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What Is a PVC Conveyor Belt?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

Conveyor systems are used to transport goods or materials from one fixed point to another within a space. The specific function of the conveyor system can vary significantly depending on the machine's design, but many systems use a rubber belt to transport goods. As an alternative, a PVC conveyor belt can be used. PVC is a type of thermoplastic polymer that is flexible and durable, and therefore suitable for use on conveyor systems. A PVC conveyor belt is sometimes preferable to a rubber belt because it will not stretch as much as rubber.

When belts stretch, they need to be tensioned using specific tensioning devices that are integrated parts of the belt system. Once the belt stretches past a certain point, it can no longer be tensioned and will therefore be more likely to jump off guide pulleys. This will lead to damage to the belt and potentially to other components within the conveyor system. To avoid this type of damage, a conveyor system may be fitted with a PVC conveyor belt that will not stretch significantly over time. This will extend the life of the belt and lower the risk of damage to other components in the conveyor system.

PVC can be molded into various shapes.
PVC can be molded into various shapes.

It is also relatively easy to mold a PVC conveyor belt into certain shapes or designs. This means the belt can be textured in a certain way, thereby enhancing the belt's ability to grip items being transported along the system. The PVC conveyor belt can, for example, feature cleats that add traction to the belt. This design is particularly useful when transporting goods up an incline, as the goods may otherwise slide backward on the belt due to gravity. The depth of the cleat will generally determine what materials can be transported effectively on the PVC belt.

Like rubber belts, a PVC conveyor belt will need to be secured at either end to complete the loop. This is done using metal hinges, zippers, or other securing devices. This is generally considered to be the weakest point along the belt's length and is most susceptible to damage. The methods for securing the ends of the PVC belt are the same as the methods used to secure a rubber belt in most cases, so the PVC conveyor belt does not necessarily have a distinct advantage over rubber belts in this regard. The rest of the belt, however, will generally be more reliable and lower stretch than a rubber belt.

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Discussion Comments


Conveyor belts are used in so many different ways that you cannot expect one type to be able to work in all industries. For example, a conveyor belt that simply moves boxes from point A to point B doesn't have to be as tough as a belt that moves cloth through giant ovens that dry the cloth.

I once worked on an assembly line and my biggest fear regarding the job was that I was not going to be able to keep pace with the conveyor belt. I had nightmares about getting behind and not being able to work fast enough, and then the belt had to be stopped so I could catch up.


@Feryll - I am not an expert on airport conveyor belts, but I did read somewhere that they have a PVC coating that makes them more durable. If you look closely at the belts when you are picking up your luggage you can see they have a slightly different look than the traditional rubber conveyor belts.


Are airport conveyor belts made of PVC or rubber?


When I worked in the local textile mill before it closed and moved to another country, I worked on a machine that used a conveyor belt. This was a screen printing machine. The large screens were placed on top of the belt and attached to rails. The screens would just move up and then down to print on the cloth that was running on the conveyor belt.

At that time, all the belt used in the factory were made out of rubber. I can remember how upset the managers and the supervisors would get when the rubber would stretch and then get damaged because it was not as tight as it should have been. I don't know how much the conveyor belts cost, but I do remember that they were not cheap to replace.

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    • PVC can be molded into various shapes.
      By: Budimir Jevtic
      PVC can be molded into various shapes.