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Are you experiencing problems with your Flat-Flex® conveyor belt? Most issues and failures with conveyor belts are caused by their environment and set-up, as well as poor cleaning and maintenance. Below, we at Wire Belt will give you five points to consider if you are experiencing any problems, unnecessary downtime or short belt life, as well as how you can prevent these from occurring in the future.

1: Is Your Belt Joined Correctly?

Although belt joining can sometimes be a time consuming and monotonous task, getting it right can be difficult. Many splices are made in haste, often put together on the fly immediately following a break down. The unfortunate result is that nearly 90% of breakages during production occur at the splice.  

A good belt join can drastically increase the life of your belt, as well as reducing downtime in the future.  There are a variety of different options available to ensure your belt join gives you extra belt life including joining tubes, used to create a hybrid join between a full strand weave, joining clips, ideal for minor report to a belt and EZ-Splice belt strands, which give the strongest belt join and reduces repair time. To find out more information for these options, click here

We also have maintenance videos to show you how to use these products. Check out the following videos on our YouTube channel.

Joining Tubes Video: 

Joining Clips Videos: /

EZ-Splice Video:

2: Are You Maintaining Your Belt Regularly?

A common cause of short belt life is poor maintenance. To be able to maximise the lifetime of your conveyor belt, it is imperative that it is cleaned and maintained as best as possible. This will improve performance, as well as reducing downtime.  The open mesh design of Flat-Flex® belting provides maximum flow through of cleaning and sanitising agents making it ideal to clean in place rather than removing the belt during routine cleaning schedules.

We recommend handling the belt gently when cleaning it, try to avoid bending or pulling on individual wire strands. Avoid forcing cleaning rods and brushes under the belt surface. If you do happen to bend or distort a strand whilst cleaning, straighten it immediately with needle nose pliers, or the Wire Belt straightening tool.

Take a look at our routine maintenance and inspection evaluation, an ideal checklist to carry out after any routine maintenance has been completed. If something does go wrong, it is always best to be prepared. Our range of conveyor belt maintenance tools can help. We offer a range of tools for the easy removal, repair, or installation of metal conveyor belts.

3: Is Drive Component Performance Being Maximised?

If you want to ensure that your belt is performing at its best for its expected lifetime, it is crucial that the drive components for the belt are in a good condition, within a good set-up. Misaligned or worn drive sprockets, idler sprockets, or blanks, can cause a belt to skip, drift side to side or slip on a conveyor circuit. All these conditions will cause either premature wear or induce work hardening in the individual wire strands leading to broken wires and downtime.

These components also need to be in the proper position and have the proper clearance from the belt joints or z-form, they should never make contact with any conveyor component. Vibrations from the conveyor can often trigger the set screws to loosen in the sprockets causing them to move across the shaft resulting in belt failure. Additionally, you only need to use enough tension on the belt to engage the drive sprockets. Too much tension will cause additional wear.

If you are experiencing problems our experienced technical team can help identify problem areas and improvements to maximise belt life and increase performance levels.

4: Ensure You Are Using The Correct Belt For Your Application

Products and processes change over the years. The conveyor belt that was designed or fitted for a specific product and process several years ago may no longer be appropriate or heavy duty enough for the demands of the current application. The impact of product loading and belt speed on belt life needs to be re-evaluated on an on-going basis. Contact our technical team today for advice and recommendations. We have a wide range of metal belt products that are suitable for numerous applications, to view these click here.

5: Check Your Conveyor Transfer End Arrangement

To facilitate transfer of product to and from other machinery, rollers may be used at each end of the conveyor. Rotating end rolls are preferred because belt wear is less.  

Grooved end rolls or free turning transfer rollers should be used where possible to ensure positive tracking and minimise wear at the belt joints. Smaller rollers should be braced or supported to prevent deflection.

Blank type end rollers may use one or two pairs or sprockets along with blanks to assist the roller in turning and to provide belt alignment. Belts wider than 1200mm should use extra sprockets in the centre.  Any extra sprockets added should be evenly distributed across the width of the belt.

Make sure the transfer diameter is appropriate for the belt mesh being used. Each mesh requires a specific transfer diameter, if a transfer is too small for the mesh used, it will cause premature belt failure.  If your unsure which arrangement is suitable for your conveyor and application, contact our technical team for advice and recommendations.