Belt Tracking — Keeping Your System Running Smoothly

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      Belt tracking repair neededThe conveyor belt is often blamed when belt tracking problems are encountered. While a belt can certainly be the root of the problem, most times tracking issues stem from the conveyor system itself. Many factors can contribute to poor belt tracking:

      • Improper system design
      • Incorrect belt installation
      • Poor maintenance
      • Wrong belt selection for that application

      Conveyor systems must be properly designed and installed to fit the application. The structure must be sturdy enough to handle the product load, belt tension, and loading conditions; and the frame/bed must be manufactured and installed to be straight and true — level from side to side.

      Ongoing maintenance is essential for trouble free operation — worn, broken, or frozen components should be replaced. Foreign matter buildup on rollers and pulleys adversely effects tracking. Keep things clean for optimal performance.

      Picking the proper belt for the application is also a major part of the equation. The belt must be both robust enough to handle the load and flexible enough to run on the system. It should be noted that a V-guide on the bottom of the belt aids in tracking, but cannot overcome conveyor systems flaws in design or lack of maintenance.

      Poor conveyor belt tracking

      Before installing a new belt, it is important for all components of the system to be properly aligned. All pulleys and rollers should be positioned at right angles to the belt center-line, and parallel to each other. At the same time, any part of the structure that may have been bumped out of line needs to be brought back into square.

      Allow the newly installed belt to run unloaded for a short while before making any adjustments. Most lightweight belts run on slider bed systems (no idlers), so most tracking adjustments are made at the tail pulley. After tracking adjustments are completed, run the belt at full load and re-check tracking. The belt should be tensioned only enough to prevent slippage on the drive pulley, but enough to conform to the contour of any crowned pulley. Keep in mind that the belt moves/tracks toward the end of the roll/pulley it first comes in contact with.

      Need help with belt maintenance or replacing a belt on your system? No problem. Apache’s On-Site Industrial Services group is available 24/7 for emergency maintenance or to schedule an installation or preventative maintenance. Just need help picking the best belt for your application? Our inside and outside sales team is just a phone call away.

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