Conveyor systems by E.N.E. Conveyors are specialised in the design and manufacturing. +44(0)28 4062 2215 |
Unit 24 Scarva Road Industrial Estate,
Banbridge, County Down BT323QD
Phone: +442840622215

A belt conveyor is a mechanical device that provides movement of an item or items from one place to another using a belt as the conveying medium. Belt conveyors are principally found in industry where there is a necessity to move units of product in an efficient manner, or in a manner required for the production of the product. There are countless items in our modern world that need to be moved and, consequently, a large number of conveying methods available. Belt conveyors can range from a few centimetres long to many kilometres in length.


There are also a number of applications outside industry where belt conveyors make a useful contribution to our lives. Supermarkets checkouts, airport baggage systems, automated teller machines (ATM’s) and sushi restaurants are all non-industrial applications where belt conveyors play an essential role. There are very few things in the world that have been made without the aid of a belt conveyor of some sort.


Belt conveyors consist of three basic components;

  • The drive and idler rollers/sprockets
  • The frame or structure
  • The belt


Belt conveyors fall into two main categories. The first and older type of conveyor will use a belt that is plied or fabric based. The second and more recent type uses modular or linked module belts. Each type has its advantages and drawbacks.


  • Plied or fabric based conveyors. These conveyors will be fitted with a flexible or plied belting material under tension. The belts are constructed from two parts, the first being the traction layer which provides the tensile strength and the second being the conveying and running surfaces. The traction layers could be of woven polyester, Kevlar, polyamide or other materials that can provide appropriate strength. The conveying and running surfaces have to be made of materials that resist the mechanical and environmental challenges such as cold, heat, abrasion, chemical and other considerations.
    • Advantages of this style of conveyor are;
      • Large range of belt types available
      • Application over long distances,
      • Quiet operation,
      • Handling of small and awkward product
      • Fabrication into complex belt
      • Handling high temperatures (silicone, Kevlar, glass construction)
      • Accurate placement and positioning (synchronous timing belts)
      • Can be troughed to convey powders and granules
      • Very hygienic (using solid plastic homogeneous type)
    • Disadvantages of this style of conveyor are;
      • Shorter conveyor life through stress/tension
      • Higher maintenance (tensioning and tracking, more frequent belt replacement)
      • Belts more prone to damage
      • More skills required to construct (belt joining, technical understanding)
    • Typical applications for plied belt conveyors are;
      • Airports (Low noise, high speeds, reduced damage to bags and goods)
      • Mining (impact and wear resistant, lower cost per metre, long conveyor lengths)
      • Manufacturing (broad range of material types, relatively inexpensive, quiet operation)
      • Distribution (high speeds, quiet operation, broad range of material types)


  • Modular belting conveyors. Modular belting conveyors are fitted with belts that are made up of segments. The segments are typically made of plastic or a variety of steels. The segments can also be made of wire which is linked together in a modular fashion. An important feature of a modular belt conveyor is the simple, inexpensive construction and the low skill levels required in construction. The belt is under no tension and is self-guiding. The belt is pulled using toothed sprockets on a common shaft and is supported by an open bed of UHMW wearstrips under the length of the conveyor. This style of conveyor can be configured to negotiate curves and changes of direction which can’t be achieved inexpensively with a plied belted conveyor. Modular belting can run for many years without serious replacement or attention which means that running costs are low. Conveyors can also be constructed to accept modular chains in pairs that carry very heavy loads and accept considerable punishment. Many large product production lines run on this style of conveyor.
    • Advantages of this style of conveyor are;
      • Low maintenance
      • Generally trouble free for long periods
      • Longer conveyor life
      • Wide applications possible
      • Very high and low temperatures permissible (steel modules)
      • Can be constructed by low skilled workers
      • Relatively inexpensive to build
      • Damage can be easily and quickly repaired in house
      • Easy diversion of product on the belt (no tracking problems)
    • Disadvantages of this style of conveyor are;
      • Un-hygienic if not cleaned frequently or properly
      • Unsuitable for very small items (transfer issues)
      • Noisy
      • Cannot convey powders or grains without spillage
      • Smaller range of belts available
    • Typical applications for plied belt conveyors are;
      • Meat and poultry production
      • Bakeries (spiral coolers and tray handling)
      • Automotive (production lines/people movers)
      • Bottling plants
      • Vegetable processing (washing, elevating)


There are a small number of belt conveyor types that fall between the two main categories of ‘Plied’ and ‘Modular’ these are;

  • Solid (homogeneous) belt conveyors. These are conveyors that use the latest type of solid (flexible) plastic belts. They can be positively driven with no tension in the same manner as a modular belt but come without the cleaning and hygiene issues of modular belts. They are quick and easy to join and can be retro-fitted to many modular conveyors. Benefits include;
    • Hygienic (very easy and quick to clean)
    • A variety of surfaces available
    • Can be troughed to convey powders, granules and wet product
    • Can be configured for flights and sidewalls
  • Round and profile belt conveyors. These conveyors are generally configured to carry round or profiled belts in banks of two or more. They are hygienic, robust and very easy to maintain and repair. Belts are generally in a PU material and can be joined in seconds which makes them ideal for quick replacement in high volume applications. Belts range in diameters from 1.5mm up to 20mm or more. These belts are very popular in the tile, board and industries that produce flat product. Round belts also used to transmit power from layshafts to rollers. Benefits include;
    • Inexpensive to build
    • Inexpensive to maintain
    • Resistant to abrasion
    • Easy belt replacement