Conveyor belts have been around for decades and are an invaluable tool used in several industries for easily transporting a plethora of different materials.There are hundreds of types of conveyor belt systems, but they all have one thing in common: they move goods. High productivity of the belt is critical, no matter what type of industry and what type of belt. A conveyor belt splice is important in relation to the productivity of the belt.
Conveyor belt splicing is the process of joining together two pieces of conveyor belt. Usually, this is done to either elongate the original conveyer belt or to repair a torn or damaged conveyor belt. Because there are so many industries in which conveyor systems are employed, there are many types of conveyor belts and components. In order to correctly splice a belt, the type of belt, speed of conveyor belt system, materials traveling on the belt and conveyor belt environment must be taken into account.
The Importance of a Good Splice
If a splice is done incorrectly, the integrity of the belt, and the entire conveyor system, is compromised. The longer a splice lasts, the less downtime the conveyor system will have. In manufacturing, production and mining environments, downtime can result in financial losses. Improper slices can also result in the material being carried by the belt falling through and causing problems and lost profit.
Types of Splicing: Mechanical Splicing
A mechanical splice is created by using metal hinges or plates. This method requires a mechanical fastener system and a hammer or electric rivet driver of some sort to install the fasteners. Mechanical splicing is a versatile solution because it can be done in many different environments and on many types of belts. It is typically used in applications in which belts go through lots of wear and tear or need to be continuously expanded, or on belts in dirty, high-moisture environments or cramped spaces. These applications include mining, quarry and other heavy-duty applications.
Types of Splicing: Vulcanization
Vulcanization creates a splice by using heat and/or chemicals. This mode of splicing is more involved and requires special tools, expertise, and a clean, temperature- and moisture-controlled environment. If done correctly, however, this type of splice is smoother and typically more durable than a mechanical splice. There are two types of vulcanization: hot and cold. Hot vulcanization creates splices by using heat and pressure through use of a vulcanizing press. Cold vulcanization creates a splice through use of chemicals that bond two pieces of belt. Both types of vulcanization require more time and preparation than mechanical splices. Also, only certain belts, used in certain types of environments, lend themselves to vulcanization. Because the belt must be taken apart and removed from the conveyor system, vulcanization is more of a long-term splicing solution for applications that are light-duty and don’t require constant repairs and extensions of the belt.
Vulcanization vs. Mechanical Splicing: Things to Consider
There are many variables to consider when choosing between mechanical or vulcanized splices: – Vulcanization tends to be a lot more expensive than mechanical splicing, although vulcanized splices tend to last longer when done correctly. – Vulcanization requires a lot of time and thus more downtime for the conveyor belt system. Many environments and types of belts do not allow for cohesive vulcanized splices. – Vulcanized belts offer less a chance for “sift-through” of materials being carried on the belt. – Mechanical splices are easier to inspect for damage. With vulcanized splices, you cannot tell if there is damage until it is too late.