Bearings Used for Conveyor Belts

Blog | October 9th, 2018

Conveyor bearings are specifically built to quietly facilitate linear belt motion. Arguably, they’re the central components in the system, so their mechanical characteristics are mirrored by a conveyor belt’s performance. Consequently, if these rolling elements interface efficiently between the equipment frame and the belt pulleys, then the product stream loaded on the belt will move equally smoothly.

Examining the System Determinants 

Before examining the different bearing types, let’s take this opportunity to subdivide the different roller cylinders inside the long equipment line. There are the pulleys, of course, with their large cylinders and cladding. Coupled with the drive system, they’re clearly important. Further down the parts list, though, there are other rolling cylinders, all of which require bearings. Free rolling idlers, take-up rollers and tensioning spindles, every cylindrical component gets its own friction-minimizing bearing.

Different Bearing Types 

Back at the idlers and other non-driven cylinders, a pair of Teflon-lined bushings or plastic-coated casters gets the job done by providing precision-slipping momentum. Elsewhere, high-precision pillow-block bearings and their flanged counterparts support pulley drive axles. These are the load supporting belt buttresses, the rolling elements that absorb heavy product weights while they precisely rotate their pulleys at moderate speeds. Not to be left behind, even smaller rolling cylinders come equipped with rolling elements, although these smaller bearings are usually embedded within the ends of their hollow tubes. They’re quiet, energy-efficient, and aided by a self-lubricating design.

Sealing Conveyor Belt Bearings 

There’s only one more factor to talk about before drawing this post to a close, and that’s the contaminants problem encountered inside the line. There’s dirt accumulating under the belt, plus bits of escaping load waste. Oily residues collect the gunk, and it ends up deposited around the system bearings. To solve this issue, conveyor system engineers add protective seals to their products. They take the form of steel caps and/or rubberized inserts. The best-in-class variants on this theme employ labyrinth channels and direct contact designs, which support several essential features. Among them, a low-maintenance build and a method of lubricating the internally cradled rolling elements ranks high.

While the pillow-block and flanged bearings, each equipped with high-functioning sealing caps, do serve the industry well, they’re not alone. There are PTFE lined bushings supporting idlers, plastic-coated wheels assisting other rolling cylinders, and even groups of spindle-equipped cylinder shafts that operate according to the whims of a timing belt. Each family of bearings is uniquely qualified to suit its application, be it load conveyance work or the provision of a free-spinning feature, as used in a large group of idler rollers.

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