Belt Conveyor Types

Belt conveyors come in a wide range of mechanical types made of materials with varying textures, grip characteristics and composition. Designed for specific purposes, settings and materials to be handled, the versatile belt conveyor transports materials uphill, downhill or level. It grabs and accelerates or slows down and collect objects. Belts divert or deliver goods into position to be manipulated, assembled, cut or stamped.

General Conveyors

Belt conveyors transport millions of tons of raw materials, parts for assembly or packages for shipping. High grip rubber belts accelerate packages. Low friction belts allow packages to accumulate at the end of a conveyor run or be diverted to another area. Durable nonwoven, interwoven PVC, heavy rubber or plied rubber belts carry abrasive materials and agricultural products.

Incline Conveyors

Belt conveyors that lift or lower moving objects use different surfaces to grip the product firmly. Plied rubber belts, impressed with rough gripping shapes, prevent transported material from sliding around while moving up and down the incline. Surface shapes include diamonds, grooves and rough-tops. Plied thermoplastic belts use these shapes as well as sawtooth and lattice surfaces. Rubber inserts in the belt grab flat surfaces and hold them to the moving belt surface. For steep inclines, cleats built into the belt or thick chevrons, Z's or crescent mini-cleat shapes moulded into the surface transport slippery, wet or sticky objects that might slide around on or adhere to a flat conveyor belt.

Cleated Belt Conveyors

Belt conveyors with built-in cleats more accurately control movement and positioning of products. These belts most often clear off plastic moulding machines, cutters or stamping machines of processed products. The cleats ensure that parts do not collect under the machine, blocking the next batch of pieces.

Plastic Modular Conveyor Belts

Modular belt conveyors often change the direction in which the product is moving. These curved belt sections use thin, very flexible or jointed plied thermoplastic or plastic modular belts to negotiate the curve. Because plastic modular belts do not absorb fluids or harbour bacteria as more porous belts can, they may be used in food processing.

Food Grade Conveyors

Bakeries or health products manufacturers use nonporous, oil- and water-resistant belts that can be washed down and sterilised. Nonporous rubber or plastic with impressed surfaces don't adhere to dough, or food. Health care product manufacturers also use food-grade belts wherever the product may come in contact with the belt.

Magnetic Belt Conveyors

Magnetic belt conveyors have a series of permanent ceramic magnets embedded below a thin flat gripping belt surface. The magnets hold metal parts firmly against the moving belt in places where high conveyor speeds, sharp-edged or pointed products or sliding of the product might endanger workers.

Vacuum Belt Conveyors

The vacuum belt conveyor is perforated with thousands of tiny holes. A vacuum pump below the belt pulls air through the holes as they pass over. This vacuum holds lightweight materials in place as the conveyor moves them from place to place during manufacturing, packing or shipping.

Heavy Duty Conveyors

Processes involving chemicals, cutting, sanding, strapping, cardboard or paper processing require cut-resistant flat belts made with hard urethane or nylon covers. Thinner cross-rigid monofilament belts use less energy, require smaller motors, are cut resistant and move at faster speeds. The monofilament plies in the belt keeps it flat on the roller mechanism. Airport luggage conveyors especially need the high cut resistance provided by thermoplastic and nonwoven PVC belts with hard urethane covers.

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About the Author

Tom King published his first paid story in 1976. His book, "Going for the Green: An Insider's Guide to Raising Money With Charity Golf," was published in 2008. He received gold awards for screenwriting at the 1994 Worldfest Charleston and 1995 Worldfest Houston International Film Festivals. King holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Southwestern Adventist College.