What is Conveyor Belt Splicing and Its Popular Methods

Conveyor belts have been around for decades and they are at the heart of material handling across industries such as quarries and mines, construction, manufacturing among others. This material handling system performs a crucial role in conveying bulk materials including grain, salt, coal, ore, and sand. Being a critical component in heavy-duty industries, conveyor belts must perform optimally all the time without failure. As minimal downtime and maximum output has become a top priority for various manufacturers, and thus, maintenance of individual conveyor parts is of utmost importance. A critical area of importance on any conveyor system is its splices. The operational reliability and functionality of a conveyor belt is determined by the quality of its splices. However, all splices wear over time and nearly 80 percent of all conveyor belt failures are due to improper splicing. This is here, the importance of conveyor belt splicing arises. What is conveyor belt splicing and what are the conveyor belt splicing methods popular today?

Conveyor Belt Ends Joined

   What is Conveyor Belt Splicing?

Conveyor belt splicing, as simply defined, involves the process of joining two trimmed ends of a conveyor belt to regain overall belt performance and longevity. The process is usually performed in case of new installation, refurbishing programs, maintenance, or during repair.

   Know About Two Popular Conveyor Belt Splicing Methods

Conveyor belt joining, also known as splicing, is the process of connecting two ends of a conveyor belt to create a continuous loop that can transport goods and materials. There are several methods of conveyor belt joining, and the choice of method depends on the type and size of the conveyor belt, the materials being transported, and the environment in which the conveyor belt operates.

Conveyor belt splicing is performed utilizing several chemical or mechanical procedures. The following are the two popular conveyor belt splicing methods in use today:

  • Mechanical Splicing: Mechanical splicing is a versatile solution that makes use of a mechanical fastener system to make reliable joints. Ideal for all types of belts of any width, thickness, length, speed, and tension, mechanical splicing technique is ideal for any type of belt. Compared to other splicing methods, mechanical fasteners can be installed quickly in a few minutes using a hammer, or with a modified installation tool with electric or air power source. Mechanical splicing helps reduce the belt waste and is ideal for both new and older, worn belts. You can perform mechanical conveyor belt splicing anywhere without preparation as it is not affected by temperature, shelf life, residue, or moisture levels. In case if you opt for mechanical splicing, then ensure to get the job done by an experienced hand who is knowledgeable to identify the correct fastener type for the application. This is imperative to ensure maximum splice life and performance.
  • Vulcanization: This is a complex procedure that is performed using heat and/or chemicals. The process not only requires specific temperature, compression and equipment dwell time but also needs special tools, expertise, and a clean and controlled environment, unlike mechanical splicing process. The entire process for the vulcanizing of a belt takes several hours, whilst also requiring meticulous preparation before the process. The vulcanization process is not usually preferred if the belt is old, dirty or unevenly worn. Typically, more durable than a mechanical splice, vulcanization splicing is usually conducted by personnel with an in-depth knowledge of solvents, bonding materials and other cover and fill materials. There are two types of vulcanization and as follow:
    1. Hot Vulcanization: In this method, the splices are created using heat and pressure in heated presses. This splicing method is effective, but time-consuming and is suitable for all types of belts of different thickness and widths. This method of belt fabrication creates strong, long-lasting splices compared to other techniques of belt splicing.
    2. Cold Vulcanization: Cold vulcanization is a reliable joining technique wherein chemicals are utilized to splice the rubber ends. The process requires reliable hand tools and high-quality bonding agents.

    Both these conveyor belt splicing methods involve several complicated steps, so they must be performed by a skilled worker.

    Types of Conveyor Belt Splicing Tools

    Conveyor belt splicing is an important aspect of maintaining industrial conveyor belts. Splicing involves joining two pieces of conveyor belt together to create a continuous loop that can transport goods and materials. To achieve this, various tools are needed, including belt cutters, belt skivers, belt clamps, and vulcanizing presses. In this article, we will explore these tools in detail and explain how they are used to splice conveyor belts.

    • Belt Cutters: This splicing tool used for cutting industrial conveyor belts. They come in three types – manual, electric, and hydraulic. Manual belt cutters are the most basic and cost-effective type of belt cutters. They are portable and suitable for cutting thinner belts. However, they require physical effort to operate. Electric belt cutters are faster than manual cutters and can cut thicker belts. They require a power source to operate. Hydraulic belt cutters are the most efficient and can cut the thickest belts.
    • Belt Skivers: This conveyor belt joining tool used to remove the top cover of industrial conveyor belts before splicing. This is done to ensure that the two ends of the belt can be joined seamlessly. There are two types of belt skivers – handheld and bench-mounted. Handheld belt skivers are portable and suitable for small belts. They require physical effort to operate.
    • Belt Clamps: This industrial conveyor belts splicing tool used to hold the two ends of the conveyor belt together while splicing. There are two types of belt clamps – light-duty and heavy-duty. Light-duty belt clamps are easy to use and suitable for lighter belts. However, they may not provide enough pressure for thicker belts. Heavy-duty belt clamps can provide high pressure for thicker belts.
    • Vulcanizing Presses: This industrial conveyor belts splicing tool used to bond the two ends of the conveyor belt together during splicing. They come in two types – hydraulic and electric. Hydraulic conveyor belt vulcanizing presses can provide high pressure and heat for thicker belts. They are more expensive and require a hydraulic power source. Electric vulcanizing presses are faster than hydraulic presses and more energy-efficient. They require an electrical power source.

    The service provider who is executing the splicing procedure must be able to explain the pros and cons of each splicing method and also must be able to identify the type of splicing method right for the belt conveyor.  Moreover, when you are looking out to buy used conveyor belts, make sure that the splicing is in good condition. To be on a safer side, procure such unused or a used surplus conveyor belt from a trusted source like JM industrial, who offers optimum quality used conveyor belts for material handling.