Conveyor belts are used across a wide range of industries to move a broad range of materials. They provide a simple, effective means of moving large quantities of material across short to long distances within a facility or yard. One of the most common issues that conveyor belts face is belt misalignment. As the conveyor runs the belt can begin to move off its intended operating position which can lead to production halting disruptions. The best solution that Wm. Neundorfer & Co. has found to help ensure belts that are leaving their desired operating position are quickly identified is a belt misalignment switch. In this article we will breakdown what a belt misalignment switch is, how they work, the benefits they provide, and highlight some key feature we believe the switch should have.

What are Belt Misalignment Switches?

Belt misalignment switches are conveyor safety accessories designed to alarm and/or shut down conveyor systems in the event of a conveyor belt misalignment.

How do they work?

The switch is typically placed 1 to 6 feet from the head and tail pulley on both sides of the belt with the roller arm positioned approximately 1 inch from the normal belt position. During operation if the belt begins to wander, it makes contact with the roller arm causing it to spin. As more force is applied to the roller arm it will rotate away from the normal position, and at 10° it will actuate the first alarm SPDT micro switch. The first micro switch will annunciate the alarm condition to the control system so corrective action can be taken. If the belt continues to track off it will cause the roller arm to rotate from its 10° position to the 20°position, which will activate the second alarm SPDT micro switch. This second micro switch is wired into the motor starter of the conveyor belt to shut it down.

Why do conveyor belts become misaligned?

There are a number of reasons for why a belt has become misaligned. These include:

  • Bent, Loose, Misaligned, or Seized Rollers
  • Improperly Spliced Belt
  • Belt Camber
  • Belt Cupping
  • Debris Build Up
  • Material Feeding Off Center
  • Segregated Load

Benefits

Help stop small belt Issues from growing:

As a belt wanders off its intended position it can begin to rub against the frame. If this continues without intervention it will lead to accelerated wear on the belt. This accelerated wear will lead to shorter usable belt life and increasing maintenance costs. The switch allows these issues to be detected and corrected prior to any excess wear affecting the wear life of the belt.

Stop Large Problems from Multiplying:

In the event that a belt moves too far out of position or come completely off the rollers, the belt misalignment switch intervenes immediately by initiating a shut down. This can protect the entire operation from experiencing an escalation of problems. If the conveyor belt system continues to run with a belt extremely out of position or missing entirely it can lead to material being lost, damage to other equipment, and longer, more expensive repairs.

Features to look for:

Robust Housing

Conveyor belts are utilized across a wide range of industries and because of this they get used in many different environments. From aggregate yards to food production facilities the switches housing should be able to hold up in the working environment. Look for switches that use rugged die cast aluminum enclosures and have a NEMA-4X, IP-66/67 rating.

Wide Operating Temperature Rating

Operations don’t slow down just because the seasons change. Belt conveyors are used in the field and operate in all seasons. Look for switches that can operate in a large range of temperatures such as -45° to 176° F.

Alarm

The switch needs to be able to inform operators that an issue has been triggered. Depending on the setup look for a switch that can integrate into control systems and/or indicate with lights for notification.

Automatic Shut Down

When belts wander too far or off track completely it is imperative to stop the conveyor to help ensure the least amount of damage to the system and reduce the amount of material lost. Having a switch that can tie into the control system and stop production immediately can save a lot of damage to equipment and material.

By incorporating a belt misalignment switch into your conveyor belt system, you can protect your equipment, reducing downtime and maintenance costs. If you are looking to improve your conveyor belt system or have additional questions about belt misalignment switches, contact Wm. Neundorfer & Co. today. We have the experience and expertise to ensure you get the right equipment for your application.