Keeping conveyor belts clean is an important job for manufacturers. When the belts get dirty, that dirt and grime can carry back through the conveyor system and deposit on other critical equipment. Your choice of belt cleaner will depend on several factors. It includes the belt pulley size, working environment, and material composition to be cleaned from the belt.
In general, there are two popular choices in conveyor belt cleaning: polyurethane and carbide scraper belts. There are other materials, but they aren’t used often, and they aren’t as durable polyurethane or carbide blades. For most manufacturers, custom polyurethane blades are the best choice.
How Does Conveyor Belt Cleaning Work?
Conveyor belt cleaning uses belt scrapers. These effective tools directly scrape remnants of products off of the conveyor belt without damaging the actual belt. They can remove sticky material and other unwanted residues from the belts to keep them and the items on them as clean as possible.
Primary and secondary conveyor blade scrapers work together to keep the belts clean. The primary cleaners remove coarse material that sticks to the conveyor belt once it leaves the head pulley. The primary scraper does most of the cleaning. But the secondary scraper helps remove anything that the primary scraper leaves behind.
The scrapers can also be configured in a single-row or split-line design. The single-row blades rest in a continuous line, while the split-line designs are spring-loaded, so they press against the belt and move as they clean. The single-row scraper moves the discarded material in the opposite way the conveyor belt is traveling, while the split-line design moves the discarded material in the same direction.
Why are Polyurethane Blades Best for Belt Cleaning?
Polyurethane is a durable material that is used in a variety of manufacturing settings. With its resistance to chemicals and friction, it is no surprise that it has become the material-of-choice for belt-cleaning blades.
Polyurethane Blades are Efficient and Versatile
Polyurethane blades are not only efficient and versatile, but their composition keeps them from damaging the actual conveyor belt. Polyurethane has high tolerances to heat, chemicals, and water so they can function well on the conveyor belts that might damage blades made of other materials. Polyurethane is known for being a material that remembers its shape. So, if the blades are stretched a bit as they are cleaning, they will return to their original shape. Other materials that are pushed in the same way polyurethane is might break. Polyurethane will not.
Polyurethane Blades Offer Good Value
Polyurethane is an affordable material, especially when compared to carbide or other materials that manufacturers choose for their conveyor belt cleaning. These blades are less expensive upfront, and they last longer than blades made from other materials. For businesses looking to cut costs, using polyurethane blades to keep conveyor belts clean is an easy way to do it.
Polyurethane blades are good values on their own, but they also help businesses save money on repairing and replacing conveyor belts.
Polyurethane Blades are Compatible with Conveyor Belts
Blades made of polyurethane are also compatible with the mechanical splices used on conveyor belts. The forgiving nature of polyurethane vs urethane – the hallmark of the material – makes it more effective than other materials on all types of conveyor belts.
How Does a Polyurethane Blade Differ From Other Belt Scraper Blade Cleaners?
Polyurethane is not the only material that is used for conveyor belt blades. There are several others that have been used for many years.
Rubber was a popular choice for belt scrapers, but when compared to polyurethane, the material is too soft. The friction from the conveyor belt makes rubber ineffective at removing sticky materials and residue.
When a conveyor belt requires a heavy-duty cleaning, manufacturers often turn to tungsten carbide. These blades are often used in manufacturing facilities that work with petroleum coke, sand and asphalt, and steel production.
While the carbine blades are effective at removing unwanted debris and residue from the belts, they are so strong that they can damage the belt if something goes wrong. Carbide blades are only recommended on undamaged, new belts.
While polyurethane blades are soft, they are more durable than rubber. When manufacturers turn to polyurethane blades to keep the conveyor belts clean, they do not have to worry about their belts or blades suffering from damage. The polyurethane blades can apply pressure at an aggressive angle without ripping the belt or breaking the blade. Where carbine blades can damage an older belt, polyurethane gets even better, as it will not damage a worn or uneven conveyor belt. The durability of the polyurethane keeps the blade in contact with the belt, but the softness prevents it from damaging a worn belt.
Unlike blades made from other materials, polyurethane blades are durable and long-lasting. They remain resilient even when in regular contact with chemicals or dirt. They also withstand UV rays, and will not rust or corrode over time as carbide does.
Where are Polyurethane Blades Most Effective?
If you have a conveyor belt that is mechanically fastened, the polyurethane blade works well with a mechanical splice. The blade glides over the splice for protection and cleans the belt. Blades made of other materials might end up damaging the splice and the belt, especially if the belt moves at highly abrasive materials. Polyurethane blades have no problem cleaning up after abrasive materials, because of their flexibility and strength.
Polyurethane blades are also extremely efficient at primary belt cleaners. They do well when used on the head pulley. The blade is flat at this point, and it maintains its shape when problems happen. They are also useful on the secondary cleaners, and their ability to clean keeps conveyor belts lasting longer than expected.
In conclusion, conveyor belts need to be cleaned, and polyurethane blades get the job done better than any other material. Choosing the right cleaning blade for your conveyor belt can keep your belts working for many years with few if any, problems. Polyurethane is a durable and soft material that will keep your conveyor belts clean and in top condition.