Every business, whether large or small, creates waste materials. Industrial waste makes up more than 70% of the waste generated in the EU and governments are looking at ways to reduce it. This alarming statistic highlights the importance of proper waste disposal to avoid potential fines.
A conveyor belt plays a critical role in waste management and can help businesses meet government standards and requirements. But sorting through materials and contact with hazardous materials can be demanding, even for some of the toughest belts. There are many factors to consider when choosing a conveyor belt for industrial waste disposal.
In the following sections, we discuss what you need to look for when choosing a conveyor belt.
Conveyor Belts In Use
Practical uses of conveyor belts include moving large items from one area to another and sorting materials. Examples of industries that rely on conveyor belts include solid waste sites, recycling centres and distribution centres.
Conveyor belts are made with different materials and designed for many purposes. The right material will depend on the use case and the capacity of your facility among other things. A conveyor belt moving heavy objects will need to be more durable than those used in moving paper.
For example, a concrete company might need a conveyor belt made of steel or synthetic rubber. Whereas packaging companies may need a conveyor belt made from polyurethane or polypropylene.
Many industries have strict safety regulations for handling hazardous materials. Chemicals, radioactive waste and other dangerous substances all need special equipment. When dealing with these materials, you need to consider the environment and what the belt will come into contact with during its lifetime.
For instance, a chemical plant may need an industrial-grade conveyor belt for safe handling of waste disposal. This type of belt can withstand exposure to chemicals and solvents.
Different Types of Conveyor Belts
Conveyor belts generally come under two categories known as screw conveyors and belt conveyors. Under these two categories, there are many variations which we will discuss below:
A screw conveyor is used for transporting bulk solids or liquids like grains and powder. It consists of a trough with a rotating screw inside. Although compact in design, it can easily move heavy loads to different locations within a facility.
Examples of materials that are suitable for use in a screw conveyor are feeds, sludge, ash and cement. Some industries rely on them for moving food around their facility to prevent the spread of bacteria or contamination.
You can install this type of conveyor vertically or horizontally. This can be especially useful when transporting heavy loads up steep inclines.
A belt conveyor runs on a set of wheels or rollers with a motor. They can transport food or construction materials in factories, warehouses and mining facilities. Belt conveyors are often used with screw conveyors to move heavy loads.
You can also install this type of conveyor vertically, but it needs a lot more space. Belt conveyors might be cheaper, but it requires extra maintenance that can add up over time.
Rubber Conveyor Belts:
Rubber belts are the most common type used for recycling, due to their strength and resistance to cuts and abrasion. This is especially important for facilities that sort through mixed media like glass, stone and metals. They can be slightly slower to run in comparison to other types of belt conveyors due to their weight.
High energy consumption is also another consideration to take into account with rubber belt conveyors. Despite the cheaper price point, the cost of energy required to run the machinery will need to be factored in.
A rubber belt conveyor will also need extra-large pulleys that can handle its heavy weight. This may not be suitable if space is at a premium in your facility. The weight of the rubber belt also places stress on the components, increasing the cost of maintaining and keeping things running.
PVC Conveyor Belts:
PVC belts are an expensive but lighter alternative to traditional rubber belts. They are a good choice for medium to high-powered conveyor systems and are best for sorting through materials that have sharp edges. They are also more flexible than rubber belts which makes them better at handling shaped objects.
The biggest downside is that PVC belts will not be able to handle heavy loads. To manage this problem, you will need a larger number of smaller pulleys. This will take up more space and cost more to install.
It also means that you will need to replace the system every few years as it wears out, as opposed to the lifetime of a rubber belt conveyor.
Polyurethane Conveyor Belts:
Polyurethane belts have many benefits over traditional rubber belts and PVC belts. They are lighter weight, stronger, more flexible and resistant to cuts or abrasions. This makes them ideal for sorting through materials such as glass and stone, which can be damaging to other types of belt conveyors.
Polyurethane belts are also better suited for sorting through very small pieces of material due to their flexibility. They can also handle higher speeds than other types of belt conveyor systems. Recycling centres or waste management facilities with high throughputs may find this beneficial.
Furthermore, polyurethane can last up to four times longer than rubber or PVC which reduces maintenance costs. It is, however, more costly than both rubber and PVC.
Steel Plate Conveyor Belts
Steel plate conveyor belts are best for transporting materials that are abrasive or heavy. If you are moving cement, mining, and construction waste, then a steel plate conveyor is ideal. The steel plates that form this type of conveyor are heat-treated to increase their strength and durability.
Steel plate conveyor belts can be straight or V-belt style and can last much longer than rubber belts. They are also very durable and resistant to cuts, abrasions and cracking due to the high-quality steel used in their construction.
As they are lighter than some of the other conveyor belt materials, they can be installed at higher elevations without any extra support. Their durability also allows them to handle more material per length of the belt. This makes them ideal for use in sorting through materials such as stone or glass that could damage other types of belts.
The Benefits of Using a Conveyor Belt
Conveyor belts are a great way to automate manual tasks which in turn reduces injury to staff. Heavy items can be taken over long distances without any human intervention. Not only is this safer but it will also cut down the cost of manual labour.
Do you need to move items between floors quickly and in different directions? Then you will find that a conveyor belt is the most efficient way to complete these tasks. It is one of the best ways to ramp up productivity without compromising health and safety.
Tips for Choosing the Best Conveyor Belt for Your Needs
Choosing the right conveyor belt for your plant is vital for ensuring a smooth-running system. Here are some of the things you should consider when choosing a conveyor system:
- The type of material being transported will have a significant impact on the type of conveyor belt to be used. If you are moving solid materials or heavy-duty items like scrap metal, then you may want to invest in a chain belt conveyor that can handle the load
- The width of the belt will also have an impact on how your plant operates and how efficiently your process runs. You should always choose the widest conveyor belt that will suit your needs. But this can be costly so it’s important to weigh up cost versus efficiency to make an informed decision
- You should choose the fastest conveyor belt that still allows your process to run smoothly and safely within its current layout. Remember that if you increase line speeds then there is a higher risk of accidents occurring. This is why it’s important not to go overboard on speed unless necessary
- As with all machinery, costs can vary depending on what you need from your conveyor system. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of maintenance, repairs and replacements when you are making your decision
- Tension is one of the most important factors that you need to think about. If it’s too loose then it may slip under heavier loads and if it’s too tight then it may cause damage to the belt itself or spillage. It’s important to choose a conveyor system with an easy tensioning system so that you can make changes at any time
The Importance of Choosing the Right Conveyor Belt
Each conveyor belt will have its pros and cons, which can mean the decision-making process difficult. Your requirements will depend on the industry and the space available to you. Choosing the right equipment can mean increased performance, reduced risk of injury to staff and many more benefits.
If you’re looking for help in choosing a conveyor system, then do get in touch with the team at ANIS Trend. With more than 25 years of industry experience, we have the knowledge and technology to take your waste management system to the next level.