Angles of Incline and Belt Conveyor Configurations

For handling bulk materials, it is essential that the proper conveyor and belt is used. Traveling up an incline can complicate things quite a bit. Having the wrong tools can lead to delays and slower production speeds, resulting in costly losses. Depending on the nature of your bulk material, the layout of your plant, and the requirements of your operations you may have several options for incline conveyor belt configurations. Here's are some points of comparison that will help you understand how one may be better than another for a certain application.

Flat v. Trough Belts

Both trough and flat conveyor belts are widely used to convey dry bulk solids. But that doesn't mean they're equally suited for a particular job, particularly where incline comes into play. Flat belts are simple to engineer and probably the most widely used type of conveyor belt. Obviously a completely flat belt would not work well for handling loose granules or powders on any angle of incline for a distance. Especially materials with a lower angle of repose would spill right off the edges of flat conveyor belts. But the strength of a flat belt is its ability to carry flexible sidewalls and cleats. Since trough belts are required to bend and stretch lengthwise as well as laterally at the end wheels, they aren't as well suited for cleats on the belt surface. Trough belts have their advantages. They are concaved to create a bit of a groove or trough for material to ride along the conveyor path. This allows for a high capacity at horizontal or very shallow angles. They're very well suited for flat, long distance paths where products have plenty of time to settle down into the trough. But for an incline of anything more than 25 degrees you've got to have a flat belt with added cleats or nubs that keep the product from falling back down the conveyor.

Straight Cleats v. Nubs

Flexible sidewalls attached to a belt keep product from falling off the sides of a conveyor, but you also need some device to keep the material from falling backward on an incline conveyor belt. Straight cleats go from end to end across the width of the belt, as shown here. They create pockets for material to settle in to stay put even along very high angles of incline. Nubs are vertical spikes placed in intervals across the surface of the belt. They don't prevent all backward movement of material but they greatly decrease negative flow. These belts aren't approapriate for very high inclines, but around 45 degrees, they are highly efficient and allow materials to flow continuously rather than in pockets, which is desireable where uniformity is important. They are also capable of very high capacity and speed.

Open v. Enclosed Conveyors

There are many reasons one may want to have a conveyor enclosed: to protect the purity of material being conveyed, to protect the environment or workers from the product, or to prevent loss of product. But inclines make these challenges even more pronounced. Even with belts built for efficiency on incline conveyors, there will always be some downward movement and some fly-away. Enclosed conveyors ensure that falling chunks or billowing dust won't escape the conveyor.


Cambelt offers conveyors and belts capable of meeting any needs you may have at any angle of incline including vertical. We are also experienced enough with a vast list of dry bulk solids to offer advice on the best belt conveyor configuration for your needs. Fill out the proposal request to learn more.

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