The right choice: the 4 most common conveyor belt idlers


Conveyor belts are fitted with different idlers depending on their application. There are numerous idlers on the market, but there are four most common idlers found in factory settings with each having their own advantages.

Some of these benefits include support for the belt’s carry and return slides, correct belt tracking and impact absorption.

Here are the four most common idlers or “conveyor frames”:

  1. Impact idlers

Impact idlers are made for loading different areas of the belt, especially where belt damage is typical as a result of regular impacts and falling materials. Impact rollers absorb impact forces which reduces or completely prevents belt damage, idler frame damage and damage to the overall belt structure.

Impact idlers are beneficial for preventing or reducing belt damage as belts can be incredibly expensive to fix or replace. Consequently they help decrease maintenance costs and improve productivity.

  1. Trough idlers

Trough idlers are the most popular carry idler, which are fitted to the conveyor belt’s carry side and are designed with three to five idler rollers. The five-roll idler provides a more consistent cross section, providing increased carrying capacity. Three roll idlers have a central idler roll and wing idlers attached to either side of the mechanism.

Trough idlers are advantageous for ensuring the conveyor belt’s load-bearing capacity is the same across the belt’s full length. With load-bearing evenly distributed, the material’s maximum capacity at the loading point won’t fall off the belt.

  1. Flat return idlers

Flat return idlers are the most popular idler on the conveyor’s return side with single steel attached to two drop brackets. One roller designs for flat return idlers is the most common, but they are also found with two separate rollers.

Flat return idlers are advantageous because of the support belt support from the return side as this prevents sagging, stretching and ultimate belt failure. This therefore increases the conveyor’ belt’s longevity.

  1. Training return idlers

Training return idlers pinpoint belt misalignment before fixing the problem, ensuring the belt tracks correctly at the conveyor tail end. If the conveyor belt misaligned and rubs against a fixed component, the conveyor component or head chute, then either part will incur serious damage as well as anything else the belt contacts.

Therefore, training return idlers help reduce belt damage as well as the costs that come with repairing a problem with the conveyor belt when it is misaligned.

How to ensure your belt is running smoothly

The conveyor belt and idlers require maintenance to ensure that they don’t incur some of the above-listed problems that come with regular operation.

Some belt maintenance tips include:

  • Choosing the right belt: You should always go with the belt that is integral to your operation, avoiding choosing a belt that may not be able to withstand high velocity impact.
  • Cleaning: Belts should be regularly cleaned to avoid carryback from forming on the belt’s underside. You can use anything from a v-plow to a belt scraper, brush cleaner or spray bar to prevent carryback buildup.
  • Impact idlers: The above-mentioned impact idler is important for ensuring high-velocity impacts don’t have such a detrimental effect on your belt.
  • Tracking rollers: Tracking rollers are a great way to keep your belt from mis-tracking.

These are the most common belt idlers and the best ways to keep your conveyor belt from malfunctioning – a very important thing to do when you consider how expensive repairs and replacement can turn out for whole manufacturing.

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