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The Ins and Outs of Conveyor Belt Materials: Understanding Your Options for Optimal Performance

January 09, 2024

Conveyor belts are the workhorses of various industries, responsible for the efficient transportation of goods and materials from one place to another. The immense value they provide in all industries hinges significantly on their construction materials. The materials determine the belt's strength, durability, and suitability for different applications, and the type of conveyor belt material used will depend on the specific application.


conveyor belt materials

Cover Material:

The cover material is the outermost layer that comes into direct contact with the conveyed material, acting as the first line of defense against wear, abrasion, chemicals, temperature, and other damaging factors. The choice of cover material is crucial because it must align with the operational demands of the application.

Common conveyor belt materials include:

  • PVC (polyvinyl chloride)
  • PU (polyurethane)
  • PE (polyethylene)
  • TPEE (Hytrel®)
  • Silicone
  • Fabric
  • Felt

PVC (polyvinyl chloride)

Polyvinyl Chloride, or PVC, known for low cost, durability and flexibility, is a lightweight and versatile option favored for most of the conveying applications, especially those less demanding or cost-sensitive conditions, such as in agriculture processing or light manufacturing.

They also provide good resistance to cuts, chemicals, and moderate temperatures.

Where required, PVC belts can even be formulated to meet food contact regulations.

Polyurethane

Polyurethane is a strong and durable material that provides exceptional resistance to grease, oils and chemicals and stands up to abrasion, cuts, and tears.

Although often more costly than PVC belts, Polyurethane conveyor belts are lightweight and has a low coefficient of friction, which brings more energy-savings and cost-effectiveness in return. They also boast superior hygienic qualities, making them suited for food processing where sanitary conditions are paramount.

PE (polyethylene) and TPEE (Hytrel®)

Polyethylene belts have been especially developed for the tobacco processing industry, because it provides excellent chemical resistance and release property, and more importantly, it produces no harmful substances when accidentally goes into the production stream and is burned afterwards.

TPEE (Hytrel®) is a further development that is more abrasion resistant. TPEE meets the FDA and EU specifications for dry food.

Silicone

Silicone conveyor belts shine in high-temperature environments or those requiring high levels of release or non-stick properties. Silicone can withstand extreme temperature variations (-10 ºC to + 150 ºC) and provide superior resistant to many chemicals, greases and oils.

They are mostly used in food applications, and also in sanitary industry for folding and gluing of paper products.

Fabric and Felt

Fabric and Felt belts are often used in logistics, automotive and food processing industries for delicate products that require a soft touch – and where noise reduction is important.


Fabric Material: The Backbone That Carries the Load

Lying beneath the cover and encased within it, the fabric material forms the carcass of the conveyor belt. It provides the necessary tensile strength to carry loads while maintaining flexibility. The selected fabric can dramatically influence the belt's performance characteristics, such as load capacity, impact resistance, and the ability to navigate around pulleys.

conveyor belt fabric materials

Cotton/Natural Fibers

Cotton and other natural fibers were once common, offering a balance of flexibility and strength. They are good for general-purpose light-duty applications but can stretch and lose strength under heavy loads or in moist environments, leading to nowadays less frequent use.

Nylon

Nylon is another well-established material for conveyor belt fabric. It delivers high strength and excellent resistance to impact and abrasion. Nylon's elasticity also means it can absorb shocks effectively, making it a good choice for heavy-duty applications.

Polyester

Polyester is highlighted for its low stretch and high strength, especially in the weft direction. Its dimensional stability and resistance to moisture make it a widely used fabric in KCB's conveyor belts.

Aramid (Kevlar)

For extreme strength with light weight, aramid fibers like Kevlar take center stage. These high-performance materials provide the belts with the best dimensional stability with minimal stretch, while being resistant to heat and flame.

They are ideal for textile printing and other heavy-duty applications such as panel board pre-pressing.

Solid woven

Solid woven fabric is constructed of high-quality spun polyester warp yarns that are interwoven and bound together with the weft yarns. When fused and impregnated, this interwoven carcass provides excellent tear and impact resistance along with dimensional stability, delivering high performance solutions for general conveying.

Glass-Fiber

Glass-fiber fabrics are chosen when heat resistance is a paramount concern. Often used with silicone or PTFE covers, they can operate continuously in environments with temperatures exceeding those suitable for synthetics like nylon or polyester.

aramid reinforced fabric belt

Elements of Innovation

As industries evolve, so do conveyor belt materials. Kunming Conveyor Belt continue to innovate, combining various cover and fabric materials to meet the ever-changing demands of different applications. In conclusion, when selecting a conveyor belt for your application, it's essential to understand the properties and capabilities of both the cover and fabric materials. By matching the right materials to your specific needs, you ensure that your conveyor belt operates smoothly, efficiently, and with the longevity needed to support your operational goals. Remember, the material components of a conveyor belt are an investment in productivity, and with so many options available, there's a solution engineered to meet virtually any industrial challenge.

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