When the tension on one edge of the conveyor belt is increased or decreased compared to the other edge, this is known as belt tracking. It is a lot like the
tensioning that occurs when the belt is installed, and when the tension becomes too high on one of the sides, then the belt will start to track off of the pulley. It will tend toward the side that has less tension.
If you want to stabilise the belt, then you will have to adjust the tension, and if you fail to address the problem, it will cause the belt to not last as long as it should. The products on the belt could be damaged as well, and they could become misplaced due to poor belt tracking.
How Are Tracking Issues Caused?
If you use a stainless still conveyor belt, you should have very few tracking issues. These kinds of belts do not give way under tension and are practically non-
stretchable. They do not flex to try to compensate for tracking issues. When you have a conveyor belt made from something other than stainless steel,
then you may experience tracking issues that are caused by any of the following:
- Varied loading
- Pulley shaft deflection that is not properly controlled
- Unaligned conveyor system
- A deviated belt edge
A camber or deviation in the belt is normal, but stainless steel belts tend to have a very low camber, usually around 0.050” or less every 8’. When you have a two- pulley, squared conveyor system, you will always have one edge of the belt that is more tensioned than the other due to a different edge circumference. This means that the belt will track away from the edge that is tighter whenever the belt gets rotated. Tracking techniques attempt to counteract or sidestep the stress caused by negative tracking.
How to Handle or Avoid Tracking Issues
There are number of ways that you can prevent negative tracking stress and ensure the alignment of your metal conveyor belt. Adjusting the Manual Pulley Axis
When you adjust the pully manually, this can help to counteract the tracking problems.
Adjusting the pully axes manually is a great way to sort out tracking issues on most kinds of metal conveyor systems. This method works with both crowned-
face and flat-faced pulleys, but we do not suggest that you use metal conveyor belt systems with crowned-face pulleys. In most cases, the idler and drive pulleys allow for accurate adjustments using the adjustable axes. Often, it will only be the idler pulley, however, that will have the adjustable axes. This is necessary when the drive pulley is interfaced with the power transmission devices like the motor, but it makes adjustments more difficult.
You can force tracking on your conveyor belt using V-Guided tracking. With some of the conveyor belt systems, simply adjusting the pulley axis will not
be enough to avoid tracking problems. We can help you by suggesting the most efficient and suitable method of adjustment for you. In some cases, that may
mean installing cam followers or adding flanges made from glass-filled Teflon. Through forced tracking techniques, your belt’s life may be shortened, but we can
minimise that issue by adjusting your system in a few different ways. We can install wider conveyor belts using a V-belt that is then bonded to the
inside of the existing belt. These will spread out tracking stress across the V-guide and protect the belt itself and make it last longer.
Tracking adjustments are much simpler to perform with an independent steerable pulley installed. This is known as an ISP and it works with multiple idler pulleys
and systems that have complicated belt paths. It is also suitable for two-pulley conveyor systems. An ISP will modify tensions throughout the belt using an angle
The ISP is installed onto a steering collar and the bearing assembly on the pulley’s body. This mean that no pillow-block adjustment needs to be done to move the
pulley shaft. As the steering collar is rotated, the pulley body’s angle will adjust, and this gives you bidirectional belt movement for the pulley face that is very controlled.
Contact us for a variety of stainless steel tracking solutions for your conveyor belt system. We can troubleshoot your problem for you and figure out which kind of tracking method will work best for you, increasing effectiveness and protecting your products and conveyor belt.