Design & Solve: Belt Splicing

 

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Hello, I’m Jeff Clark. With over 2 years at Kaman Industrial Technologies and 12 in the industry, I have witnessed first-hand the importance of proper belt splicing in heavy duty applications, as well as the repercussions of poor splicing techniques. Kaman Industrial Technologies has 8 Engineered Rubber Products Centers throughout the United States. All of our belting facilities have MSHA (surface and underground) and OSHA certified service technicians who are able to bring the expertise on-site to your application no matter the industry. Today we are at our Salt Lake City, Utah belt shop, to discuss the different approaches of belt splicing.

Conveyor systems are the center of most quarries and mines. What are the environmental factors, time constraints and costs? Many people feel as though splicing is a DIY project, but I can ensure you it is important to use certified technicians to ensure the safety of your application, as well as avoiding costly downtime.

For those of you who may not know, belt splicing is the bonding of two trimmed ends of a conveyor belt. Splicing is typically performed during one of the following: a new conveyor installation, during scheduled maintenance or as an on-site emergency repair. There are two preferred methods of belt splicing: mechanical, or vulcanized.  There are several factors that should be addressed when choosing the correct splice method including belt tension, pulley diameters, material size and impact to the conveyor belt. The condition of the belt should also be considered.

Mechanical splicing is performed by installing mechanical fasteners on each end of the belt to join the ends together. If you choose to go with the mechanical splicing method, because it is a fast and simpler installation vs. the vulcanized, there a a couple of factors that should be considered first. Mechanical fasteners do not typically last the life of the conveyor belt, so there is a hidden cost of replacing a mechanical splice several times throughout the life of the belt. Mechanical fasteners also create a point for material to leak through the belt causing carry back build-up on your idlers, pulleys, and cleaning devices.  Material buildup will reduce the life span of both the conveyor belt and all of the components that come in contact with the belt.  Not to mention cause tracking issues, and endless hours spent on housekeeping.

Vulcanized splicing is performed by bonding two pieces of belting together utilizing raw rubber compound engineered to match the conveyor belt spec being vulcanized. Heat and pressure are then applied to effectively vulcanize the ends together. Vulcanization is a multifaceted procedure that offers a smooth splice with minimal risk of tearing, snagging or other harmful wear to the belt if done properly by an expert.

When using the vulcanization process there are several factors that must be considered to guarantee a high-quality splice. It is always important to have a skilled expert who has a true understanding of solvents and the bonding materials. It is equally important that the materials are fresh and have been stored in a clean, controlled environment. Vulcanized splices require industry specific equipment that will precisely control the exact temperature and pressure that needs to be applied to optimize the strength of the splice.  Our vulcanizing presses are all comprised with the latest technology available.    

Installation environment is also a factor that comes into play. In many instances, the typical field installation environment is dusty and dirty. There typically is not much attention from the site about the importance of eliminating sources of air-born contamination that could affect the splice outcome.

Finally, the condition of the belt must be considered. If the belt is old, wet, or unevenly worn, vulcanizing should not be considered as the bond may not set evenly and would result in a weaker splice. When these circumstances arise mechanical fasteners should be implemented as a short term fix until a new belt can be installed and correctly vulcanized

Kaman Industrial Technologies has partnered with Continental to provide our customers with the leading application expertise in belt production, consistent high-quality belting and documented savings.

If you need any more information specific to belt splicing, please contact your Kaman Industrial Technologies account manager or visit us at www.kamandirect.com.

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

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