13 Types of Conveyor Belt Damage

Conveyor belts play a crucial role in the bulk material handling industry, facilitating the seamless and efficient movement of materials from one point to another. However, like any equipment, conveyor belts are susceptible to damage that can impact their effectiveness and longevity. Let's explore 13 types of conveyor belt damage, the causes behind them, and preventive measures to ensure optimal conveyor belt performance.

1. Top Cover Cracking:

Top Cover Cracking, Conveyor BeltConveyor belts are designed with specific minimum bend radii that should be adhered to during operation. Failure to comply with these specifications can result in what is known as top cover cracking. This phenomenon manifests as narrow cracks typically found on the surface or the belt's top cover. To prevent this issue, it is imperative to ensure that the selected belt size aligns seamlessly with the dimensions of the pulley, preventing undue stress and potential damage.

2. Wing Tail Pulley Damage:

wingpulleyWing tail pulleys introduce an additional dimension of complexity to conveyor systems. When belts are subjected to high stress or stretch around these wing pulleys, they can exert excess stress precisely where the wings make contact with the belt. This stress can lead to top cover cracking, creating a sharp transition as the belt approaches the wings. To address this, alternative solutions involve opting for steel drums and incorporating pulley protection devices like plows to mitigate stress points and avert consequential damage. 

3. Ply Separation:

Ply separation is an issue associated with belts featuring cut edges, the industry standard in many cases. In high-moisture environments, the belt's carcass can absorb moisture, resulting in what is called ply separation. This absorption causes the carcass to swell and separate. Opting for molded-edge belts, though more expensive, can resist moisture absorption and prevent ply separation.

4. Junction Joint Failure

Junction Joint FailureJunction joint failure is a critical issue that can lead to belt tracking problems and premature failure. Recognizable through improper wear on the return roll, this failure can escalate, eventually causing the belt to split into thirds. The root cause often lies in the design, specifically the stress the belt undergoes during the transition from a flat position to a troughed position. To mitigate this, careful consideration of the transition distance, based on belt specifications and trough angles, is essential during the belt selection phase.

5. Entrapment Damage:

Conveyor Belt, Problem, Entrapment DamageEntrapment damage presents itself as grooves in the belt surface, typically caused by material dropping into the belt sag. This can be a challenging issue to diagnose accurately. To prevent entrapment damage, it is crucial to eliminate belt sag through proper support, in the skirted load zone. Additionally, using appropriately manufactured skirting designed for conveyor belts ensures that grooves are not the result of skirting-related issues but are rather mitigated through proper belt support.

6. Heat Damage:

Heat DamageHeat damage is a consequence of exposure to elevated temperatures from hot materials or cargo on the belt surface. Recognizable by distinct cracks, differentiating it from top cover cracking, heat damage poses challenges to cleaning procedures as the cracks make it difficult for belt scrapers to reach certain areas. While some temporary fixes exist, such as splicing or epoxy applications, the best preventive measure involves selecting belts designed to resist heat damage.

7. Cupping:

BeltCuppingCupping occurs when a belt surpasses its specified trough ability or experiences over-tensioning. Over-tensioning can be identified by observing the belt (without carg0) lifting out of carrying idlers when the belt should typically settle into the troughs. Proper tensioning, alignment, and support are essential to prevent cupping and ensure effective belt tracking.

8. Belt Camber:

Belt Warp, Floor, Camber, Problem, Conveyor BeltImproper storage can cause belt camber, a curvature in the belt. This curvature can result in tracking difficulties and challenges in containing spillage. Adhering to recommended storage practices, such as storing belts on racks or through their core and rotating the belt every 90 days, is critical to prevent camber-related issues and maintain optimal conveyor performance.

9. Crooked Splice:


Crooked splices result from imperfect edges during belt manufacturing. These imperfections can lead to misalignment, particularly at the tail pulley. Using the average centerline method for squaring off edges helps achieve better alignment and reduces the risk of crooked splices.

10. Edge Damage:

ConveyorBeltEdgeDamageEdge damage occurs when a conveyor belt mistracks, causing it to come into contact with surrounding structures. In certain industries, regulatory agencies may cite edge damage as a potential hazard. Consistent monitoring of belt alignment and the implementation of tracking systems play crucial roles in preventing edge damage, safeguarding both operational efficiency and compliance.

11. Impact Damage:

ImpactDamageImpact damage stems from sudden impacts caused by large objects striking the conveyor belt. This can result in cuts or nicks on the belt surface, potentially compromising its integrity. To mitigate the risks associated with impact damage, it is essential to implement measures that prevent large objects from reaching the belt and, when applicable, consider the use of impact-resistant belts or belt support cradles for enhanced durability and protection.

12. Impingement Damage:

ImpingementDamageImpingement damage occurs when abrasive material rotates on the belt surface during freefall, leading to narrow cuts or scratches. The issue is more prevalent with abrasive materials and is typically concentrated in the center of the belt. To prevent impingement damage, adjustments to chute designs can minimize abrasive interactions. The use of kicker plates may redirect material, reducing the risk of damage and prolonging belt life.

Learn the Difference Between Impact & Impingement Damage

13. Belt Cleaner Damage:


Over-tensioned or misaligned belt cleaners can cause chatter or nicks on the belt surface. Proper installation and regular maintenance checks are essential to ensure that belt cleaners are correctly tensioned, minimizing the risk of damage. Proactive maintenance sustains optimal conveyor belt performance.

In Conclusion

Understanding and addressing the 13 types of conveyor belt damage is critical for maintaining efficient and reliable conveyor systems. By implementing preventative measures and regular maintenance, operations can minimize downtime and reduce costs associated with conveyor belt issues.