My Love/Hate Relationship with Fugitive Material

Fugitive Material. Piles. Ant Hills. Mounds. Carryback. Many terms are used but they all mean the same thing to those working in the bulk material handling industry = a nuisance and annoyance that needs to be cleaned up. Not only does fugitive material cost time and money, but it is also a safety hazard.

The Top 3 Offenders…3 Common Types of Fugitive Material

# 1: Carryback

Carryback is material and fines that separate from the load and remain on the conveyor belt. This separation happens as the belt carries cargo from the load zone to the discharge zone. As the belt comes in contact with each of the carrying idlers, the vibration causes the moisture and fines to sift through the larger pieces of material on the belt. When this happens, the material takes on a different characteristic and sticks to the belt's surface. As a result, this carryback tends to cling to the belt after discharge.

Read More About Preventing Carryback

# 2: Spillage

Spillage is usually seen in the load zone’s immediate vicinity. It is normally the result of an insufficient load zone design and the misunderstood application of conveyor belt sealing. Due to insufficient belt support in the impact area, the belt is allowed to bounce down and pull away from the chute walls of the load zone, resulting in belt sag.

Manual Cleanup of material spillage is not only expensive but dangerous

Learn More About Preventing Spillage

Learn How Proper Belt Support Prevents Spillage

# 3: Dust

The final aspect of fugitive material is dust. Just because dust is last on my list, in no way is it any less of a burden than carryback or spillage. In fact, dust is rapidly becoming one of the most serious problems in our industries due to environmental issues and health concerns. As a result, regulatory agencies are focused on reducing and controlling dust in the workplace and handing out hefty citations and fines to enforce dust control.

the escape of fugitive material decreases safety, productivity, and morale


Click For Info On Controlling Dust


I don’t say hate often but I think such a strong word is suitable in this case. I not only hate fugitive material because it is dirty and costly, but I also hate the potential for severe injury and even death that it creates. I hate that it is so widely accepted when there are solutions that can easily help minimize and, in some cases, prevent the problem.

Leading to the one thing I “love” about fugitive material, it’s an easy fix. With solutions such as belt cleaners and proper belt support & sealing, fugitive material can be drastically minimized. There is no need to accept and deal with fugitive material when a solution can increase safety, efficiency, and productivity.