A conveyor belt is the carrying medium of a belt conveyor system. A belt conveyor system consists of two or more pulleys (sometimes referred to as drums), with an endless loop of carrying medium – the conveyor belt – that rotates about them. One or both of the pulleys are powered, moving the belt and the material on the belt forward. The powered pulley is called the drive pulley while the unpowered pulley is called the idler pulley. See figure 1 below. There are two main industrial classes of belt conveyors: 1. general material handling, e.g., moving boxes along inside a factory; and, 2. bulk material handling or transportation used to move large volumes of material goods, e.g., coal, ore, lignite, grain, salt, sand, and other resources. The use of steel-belt conveyors has spread throughout the processing industries.
Applications of steelbelt conveyors include cooling/solidification, drying, pressing, freezing, baking, and materials conveying. A belt conveyor is an important system component of production in many processing and mining industries. Their failure can cause expensive repairs and reduced loads during peak demand. The efficiency and reliability of this system is an important concern to all operators.