Most belt conveyor operators know that when it comes to the critical issue of belt splicing, there are TWO primary options to consider. What they may not know are all of the factors that influence the decision and ultimately determine the success of each belt join methods.
1. Vulcanized splicing through heat or chemicals.
2. Mechanical fastening with metal hinges or plates.
To help operators better understand the conditions that impact the decision, we’ve compiled a “True or False” quiz on vulcanization vs. mechanical fastening.
Test your knowledge and conceptions of this critical process below:
False. With the use of synthetic carcass belts and improved fastener designs, mechanical fasteners are compatible with high-tension belts, with ratings of up to 2000 PIW.
True. While vulcanized belts are ideal for the prevention of material sift-through, mechanical fastening may actually be preferable in many instances. If the splice is done properly, sifting should not be a problem. Solid plate splices can be sift-proof, and if filler tape is used with a bolt solid plate fastener, sifting is eliminated.
False. Conveyor belt damage, noise, and damage to the cleaner can all be avoided when mechanical splices are properly installed, maintained, and countersunk by skiving the belt.
True. There are a number of conveyor belt conditions that can interfere with the ability to vulcanize. Older and/or worn fabric belts have weaker belt layers that will become brittle as heat is applied during vulcanization. Older rubber belts also present challenges as the bondable properties of rubber will deteriorate over time. Finally, some operations may not have sufficient belt length to vulcanize as the process will require some take-up to successfully complete.
True. In fact, vulcanization requires an operation to shut down the belt for a substantial amount of time – much longer than a mechanical splice would. The chemicals used in the process require several hours to cure, ensuring a minimum of eight hours of down time. Perhaps more significantly, vulcanization requires a trained professional that will likely have limited availability, determining when the work can ultimately be scheduled.
False. Even when done or completed properly, vulcanizing weakens the conveyor belt, removing an entire ply of strength. The effect is even more severe on improperly conducted vulcanizations. A mechanically fastened splice, however, does not compromise the belt’s integrity when installed correctly.
Conveyor belt and belt splice damage will always be a fact of life in most material-handling applications.
While every splicing process has its limitations, belt conveyor operators can make more efficient decisions by better knowing all of the factors to consider when deciding between a vulcanized splice and the use of mechanical fastening.
Authored By: Aaron Rosso, Senior Product Manager
Rosso is responsible for managing the heavy-duty mechanical belt fastener program globally for Flexco, including the program vision and strategy, product development plan, product line portfolio, promotion, PR and communications, pricing, and profitability. Rosso graduated from Western Michigan University with a bachelor’s degree in Finance and received his master’s degree in business administration from the Kellogg School of Management – Northwestern University with a concentration in Marketing and Strategy.