Guide to Conveyor Belt Tracking

Conveyor Belt Tracking

If your business relies on conveyor belts, you want them to be up and running when you need them. One of the most important factors to keeping a conveyor belt running properly is conveyor belt tracking.

Mis-tracking conveyor belts means downtime for your conveyor systems, and no matter what industry you are in, downtime means lost money. This article will look at what tracking is, how to track a conveyor belt and how to fix issues that can impact the proper tracking of a belt.

What Is Conveyor Belt Tracking?

Conveyor belt tracking is the process of aligning and controlling a conveyor belt so that it follows the desired path. Tracking is a process of adjusting idlers, pulleys and loading conditions to adjust and fix any tendency of the belt to run any way other than intended.

How to Track a Conveyor Belt

Conveyor belt tracking is important but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are three easy steps for tracking a conveyor belt.

  1. While the conveyor is operating, loosen the bolts closest to the tail pulley. That will loosen the primary method of steering the conveyor belt, the snub roller.
  2. Using a rubber mallet, gently tap the bolts in whatever direction you want the conveyor belt to move. This will cause the snub roller to move. After the snub roller has been adjusted, be sure to re-tighten the bolts so it will be locked into the new position.
  3. Steps 1 and 2 should be repeated until the center of your conveyor belt is within a quarter inch of the tail pulley’s center. Be careful not to make any large adjustments. A small adjustment can make a huge change. Make sure to start with the snub rollers closest to the ends of the conveyor and work your way towards the center.
Conveyor Tracking

How to Fix Conveyor Belt Tracking

When tracking conveyor belts, there are steps you can take to maintain your conveyor belts as well as steps you should take when there are issues with conveyor tracking. The following tips are things to watch for if you are having trouble with conveyor belt alignment.

Make Sure The Conveyor Frame Is Level and Square

A large percentage of conveyor belt tracking issues are caused by the track being out of level or square. If your conveyor is out of level or square, the belt will move to one side or the other.

Using a standard level, you can quickly check your conveyor system’s levelness. It’s important to check both the pulleys and the frames for levelness. To check that your conveyor bed is square, snap dimensions from one corner to the opposite corner on each side of the conveyor belt. The measurements should be equal. If they are not, squaring rods on the bottom of the conveyor can be used to pull the frame into alignment.

Confirm the End Pulleys Are Square

Sometimes conveyor belt installers will steer the end pulley to track the conveyor belt. Unfortunately, this can make the problem worse. Instead, use the snub rollers or idlers to track the belt, as intended.

Check for Any Debris in Your System

It’s important to inspect conveyor belts for not just mechanical issues, but also cleanliness. If tape or other debris builds up on one or both of the end pulleys, it can lead to a crown or a raised portion on the pulley. This will result in problems with conveyor belt tracking.

Ensure Your Conveyor Belt Has Been Cut Straight

Problems with your conveyor tracking may be a result of manufacturing defects. During the manufacturing process, the belts can be cut improperly leaving a curvature or arc. If you have reason to think this may be the problem, remove the belt and lay it out flat to see if it looks straight.

Let Span Tech Guide Your Conveyor Belt System

Now that you’ve read our guide to conveyor belt tracking, take a look at our products and see how Span Tech can help you. If you use conveyor belts to make your business go, our new line of EZSpan conveyors can help. With their modular chain design, conveyor belt tracking is no longer an issue. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help.

Why Molded Plastic Conveyor Belt Parts Are Better Than Metal

Plastic Conveyor Parts Vs. Metal Conveyor Parts

There’s no doubt that plastic has been a game-changer for countless industries since its invention in the 19th century. Case in point: adopting molded plastic conveyor belt parts has provided numerous benefits compared to their metal counterparts.

Many advancements in technology have resulted in metal conveyor belt parts being replaced by plastic – and for good reason. Read on to learn why plastic conveyor parts have become the better choice, which specific conveyor belt parts have converted to plastic, and why Span Tech is the place to go for all things related to conveyor belt systems.

Metal vs. Molded Plastic Conveyor Parts

Advancements in the development and production of plastic conveyor parts have resulted in a superior product that dramatically improves conveyor belt performance. In many cases, molded plastic conveyor belt parts are better than metal ones:

  • Lower Cost & Better Availability
  • Improved Material Characteristics
  • Improved Consistency
  • Superior Design

Lower Costs

When you can use more affordable products in your equipment, it’s a win-win for all concerned. Because molded plastic conveyor parts are more affordable to produce, everyone gets to keep a little something extra in their pocket, from the manufacturer to the consumer.

Better Availability

Because they’re less costly and easier to produce, it’s feasible to keep larger minimum quantities on hand and easier to get molded plastic conveyor belt parts when you need them.

Designed for Heavy Duty

Because there are very few limitations to designing injection molded parts, modern engineering methods allow them to be designed to optimize strength and thus are surprisingly durable. Molded plastic conveyor parts are designed to handle the most rigorous loading for the application.

More Consistency

Welded metal parts often have issues with warping, which is oftentimes unpredictable and can be hard to control. Molded plastic conveyor belt parts are more uniform than their metal counterparts.

Less QC is Required

Manufactured parts often have to go through several steps during the manufacturing process (such as sawing, milling, turning, welding, coating, etc.). When replacing parts that are coated (like an LPI chain guide), there’s less chance of losing parts due to additional steps in manufacturing, so less quality checking is required.

Improved Material Characteristics

Plastics come in a wide range of material properties. Parts can be made rigid or flexible, high-friction or low-friction. Depending on the design requirements, there’s a plastic material that’s best suited for the application.

Better Design

Molded plastic parts can be engineered with features that are much more ergonomic and safe compared to traditionally manufactured metal parts.

Types of Molded Plastic Parts on a Conveyor Belt

There are dozens of custom-molded plastic wear parts for conveyors replacing metal parts like the hinged steel belt and the sprockets. Today’s conveyor equipment contains plastic parts such as:

  • Pulleys
  • Plastic Modular Belts
  • Rollers
  • Bearings/Bushings
  • Gears/Sprockets
  • Chain Guides & Rails
  • Curves/Tracks
  • Wear Strips
  • Star Wheels
  • Augers
  • Bumpers
  • Hoppers
  • Liners
  • Bins

Frequently Asked Questions About Custom-Molded Plastic Conveyor Belt Parts

Because they are such a departure from traditional metal and rubber components, people frequently have questions about custom-molded plastic conveyor belt parts.

What Are the Parts of a Conveyor System?

A conveyor system has three main components:

  • Belt Guides: This keeps the belt taut and moving smoothly and efficiently.
  • Pulleys/Sprockets: Conveyor systems have at least two pulleys – one that operates when the unit is powered up, the other when it’s idling. Pulleys control the conveyor belt’s movement.
  • Drive Unit: This enables the system to move efficiently, forward and backward.

What Is a Modular Conveyor System?

A modular belt conveyor contains plastic modules that link together with rods. Sprockets drive the modular belt. Unlike most fabric/plastic belts, modular belts can be made to be pulled through curves and vertical bends. Also, fabric/plastic belts require a tensioning system – modular plastic belts do not. And because they’re more rugged, plastic modular belts are especially useful for moving hot workpieces or items with sharp edges. Chain modules are permeable to air, making modular conveyor equipment the best choice for cooling lines. And due to its simpler design, a modular conveyor system has the added benefit of easy maintenance.

What Is a Plastic Modular Belt?

Modular plastic belting is an alternative to traditional fabric conveyor belt systems. It’s positive-driven, has low tension and eliminates slippage on drives. A plastic modular belt is also durable and simple to maintain, making it ideal for applications in nearly every major industry.

Shop Span Tech Systems for the Best Molded Plastic Conveyor Belt Parts

Span Tech is an industry leader renowned for our durable plastic chain conveyor parts and systems combined with innovations in material handling. Our chains and guides use engineered materials for the best combination of low friction and durability. High-strength plastics are used for items that undergo heavy loading, such as sprockets, chain links, etc. All plastic materials have been selected to be FDA-compliant and are capable of withstanding harsh chemical environments.

We serve a wide range of industries, from food and beverage production to manufacturing, distribution, packaging, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. We’re committed to building the best conveyor system to meet the needs of our clients. Discover why our molded plastic conveyor belt parts and systems are the right ones for your business. Contact us today so we can get you up and running!