to withstand the high temperatures and pressures that they’re subjected to. However, the nature of their use means that they need regular inspection and maintenance.
A broken conveyor belt can be extremely dangerous for workers in a factory. Without the protection offered by a belt, workers run a higher risk of getting injured if they fall into machinery or other moving parts within a factory environment. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when your conveyor belt needs to be replaced. It depends on how old it is, how often you use it, the quality of belts, and other factors. But you can tell if you need to replace the belt in your conveyor belt system by looking for these telltale signs:
1. The belt is cracking or splitting.
Cracks and splits are a sign that your belt has deteriorated and will soon break. Cracks form when the materials in the belt start to break down under stress, such as friction with other parts of the machine. Splits occur when cracks become so large that they cause a section of the belt to separate off entirely. These splits are often quite visible, but sometimes they are hidden underneath a layer of rubber that has built up over time, especially on older conveyor belts.
Any time you notice cracks developing, it’s time to replace your belt. These cracks can get worse and widen over time, breaking the belt into pieces. Splits. If a crack splits the conveyor belt into 2 or more pieces, they need to be replaced immediately. These pieces are extremely sharp, and putting them back into service could cause damage to other parts of the machine or injury to people working nearby.
2. There are uneven or worn spots on the material.
Worn spots can lead to broken belts and damaged goods, while an uneven surface can allow one side of a product to touch the ground while another side remains in midair. The belt needs to be replaced if there are any areas that appear worn or uneven. This can cause a person’s foot or hand to get caught when they step on it. It can also cause damage to either the product being transported or the floor underneath it. If there is any area where there is no rubber on the surface of the belt, this is a sign that it needs immediate replacement. Here you’ll find different approaches to replacement conveyors belts.
3. Dragging/ Skidding Belt.
There is also a time you will have to consider replacing your belt and that’s if you notice increasing skidding on the conveyor. When a belt skids, this means that at least one side of the belt is no longer in true alignment, meaning the rollers aren’t rolling on their bearings properly, and the other side has begun to spin out of control. This causes excessive friction between the roller and the belt itself. If this continues, it can start to heat up the rollers as well as damage other parts of the conveyor. Eventually, this will destroy the rollers. You can use a diagonal ruler for testing for skidding by simply sliding it down both sides of the roller or by placing it flat onto one side of the belt and sliding your fingers along until it is lifted off without any resistance.
4. Your conveyor is slow or moves differently.
The material feels different than usual If your material moves differently than it used to or doesn’t slide easily over itself, it could be because of improper lubrication or buildup of grime on the surface. If your conveyor belt isn’t moving as fast as it used to move or if the material on the belt is bunching up, it might be time for a change.
5. You conveyor breaks.
If your conveyor belt breaks while working, it can cause more than just an interruption in your business operations. It could cause serious damage as well. Look for any cracks or breaks that seem out of place; these may need repair or replacement immediately before something else happens with the belt.
6. The Belt Is Old (10 Years or More)
Conveyor belts can last anywhere from three to 10 years, depending on where they’re being used and what kinds of materials they’re handling. The conveyor belt needs to be replaced as soon as possible if there are signs of wear and tear or if the belt has been in use for 10 years or more.
There are several signs that provide indications that your conveyor belt needs replacing:
- If there are cracks on the surface of the belt;
- If there are small holes appearing on the sides of the conveyor belt;
- If you see any imperfections like scars, dirt, grease, or oil on the surface of the conveyor belt;
- If you notice a change in coloration of your conveyor belt (it may be turning dark);
- and If there are visible slits, tears, cuts, and other imperfections on your conveyor belt.
If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s time for a new conveyor belt. Your old belt might not seem that bad today, but if left unchecked it could lead to more costly repairs down the road.
About the Author Jeremy Axel
Jeremy Axel is the founder of Fluent Conveyors, they design and manufacture conveyors for Waste and recycling industries, Manufacturing, and Distribution centers across the United States. He is also known for building trusted relationships with conveyor dealers and reseller networks and developing advanced technological processes and tools that help them do their jobs more efficiently.