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Conveyor Belt


Conveyor belts are a material handling system that plays an essential part in many industrial and commercial operations. They move materials from one place to another, often over long distances.

A distribution or production facility depends on having the proper conveyor belt setup to move its products throughout the manufacturing or dissemination process efficiently.

There are several types of conveyor belts, each with pros and cons. Choosing the right belt for the job is vital in creating a fast, efficient, and productive facility with minimal disruptions.

What is a Belt Conveyor System?

A belt conveyor system is a material handling system that helps move products from one place to another within a warehouse or business. It typically consists of two or more pulleys, which rotate to move the belt material that runs between them.

The belt’s continuous movement helps carry goods from one loading bay to a picking module. Typical applications for belt conveyors include transporting heavy items around a manufacturing plant, elevating bulk materials in a storage facility, and accommodating seamless equipment selection in a distribution center.

Conveyor belt systems are also used with other material handling equipment, such as forklifts and pallet jacks, to move products throughout a facility. Conveyor belt systems can be customized to meet the specific needs of a business. They are used in various settings, including manufacturing plants, distribution centers, and retail stores.

Types of Conveyor Systems

Some common conveyor types include belt conveyors, roller conveyors, chain conveyors, spiral conveyors, and pneumatic conveyors. The type of conveyor system you use depends on the specific application.

For example, belt conveyors are often used for heavy-duty applications such as moving boulders or transporting bulk materials. Pneumatic conveyors are typically used for light-duty applications such as sorting parcels or transferring small parts.

Ultimately, the choice of conveying system depends on the business’ specific needs.

Specialty Conveyors

There are many types of specialty conveyors designed for specific applications. These can include:

  • Toughened belt conveyors: for use in heavy-duty industrial settings to withstand high temperatures and heavy loads.
  • Auger conveyors: for use in agricultural settings as they can seamlessly move grain and other materials.
  • Troughed belt conveyor: a slat conveyor used to transport slate and other materials in a mined tunnel. The slat is placed on a tray or belt supported by a series of rollers mounted on a frame supported by the tunnel’s walls. The slat is moved along the conveyor by the action of the rollers.

Troughed conveyors are often used in mining operations to move slate from the mining face to a processing plant. They are also suitable for industrial tasks, such as processing food products and manufacturing, to automate the transportation of goods internally.

Powered slider belts are popular options for transporting machine parts, food items, or assembled packages to dedicated picking modules. Our heavy-duty slider bed is a powerful and efficient belt system for rugged warehouse use. It is manufactured from a 12-gauge steel frame, which supports a 60 FPM belt.

The 1/2 horsepower 115/1/60 motor ensures the unit can move high volumes of heavy-duty goods. However, it doesn’t come with electrical controls.

Non-Motorized Conveyor Systems

Another type of conveyor system is one without motors. These units use gravity, gravity rollers, or other means to move goods along the system. They can be found in various commercial settings, including factories, warehouses, and retail stores.

Non-motorized conveyor systems have several advantages over their motorized counterparts. They are typically less expensive to install and operate and require less maintenance. You can also manage the flow rate better.

They are also more versatile, as they can be easily reconfigured to change the direction of the flow of goods. As a result, they are suitable for use in applications where the direction or volume of goods being moved is subject to change.

We stock a range of non-motorized conveyor systems. Our galvanized steel roller conveyors are an excellent option if your facility frequently handles heavy items. They are built from a 10-gauge steel frame, and a series of 16-gauge steel galvanized rollers. The durable frame can support up to 1,400 lbs.

Other Types of Conveyor Systems

Other commonly used conveyor belt units include:

  • PVC conveyor belt systems
  • Pipe conveyor systems
  • Ball transfer conveyors
  • Building conveyors
  • Gravity conveyor systems
  • Heavy-duty belt conveyor systems
  • Convention idler belt system
  • Roller conveyors
  • Bucket conveyors

Essential Parts of a Conveyor Structure

While there are several conveyor belt system types, most use the same core parts to operate. Essential components of a conveyor structure include the belt, pulleys, electrical motor, steel cord, and supports.


There are three main conveyor belts: flat belts, roller belts, and chain belts. The type of belt used depends on the application, the weight of materials you handle, and the type of products your store.

  • Flat belts are the most common conveyor belt type. They are versatile and are used for many purposes.
  • Roller belts are used for heavier loads, and chain belts are used for heavy loads.
  • Chain belts are also used in applications where there is a need for high speed or rapid movement.

Belts are manufactured from a variety of materials, such as rubber, PVC, polyurethane, and nylon. When choosing a belt material, it is crucial to consider the weight and type of items conveyed and the operating environment.


The drive pulleys are the wheels that propel the conveyor belt. They are typically made of metal and are either grooved or smooth. There are three main types of pulleys:

  • Head pulleys
  • Return or tail pulleys
  • Idle rollers

Head pulleys are used to route the belt around various obstacles. Return or tail pulleys help guide the belt back to the head pulley. Idle rollers support the belt along its length, keep it centered on the head, and return pulleys.


Powered conveyors use an electric motor that connects to the pulleys, and the pulleys turn to move the belt. The engine is usually electric or hydraulic, and the operator can adjust the speed to manage product flow.


The supports hold up the belt conveyor and keep it in place, helping the conveyor system to run smoothly. These conveyor frames are typically made from steel and can be either fixed or adjustable.

Maximum Load Capacity

Determining the maximum load capacity is critical when designing or selecting a conveyor system. The maximum load capacity of a conveyor system depends on several factors, including the type of conveyor, the material being transported, and the speed and length of the conveyor.

Belts and rollers have higher load capacities than other conveyors. Consult with a qualified engineer to ensure your selected system is appropriate for your needs.


Conveyor Belt System Rated Speeds

The rated speed of a conveyor belt is another essential consideration when choosing a belt for a particular application. This refers to the maximum speed at which the belt can safely operate. The width of the belt, the diameter of the rollers, and the type of material being transported determine the rate.

The rated speed of a belt conveyor must be greater than or equal to the speed at which the material is being moved. For example, if a conveyor belt is transporting coal at a rate of 2,000 pounds per minute, the belt must be able to move at least 2,000 feet per minute. The belt will slip and stop if it cannot move at that speed.

Slippage can damage both the conveyor belt and the material being transported. If a conveyor belt is operating at its rated speed and slower, it will be unable to move as much material. As a result, it will take longer to transport the material from one point to another.

Frame Configuration

The frame supports the entire system and determines the path the belts will take. There are three basic types of frames: roller, slat, and belt.

  • Roller frames are the simplest and most common type. They consist of a series of rollers mounted on a frame.
  • Slat frames are more complex, consisting of a series of slats that support the belt.
  • Belt frames are similar to slat frames but use a belt instead of slats.

Each type of frame has its benefits and drawbacks, so it is essential to choose the right one for the application.

Benefits of Conveyor Systems

There are four primary benefits of using a conveyor belt system: efficiency, safety, cost-effectiveness, and versatility.


Conveyor belt systems are highly efficient. They can move large volumes of material quickly and without interruption. This efficiency can help to increase production levels and reduce overall costs.


Conveyor belts are much safer than other material handling methods, such as manual labor or forklifts. By eliminating the need for workers to lift and carry heavy objects, conveyor belts can help to reduce the risk of human error or injury.


Furthermore, conveyor belt systems are often more cost-effective than alternative methods, such as installing an assembly line. They allow you to create a leaner payroll, reducing labor costs significantly.


Conveyor belts are incredibly versatile and can be customized to meet the specific needs of any operation.

Disadvantages of Conveyor Systems

While conveyor systems are mainly beneficial, there are some downsides to consider, including:

Static Electricity

One of the primary disadvantages of a conveyor belt system is its potential for producing static electricity. Static electricity is generated when the conveyor belt moves over the rollers and slats.

This is potentially dangerous, as it may discharge into any equipment or products being conveyed on the belt. In some cases, static electricity can also be a fire hazard.


Another disadvantage of conveyor belts is that they are often made from non-durable material. They can easily be damaged by sharp objects, excessive heat or cold, or strong chemicals. As a result, regular maintenance and replacement of worn parts are essential for keeping a conveyor belt system in good working order.

How to Choose the Right Conveyor System

Conveyor belt manufacturers offer many types of systems. When choosing the right conveyor belt system for your business, there are several factors to consider:


The first step is determining what type of products you need to transport. This can help identify the most suitable belt material and construction.

For example, lightweight items or loose materials such as paper or plastic may only require a simple PVC belt, while heavy materials such as boxes or parcels will need more durable material and a more heavy-duty belt conveyor, such as a PVC/PU hybrid.


The next step is to consider the desired speed of the conveyor belt. This helps determine the necessary width and length of the belt, as well as the motor size and type.

Special Requirements

It is crucial to consider any special requirements, such as specific temperatures or environments. Considering all these factors, you can choose the right conveyor belt system for your business needs.

Shelving + Rack Systems Inc. Can Help With Your Storage Needs.

If you’re looking for a conveyor belt system that can handle your specific needs, contact Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc. today. Belt conveyor technology changes frequently. Our knowledgeable staff keeps up-to-date with the latest equipment upgrades and releases, helping you choose the best conveyor for your needs.

We stock a variety of conveyor system designs, ensuring you can find the perfect one for your business. In addition to high-quality belt conveyors and equipment selection units, we also provide a comprehensive service offering.

Our planning and design team can help you with an entire warehouse renovation. We are experienced in working to a range of budgets, ensuring you can get maximum utilization for your available cubic feet.

Our factory-trained installation crews are available to assemble and integrate your materials safely and correctly. These professional operators have installed and assembled a wide range of equipment, from belt conveyors to electric track systems and AC motors to air pressure tanks.

For more information on belt conveyors or other warehouse equipment, browse our comprehensive online catalog. To discuss your warehouse needs in more detail or request a quote, contact us at (800) 589-7225.

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