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Beginners Guide
Design Guidelines and Standards
Some of the fundamental conveyor design parameters and standards are included here to acquaint
the learner with the norms of the technology.
Once the learner has progressed to the stage of detailed design and engineering of troughed belt
conveyors, then the appropriate sections in this Handbook should be consulted for a more
comprehensive explanation of terms and design information.
a) Troughed Belt Conveyor Capacities
Material surcharge angles vary between 0 degrees and 35 degrees and greater however, for the
purposes of an indication of belt conveying capacities, the chart below assumes that the material
surcharge angle is 20 degrees and has a bulk density of 1000 kg/m3.
The graph indicates the theoretical capacity of a conveyor at a belt speed of 1 m/s and three different
idler trough angles namely 20, 35 and 45 degrees.
The capacity of a troughed belt can also be viewed/calculated on the Ckit "Load & Capacity" calculator.
b) Belt Speeds
A number of factors should be considered when determining the correct conveyor belt speed. These
include the material particle size, the inclination of the belt at the loading point, degradation of the
material during loading and discharge, the width of the conveyor structure, belt tensions and power
The following tables provide an indication of the recommended belt speeds for different materials.
Max. Belt Speed
c) Standard Belt Data
Troughed conveyor belting usually complies to the following standard dimensions and ratings.
- Belt widths

Standard Belt Widths
450 mm
600 mm
750 mm
800 mm
900 mm
1000 mm
1050 mm
1200 mm
1350 mm
1400 mm
1500 mm
1650 mm
1800 mm
2100 mm
2400 mm
3000 mm
- Belt classes :-
Steel Cord Belt Rating Fabric Belt Rating Fabric Belt Plies*
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ST 500
ST 630
ST 800
ST 1000
ST 1250
ST 1600
ST 2000
ST 2600
ST 3000
ST 3150
ST 4000
ST 5000
EP 160
EP 200
EP 250
EP 315
EP 400
EP 500
EP 630
EP 800
EP 1000
EP 1250
EP 1600
EP 2000
EP 2500
2 ply
3 ply
4 ply
5 ply
6 ply

'*' Click here to view standard number of plies for different belt classes
- Belt covers :-
Temperature Service Conditions
Heavy Duty Service
Superior in abrasion resistance, cut and gouge resistance.
Suitable for conveying large sized lumps, sharp and rugged
Normal Duty Service
Superior in abrasion resistance but inferior to grade M in cut-and-
gouge resistance.
B (G)
General Light Duty Service
Suitable for conveying moderately abrasive materials and small sized
Super abrasion resistance
Suitable for conveying materials tending to cause fast wear on belts.
Belt Surface:
max. 100C
max. 200C
Superior in heat resistance and also in cut, abrasion and tear
Suitable for conveying the following materials:
Hot sintered ore, hot pallet, hot clinker, hot chemical, fertilizer, etc.
Belt Surface:
max. 150C
max. 400C
Highly exellent in heat resistance and also superior in abrasion
cut and tear resistance.
No cracks will result. So suitable for hot materials.
Typical applications:
Hot clinker, hot cement, hot powder, hot sintered ore, hot chemical,
fertilizer, etc.
max. 100C
Oil & Heat Resistance
Having oil resistance suitable for conveying hot materials.
Recommendable for conveying the material containing some mineral
Oil Resistance
Excellent in oil resistance, lubricating oil, animal fat, mineral oil, oil
treated coal, phosphate involved oil, vegetable oil, fish oil, corn oil,
Fire Resistance
Resistant to flame propagation. Extremely low burning rate.
Suitable for underground operation.
d) Types of Idlers
There is an array of idlers available in the market for use on conveyors in different applications.
Some examples of the different types of idlers available are provided below. For more details on the
types and design of idlers available, refer to the idler section on the contents bar.
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e) Idler Spacing
The spacing or pitch of idlers has a direct bearing on the sag of the belt between the idler sets. The
idlers on the carrying side of a conveyor must support both the belt and the load carried by the belt
while on the return side, the idlers must only support the empty return belt. It follows therefore that
the idlers on the carrying side must be positioned at smaller intervals than on the return side.
Excessive sag in the belt between idlers results in a higher absorbed power for the conveyor and
therefore the pitch of the idlers in conjunction with the tension in the conveyor should ensure that the
sag is limited to between 1,5% and 3%.
The designer must also consider the load which the idlers must
support and the effects of this load on the design rating of the idlers'
shaft and bearings. Spacing idlers too far apart will result in
excessive loading of the idlers which will reduce the life expectancy of
the idlers.
f) Conveyor Drive Units
The location, layout and configurations of drive units on a conveyor depends on the size of the drive
required, the tensions in the belt under various operating conditions, the physical space available for
the drive unit, access to the drive for maintenance, and so on.
Some examples of drive arrangements and locations are provided below.
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In selecting the appropriate drive for a conveyor it is common practice to standardise on commercially
available drive sizes and configurations. This is important from a cost point of view as well as the
clients spares holding requirements and the required delivery period.
Generally speaking drive assemblies comprising motor, high speed coupling, gearbox/reducer and low
speed coupling are rated for the following duties. Reducers have different reduction ratios and the
Suppliers should be consulted for specific information.
0.25 kW
0.37 kW
0.55 kW
0.75 kW
1.1 kW
1.5 kW
2.2 kW
3.0 kW
4.0 kW
5.5 kW
7.5 kW
11 kW
15 kW
18,5 kW
22 kW
30 kW
37 kW
45 kW
55 kW
75 kW
90 kW
110 kW
132 kW
160 kW
185 kW
200 kW
225 kW
250 kW
315 kW
400 kW
450 kW
500 kW
550 kW
600 kW
g) Pulleys
The width and diameter of the pulley to be used are determined by the width of the conveyor belt, the
belt rating or class and the required conveyor belt speed.
Some standardisation in pulley diameters and widths exists although pulley shaft diameters and
lengths are usually selected for each specific conveyor.
An indication of pulley dimensions and commonly used terms is provided in the following table.
h) Take-up Assemblies
Take-up assemblies are required on all conveyors to maintain the required tension in the conveyor
under all operating conditions.
The location of the take-up, orientation of the take-up and design of the take-up depends on factors
such as the length of the conveyor, the available headroom for the take-up and the mass of the
Some examples of take-up assemblies are provided below.
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i) Loading Stations
The layout and design of the loading point is often critical to the successful operation of the conveyor
in as much as the alignment of the belt along the conveyor is concerned and whether or not spillage
occurs at the loading point.
A number of standard loading point configurations exist which are shown in the following diagrams.
The choice of loading point design is often dependent on for example, the height through which the
loaded material falls before impacting onto the belt, whether or not the material is dusty or wet, to
minimise the damage caused to the belt at the impact point.
j) Belt Cleaning Devices
Whenever material is transported on a conveyor a certain small percentage of product is not
discharged as the belt passes around the head pulley. In instances where the material conveyed is wet
and sticky, more material can be expected to carry over onto the return side of the conveyor.
The problem with carry over is that the residual material is gradually removed from the belt as the
return belt passes over the return idlers and as the material dries along the return strand. Small heaps
of product can be seen forming beneath each return idler and these piles of material can grow rapidly
and have a high cleanup cost over the life of the Plant.
For this reason belt scrapers are used at the head end of the conveyor and belt ploughs are employed
ahead of the tail pulley. In extreme cases belt turnovers are used which physically turn the return belt
upside down along the returned strand thereby preventing the dirty side of the belt coming into contact
with the idlers.
Three main types of belt cleaning devices are used namely primary scrapers, secondary scrapers and
belt ploughs. Pictures of each of these devices are provided below together with an indication of where
each of these items may be found on a conveyor. For additional information consult the appropriate
section in this Handbook.
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k) Field Instrumentation
Conveyor belts are designed to operate reliably and continuously for many years. During
commissioning and after maintenance the performance of the conveyor is usually monitored and once
the initial setting up has been completed, it can be expected that the conveyor will operate safely
under normal operating conditions.
In practice however, abnormal conditions develop for example, material fed onto the conveyor may
misalign due to gradual buildup in the feed chute resulting in a misaligned belt which could run
dangerously close to the structure and which could damage the belt. Catastrophic failures also occur
from time to time examples of which include a belt splice failure on an inclined conveyor.
These abnormalities may occur when the conveyor is not being monitored and if left unattended,
serious damage to the equipment and possibly to personnel could arise.
Field instruments are therefore used on conveyors and serve to warn the operator that an abnormal
condition is developing and will trip the conveyor should be problem become serious enough.
Most conveyors are fitted with the following instrumentation (click on the thumbnail for the full image)
Item Description Function when actuayed
1 Misalignment detector Trip belt if seriously misaligned BG29a
2 Under speed switch Trip drive and feeding conveyor BG29b
3 Blocked chute detector Trip drive and receiving conveyor BG29c
4 Pull wire and switch Trip drive and feed conveyor BG29d
5 Emergency stop Trip drive and feed conveyor BG29e
6 Rip detector Trip drive and feed conveyor BG29f
7 Thermal Plug Trip drive and feeding conveyor BG29g