What Is a Conveyor Pulley?

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  • Written By: C.B. Fox
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 16 February 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
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A conveyor pulley is the part of a conveyor belt system that moves the belt. There are at least two pulleys used in these systems, though in most cases, only one of them is motorized. The conveyor pulley that is not motorized is used to maintain tension in the belt so that it does not sag under the weight of the objects moving along it. These pulleys are commonly used in many industries to move goods around.

At least two pulleys need to be used in a conveyor belt system, a driver pulley and one or more idler pulleys. The driver pulley is attached to a machine that makes it spin, moving the belt and causing any idler pulleys in the system to turn. While it is possible to use more than one driver pulley, it is usually not necessary because keeping the two pulleys synchronized requires precise calibration between the two pulleys. The inertia of the belt can be used to easily synchronize the rotation of the idler pulley to that of the driver pulley.


Like other pulleys, a conveyor pulley consists of a wheel, axel, and belt that loops around it. Most of these pulleys are quite a bit wider than other pulleys because the pulley needs to be slightly wider than the belt, which, depending on its intended use, can be several feet (1 foot = .3 meters) wide. In order to keep the belt from slipping off the sides, a conveyor pulley will often be constructed with raised edges or V-ribbing. The raised edges keep the belt on track by gently guiding it back to the middle of the pulley as it drifts to one side or the other. Ribbing allows the belt and pulley to grip into each other, forming a strong and stable connection between the two.

Transport companies will often use a conveyor pulley to move heavy goods around. The associated conveyor belts can be many miles long and are kept stable over these long distances through the use of rollers. Stores often use small conveyor belts at their check out counters to make it easier for customers to unload their shopping carts. Mining companies can use conveyor belts for transport out of or into a mine along an incline. Specialized rollers can even allow a conveyor belt system to turn a corner.



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