Challenges of Handling Bulk Materials: Recycling Conveyors

Recycling facilities handle paper, steel, aluminum, plastic, electronics, chemicals, and more on a regular basis. Equipment must be durable enough to handle a great deal of abuse from the daily physical and chemical onslaught. At the same time it must be versatile enough to carry wildly irregular shapes and sizes of materials. Here are some of the major challenges for recyclers and how Cambelt addresses those challenges in our recycling conveyors.

Challenges of Handling Material for Recycling

Avoiding Belt Damage

In the recycling industry, everything from scrap aluminum to bowling balls to greasy pizza boxes have to be dealt with. These are not only challenging to sort and move, they can damage valuable equipment including conveyors. Weak belts can be sliced by sharp edges, cleats can delaminate and shear off, and the rubber can age prematurely with oils and other chemicals. Belt damage can lead to significant downtime and costly repairs or replacement when the belt is relatively new. One way to avoid this might be to use metal linked belting. But the tradeoff will be loss of containment and problems with snagging and catching.

Irregularly Shaped Materials

Most conveyors are build to move bulk materials in small granules or semi-regular chunks. Unprocessed recyclable materials often contain irregularly sized and shaped pieces all thrown together onto recycling conveyors. This creates problems for handling, especially when inclines come into play. The minimum requirement for any belt conveyor is to keep the material moving along. That disqualifies most bulk material conveyors for recycling right off the bat. Cleats and flexible sidewalls can help, but only if they can stand up to the materials.

Cambelt's Recycling Conveyor Solutions


Many of the challenges of handling recyclables can be addressed with the right belting. Cambelt make all of its conveyor belts using one-piece molded construction. Sidewalls, cleats, and all are shaped out of one homogeneously cured piece of rubber. This alone makes them vastly more durable than other commonly used belting. We can also create rubber compounds that stand up to harsh conditions of a recycling facility. We build belts that are oil resistant and heat resistant for better longevity and performance.

The right belts can also make a huge difference in efficiency with even the most unwieldy conglomerations of scraps. For horizontal paths a rugged trough belt may be right for the job. They carry large volumes and are unaffected by the size of the pieces. Where inclines are involved Cambelt's CamWall belting are ideal. CamWall features flexible sidewalls and substantial belt-width cleats. We can mold them up to five feet wide to accommodate even the largest pieces.

Custom Conveyor Systems

Along with our patented world-class belting, Cambelt custom designs and builds complete recycling conveyor systems onsite. We can build the combination of conveyors perfect for any recycling operation including incline conveyors that efficiently handle whatever material you're recycling along inclines up to vertical.

We also offer airtight enclosed conveyors where aeration and contamination are potential problems.

Unloading Systems

Recycling facilities often receive material by the truckload. Cambelt offers both fixed and portable truck and hopper railcar unloaders ideal for this task. Each can be equipped with the CamWall belt and enclosed to avoid adverse weather conditions.

Some would say accelerated belt wear is simply a part of life in the recycling industry and that efficient material handling is not realistic for vastly irregular materials. Cambelt is here to disprove both those assumptions. While there are many strange things that can go through a recycling conveyor system, Cambelt aims to provide the equipment necessary to deal with all of it.

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