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Conveyor Maintenance 101: Troubleshooting Your Hinged Belt Conveyor

February 28, 2023

At MC3 Manufacturing, we’re committed to helping industrial organizations troubleshoot mechanical issues, attain the right components, and manage high-performance processes while avoiding unscheduled downtime and emergency repairs. 

It is essential to implement preventative maintenance and troubleshooting processes to ensure your hinged belt conveyor remains operating optimally with minimal downtime. With these processes in place, you and your team can quickly determine any issues that may arise and swiftly correct them. Issues with hinged belt conveyors can be categorized into three main areas: motor/drive/power issues, belt-related issues, and other miscellaneous issues. Some of the most common problems people encounter with hinged steel belt conveyance systems include the following:

  • Jams
  • Belt damage, such as worn surfaces or missing cotter pins
  • Obstructions that work into the gears or moving parts
  • Electrical malfunctions, such as blown fuses, or low voltages
  • Mechanical damage, including worn or misaligned sprockets, track damage, worn friction disks, or other breakages that interfere with the torque limiter

Use this troubleshooting guide to identify likely causes of a seized or malfunctioning hinged belt conveyor. For issues unrelated to system start or running failure, review the troubleshooting tips in our conveyor operations manual

My Hinged Belt Conveyor Won’t Start or Run: Power and Electrification Issues

One of the most common malfunctions you may encounter with a hinged belt conveyor is with the power and electrification systems, which often translates to problems with your motor, drive, or power connections. Follow these troubleshooting steps.

Safety Note: Before you start, disconnect the power supply and lockout for safe handling.

Step 1: Check Main Disconnect

Make sure your main disconnect is switched on. Flipping it from off to on may resolve the issue. If the system doesn’t begin running once the main disconnect is in the on position, continue troubleshooting.

Step 2: Run Your System in Reverse

By reversing the system, you can isolate motor issues from mechanical failures or obstruction issues. If it runs in reverse, you know the motor is in operational condition. The issue is likely related to the drive, belt, or an obstruction in the moving parts. If it doesn’t run, the the motor and/or gearbox are malfunctioning and you will need to move on to step three.

Step 3: Observe Operation of the Torque Limiter

The technician should observe the operation of the torque limiter (that is, if the conveyor is equipped with a torque limiter). If the torque limiter and its respective chain rotate but the drive shaft does not rotate, then there is a mechanical jam in the belt or driveshaft area. If the torque limiter and its respective chain do not rotate when attempting to run the conveyor, then the issue is with the motor, gearbox and/or power feed.

Step 4: Move the Belt by Hand

Crank the driveshaft by hand using a wrench. If the belt moves properly, this confirms that it is an electrical or motor issue. If you can move the belt by hand but not in reverse, you likely need to fully replace the motor or replace its malfunctioning components. If the belt doesn’t move, you can further examine it to find any obstructions or broken parts.

Repairing Motor Issues

Once you have identified the motor as the issue, there are several repair options available. Your team or a qualified repair technician will first need to unbolt the motor and remove it from the driveshaft. This will allow you to determine if the motor is running properly, check the driveshaft’s condition, and decide whether a full motor replacement is required. Other repair options include:

  • Replacing blown fuses
  • Realigning tail shaft sprockets
  • Having an electrician check the supply voltage
  • Cleaning or re-tensioning the torque limiter

My Conveyor Belt Won’t Run

If your conveyor turns on but the belt won’t run in reverse or by hand, you can eliminate the motor as the potential problem. But that still leaves you with several potential mechanical issues. Check for these common belt-related issues:

Infeed Area Blockages

Solution: Turn the conveyor off, examine the area, and remove any blockages.

Incorrect Belt Tension

Solution: Check the belt’s tension and re-tension it, if necessary. A belt that is too tight can pulsate during movement or draw high amperage on the motor. A belt that is too loose will buckle and cause jamming.

Misaligned Tail Shaft Sprockets

Solution: If the tail shaft sprockets have fallen out of alignment, power down the conveyor, remove the tail shaft cover, realign the sprockets, and check and tighten set screws of sprockets, if necessary.

Low/Insufficient Supply Voltage

Solution: Keep the unit powered down and have an electrician inspect the power supply.

Torque Limiter Become Loose

Solution: check the nut of the torque limiter. If the nut is loose, then it needs to be tightened until nearly flattening the disc spring (avoid completely flattening the disc spring). The nut should be secured from becoming loose again, by raising the tabs of spider washer or pining the nut.

Torque Limiter Contamination

Solution: Clean the torque limiter to remove grease, dirt, and other contaminants. 

Shaft Is Bent or Pulled Out of Position

Solution: The shaft will need to be repaired or replaced. If possible, run the conveyor in reverse until the shaft reaches the discharge end so a repair professional can easily reach it. If the conveyor won’t move, attempt to remove the belt by removing shafts and grinding off the crimps to pull the belt free. Then the damaged shaft can be repaired or replaced.

For additional belt troubleshooting, review the steps on page 31 of our conveyor operations manual.

Body & Track Issues

Some conveyor issues are due to body and track issues rather than power, drive, or mechanical issues. In these circumstances, the body and track components may have incurred damage. Look for signs such as grooves, misaligned dips, bends, or even holes. body and tracks can rarely be repaired. Most often, they need to be fully replaced.

New Hinged Belt Conveyors From MC3 Manufacturing

If your conveyor needs replacing, be sure to work with the right professionals to minimize downtime and ensure smoother operational performance. At MC3, we specialize in providing high-quality conveyor systems and services you can trust. Our equipment is durable, reliable, and runs with minimal breakdowns or wear due to their high-quality steel construction and our expert fabrication techniques. Contact us today to learn more or request a quote to start optimizing your system.

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