Conveyor Belt Cleaning

Many times, conveyor belt life is dramatically shortened by a failure to keep the belt clean. This is good for us in the belting business, but bad for the belt users. Just a little bit of time and attention can result in lower annual belting expenditures.

First, this article is not directed at food plants, where hygiene requirements are much higher. It is directed at users of lightweight conveyor belts used inside plants for unit loads, process conveying, and certain bulk applications.

We will start with the bulk applications. Companies making wood panels (particleboard, MDF, OSM, etc.) convey the wood chips or sawdust. Companies making nonwoven textile products such as auto insulation convey textile fibers. These type applications all have a big problem with material buildup inside the belt. The fine material gets underneath the belt path and compressed between the belt and the pulleys. Many times, the diameter of the pulleys is increased due to this, and the belt gets tighter and tighter. Eventually, the belt splice fails, or the belt simply stretches to the point where slippage starts to occur. Additionally, the pulley buildup can cause false crowns, making the belt mistrack and suffer edge damage.

The best solution to this problem is to prevent materials from getting underneath the belt. This is often easier said than done, though. Sometimes skirtboards can be added to the sides of the belt, but often this is not possible. In these cases, you really should clean the bottom of the belt frequently. Once per day, take compressed air and blow the material out of the system. This will only take a few seconds, and you can greatly increase belt life.

Another solution is to put a rotating brush (best) or a scraper against the pulley side of the belt. There is usually room to place this on the return side. Just be sure to angle any such device, so that materials are