There are many parts and components that help power a conveyor belt, regardless of its location or product application. There are idlers, winches, bearings, couplings, gearboxes, motors, fluid couplings, and scrapers — not to mention the structure as well.

But one of the more overlooked components involved in a conveyor setup is none other than the belt — the pivotal component that’s designed to actually support and transport the product from Point A to Point B.

This post will take a closer look at the various types of conveyor belts and the deciding factors that should be weighed when selecting one for your conveyor.

Conveyor Belt Composition

Conventional conveyor belts are comprised of three layers.

There’s the top layer, or cover, which is what the product rests on during transportation. The middle layer is also known as the carcass, which helps support the belt. The carcass tends to be made of either metal or woven fabric. Then, there’s the bottom cover to complete the belt makeup.

Today, belts come in several categories. In fact, there are three popular types of conveyor belts for underground applications.

Categories of conveyor belts for underground applications include:

  • Multi-ply

This belt makeup consists of various layers of fabric that are separated by rubber, which helps to deaden impact. Multi-ply belts tend to be long-lasting.

  • Straight-warp

Impact and tear resistance are the two premiere attributes of this type of conveyor belt, which feature yarns and polyamide on both sides.

  • Steel-cord

These belts are anchored by steel cables, which run the length of the belt.

Considerations For Choosing A Mining Conveyor Belt

The biggest factor in choosing the right conveyor belt is the product that it’s going to be transporting and where it’s going to be located.

It goes without saying that conveyors transporting packaging or light materials in temperature-controlled factories or warehouses aren’t going to have the same demands as those transporting heavy product underground in mines and quarries.

It’s why application and environment should be the leading consideration when a belt is selected. Much like how conveyor components need to be working well to sustain productivity, belt rips, tears or damage can also derail overall conveyor operations, causing lapses in productivity and also lost profits.

Aside from application and conveyor environment, here’s a look at some other key factors that play a part in deciding on a conveyor belt.

  • Fireproof

If your mining conveyor is operating in an underground environment, then it likely has to comply with MSHA Part 14 fire resistance requirements.

Make sure that you’re fully aware of the rules and regulations that can impact the type of belt you select for your conveyor to ensure you’re operating at maximum levels of safety, not to mention staying compliant.

  • Service Life

Some belts are made to last longer than others, and certain factors like longevity and durability are important based on the particular type of environment.

Conveyors running underground or transporting material from mines and quarries are posing greater demands on the conveyor belt than a line in a factory transporting empty boxes.

Understand your needs when it comes to durability and ruggedness. Failure to consider this could result in productivity loss and increased downtime.

  • Corrosion-resistance

Yes, belts can corrode — especially the ones that incorporate metals into their makeup.

While corrosion may not be as much of a worry in a climate-controlled facility, it can pose some challenges on conveyors located underground where temperatures, moisture levels, and humidity have a tendency to fluctuate.

  • Belt Width & Length

Just as all belts aren’t made for the same applications, they certainly aren’t constructed in similar widths or sizes.

The belts you see on the conveyor lanes in grocery store checkouts, for example, are much smaller in width and length than the ones you’d find under ground transporting product from the mine.

While many belts can be custom-made to fit a certain desired length and width, it’s always best to know your sizing requirements.

  • Temperature

This fits into our whole point on making sure whatever belt you choose fits the product or materials the conveyor will be transporting and the environment where it will be installed, but application temperature is one that’s important to discuss on its own accord.

It’s one thing if the belt complies with the aforementioned MSHA Part 14, but hot materials processing is a bit of its own animal. That said, if you’re transporting materials that are as hot as 220°F while the belt may not catch fire, it could be irreparably damaged.

This where a belt designed with specific thermal properties can come in handy.

Selecting The Best Mining Conveyor Belt

Don’t overlook the conveyor belt when designing the system for your next project. It’s a key piece of the overall puzzle in ensuring that productivity and profit goals are not only met, but exceeded.

West River carries a full line of products like Cobra/Depreux Fireshield and Deltatherm belts, conveyor belt replacements, and more.