How to calculate belt conveyors’ cleaner drag

As a major designer and manufacturer of material handling components, Rulmeca offers invaluable insights into optimizing belt conveyors. When it comes to bulk material handling, belt cleaners are crucial ancillaries to this end. Of course, to make sure of their efficiency it’s important to assess all technical specifications and variables involved in the application. Consequently, this is decisive to select appropriately-sized drive systems. Let’s delve into the reasons for using belt cleaners on bulk handling conveyors, the different types available, methods for calculating belt cleaner drag and power to overcome it.

The use of cleaners on bulk handling belt conveyors

Belt cleaners play a vital role by removing carryback from the underside of belt conveyors. They are usually positioned just below the horizontal centerline on the face of the pulley or beneath it.  This prevents the drop down and dispersion of fine materials from the bottom of the return strand or the continuous accumulation of wet and sticky materials on the belt surface over time. Thus, their action helps to improve safety for plant personnel, preserve smooth material flow and extend lifespan of conveyor component, especially that of idlers, return rollers and belts. Rulmeca production ranges from simple spring-leaded or counter-weighted mechanical cleaners with blades made of tungsten carbide to more complex multiple scrapers with polyurethane blades. When integrating cleaners or scrapers in bulk handling belt conveyors, ensuring adequate power to drive the system becomes essential. Indeed, undersized power may struggle to overcome belt cleaner drag leading to decreased performance and potential equipment failures, while oversized power can result in unnecessary costs and energy consumption. So, how can operators calculate belt cleaner drag and determine the right power to overcome it?

How to calculate belt cleaner drag and drive power

Standard parameters to calculate belt cleaner drag and required power to overcome it are stated in the belt conveyors design guide by the Conveyor Equipment Manufacturer Association (CEMA). Based on the type of belt cleaner, the drag may range from 2 to 14 pounds per inch (lbs/in) of scraper-blade contact. If precise drag value is unknown, the guide recommends using a conservative estimate of 5 lbs/in of width for each blade of cleaner contact. Then, in order to determine the required power to drive the conveyor and help the selection of the right pulleys, belt cleaner drag has to be multiplied by belt speed (considering that 1 HP = 33,000 ft-lbs/min). Although these are useful guidelines for plant operators to understand and identify possible solutions, it’s always recommended to rely on expert engineers to choose the right one. Rulmeca team is available to provide customers with technical consultancy and assistance with the aim of finding the best solution to enhance efficiency and safety of belt conveyors while reducing operational costs and downtime.

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