Conveyor Pulley Maintenance and Inspection: Keeping Your Belt Conveyor Running Smoothly


Airport belt conveyor

Conveyor pulleys may seem simple, but they are vital components that allow your conveyor system to operate reliably. Drive pulleys transmit the rotational force from the drive unit to the conveyor belt, making everything move. If the pulleys are worn or damaged, it can lead to slippage, mis-tracking of the belt, and even complete conveyor shutdown.

That’s why regular conveyor belt pulley inspection and maintenance is so important. With some basic checks, you can identify pulley issues early and keep your conveyor running in top condition. Here are some guidelines to follow:

Conveyor Pulley Inspection Checklist

  • Visually inspect the conveyor pulley faces and lagging (coating) for excessive wear, gouging, glazing, or chunks missing. The lagging should have sufficient tread pattern remaining.
  • Check for proper crown (cylindrical profile) on the pulley faces. If the crown is gone, it can lead to belt mis-tracking.
  • Wobble or excessive runout when spinning the pulley could indicate a bent shaft or bearing issues.
  • Listen and feel for rough rotation, bearing noise, or vibration which are signs of failing bearings.
  • Look for cracks, pitting, or corrosion on the conveyor pulley shell, hubs, shafts, and end disc welds.
  • Ensure proper pulley-shaft and bearing alignment. Misalignment can cause premature wear.

Lagging Repair/Replacement If the Conveyor pulley lagging shows significant damage or is heavily worn, it needs to be repaired or replaced. Some options include:

  • Re-lagging – installing new lagging directly over the existing lagging
  • Lagging replacement – fully stripping off old lagging and applying new
  • Ceramic inserts or specialty coatings for extreme wear conditions

Bearings and Shafts When bearings are making noise or feel rough when spinning, it’s time to replace them. For shafts, any major scoring, pitting, deflection or corrosion means it should be resurfaced or replaced as well.

For components like lagging, bearings, and shafts, follow manufacturer guidelines on allowable wear limits, repair procedures and replacement parts.

Maintaining Proper Tension Finally, make sure the conveyor belt is operating at the recommended tension per the pulley manufacturer. Excessive belt tension can accelerate pulley wear.

Simple preventive steps like proper pulley inspection, lagging replacement when needed, bearing checks and tension adjustments can go a long way toward extending pulley service life and reducing costly downtime. With a little maintenance, your conveyor pulleys will keep your bulk materials moving smoothly.

Follow the link for more information regarding conveyor pulley operation and maintenance provided in the CEMA whitepaper.