By Jeremy Axel
Conveyor belts are integral to nearly every industry. Their flexibility allows them to be used in a variety of different environments and applications, including mining and mineral processing, food and beverage preparation, packaging, material handling, and more. However, that versatility comes with a cost, as they are subject to wear and tear.
Conveyor belt repair vs replacement is an important consideration when making a decision on whether or not to keep using your conveyor system. Before taking action, it is necessary to understand what the problems with your system are and how they can affect operations. Check out the Fluent Conveyors website for a custom conveyor system.
What To Do With A Broken Conveyor?
Faced with a broken conveyor belt? Many people automatically assume the belt needs to be replaced. But this is not always the case. Here are some things to consider if your conveyor belt breaks.
Is it a critical failure?
The first thing you need to do when determining if you should replace the conveyor belt is determine how critical it is for production to keep running. If the conveyor system is not running, does it slow down your production, or does it completely stop it? In other words, does the conveyor serve as a critical component of your production process? If so, then replacement may be necessary to avoid further complications down the line, including quality issues and more broken belts.
Do you have enough spare parts on hand?
Spare parts are an excellent way to save time and money when replacement is not an option. Depending on the type of conveyor system you have, the availability of spare parts can vary greatly. For example, if you purchased a custom conveyor system from an equipment manufacturer, chances are they will not sell spare parts for that specific model. Although there are many common types of components that might break on a conveyor system (rollers, chains, couplings), depending on what part has broken, there may not be a spare part available.
What’s the condition of other components?
Conveyor belts are constructed of many layers that include various types of materials and components (e.g., PVC). Before cutting out a damaged section, workers must determine which component is causing the damage. If they remove the wrong component, they might create another problem (e.g., crack a new component) or make an existing issue worse (e.g., cause heat buildup). To prevent these types of issues from occurring, employees need to have advanced knowledge about how different components work together. If other parts of the conveyor system are in good condition and don’t need repair at the same time, it may be cheaper to replace the belt than to repair it.
Condition of the belt.
The type of wear on the belt will influence your decision. Worn-out sections can be cut out or replaced with new sections without having to replace the entire belt. This method is considered repair rather than replacement. It’s less expensive because you don’t have to buy a new length of the belt, and you can use scrap material from other worn-out portions of your conveyor system for replacement. This option leaves you with a longer usable life for your overall system and helps prevent downtime due to production loss.
When To Consider Conveyor Belt Repair?
Repairing conveyor belts is a skilled job best left to specialists who have the tools and experience to do the job properly. However, we do not recommend this approach in most cases; it is usually more cost-effective to replace the belt rather than attempt repairs. This is particularly true if the damage is in the middle of the belt, where any repair work would necessitate a complete strip-down and replacement of the entire section.
If the damage is limited to a small area, it may be possible to cut out the damaged section and replace it with new material. This approach can be much more cost-effective than replacing the whole belt. However, you must be careful when cutting out damaged material as you don’t want to damage any other part of your conveyor belt or machinery.
When To Replace Your Conveyor Belt?
Although conveyor belts are designed to last for a long time, they may need to be replaced for a number of reasons. Some of the signs that it is time to replace your conveyor belt include if the belt has torn, is cracked, or has deep grooves from excessive use.
If your conveyor belt develops cracks, the belts will begin to deteriorate and lose strength. As a result, they could potentially break under pressure. They could also cause damage to the machine they are part of if they continue to wear and tear. Torn or cracked belts can prove problematic because they can prevent your equipment from functioning properly. These cracks may appear on any part of the belt, including the outside and inside surfaces. Cracks in the belt’s surface can contribute to uneven wear that may ultimately cause even bigger problems with your equipment.
Belt grooves caused by excessive use can make it difficult for your equipment to function properly. If you notice that any of these conditions are present, then it is probably time to replace your conveyor belt. It is important to replace your conveyor belt before it causes further damage to your machine that might be very costly to repair.
It is recommended that you inspect your conveyor belt every 30 days and make any repairs or replacements needed. Any worn sections, weak stitching, cracking or hardening of the compound surface areas should be taken care of at this time. Conveyors are designed with a factor of safety for the loads they will carry. There is a force applied to the rubber surface equal to the weight per linear foot times 1.5 times the coefficient of friction between the rubber and metal rollers under static conditions. If you are running a load greater than this new speed it will become necessary to add more replacement on your belt surface earlier than anticipated in order to maintain smooth operation during high-speed operation.
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.