How Conveyor Belts are Manufactured Quickly In-House
Aug 20, 2020
The key to meeting the five-day lead times of our Quick Shipping program is our in-house belt manufacturing team. Each year they manufacture thousands of belts with such incredible precision that no one remembers the last time one of their belts was rejected for a defect.
The belt materials are stocked in rolls that are pre-cut to the proper widths (we use standard widths across most of our products for this reason). We stock seven belt materials in each of our standard widths, allowing us to quickly splice and prepare belts for approximately 95% of conveyor orders. Special racks hold the rolls and are covered when not in use to prevent discoloration of the belt materials.
The material is fed through the finger punching machine, measured to the proper length and aligned to the table edge to ensure proper alignment in the machine. The triangular fingers are punched individually with a die that moves horizontally across the material.
Once the fingers are punched, they’re looped together around the platen of a heat press and carefully spliced with each other. This is the most critical step of the process since any misalignment can produce excessive belt camber. Given the tight tolerances necessary in low profile conveyors, too much camber could cause tracking problems and lead the belt to be damaged by making contact with bearing plates or the inner frame of the conveyor.
The heating element is lowered and tightened into place over the spliced fingers. Each belt material must be heated at a specific temperature for a specific time (the “recipe”) to ensure it’s properly fused. After the prescribed heating time, the heating element is flushed with cold water to rapidly cool the splice, which sets it permanently.
Completed belts are measured to ensure accuracy. A belt that’s too long or too short cannot be properly tensioned, which could lead to premature failure or belt slippage.
Cleats may be welded to the surface of the belt at this point using a high-frequency weld that’s incredibly strong. The cleat locations are carefully measured and marked, then the cleat is lowered into place using a special die (each cleat size has its own die) and welded into place.
V-guides are added to the belt in-house when necessary. The center-line of the carcass of the belt is roughed up using a drill press and a special epoxy is applied. The epoxy creates a strong bond when it and the rubber v-guide material are heated during the application process.
More information about the belts we stock is available in the belt data section of our website. Our guide on questions to ask when choosing a conveyor belt can help narrow down your choices or our Applications Engineering team can help you to determine exactly the right belt for your application.
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