Thomas Greaves from DYNA Engineering explains the ins and outs of conveyor skirting: how it works, how it is designed and constructed, how it lifts productivity and safety when fitted to conveying systems.
What is conveyor skirting?
Conveyor skirting is a product that creates and maintains a dust seal between the chute structure and the conveyor belt. It is usually made out of rubber strips and mechanical grips which keep the rubber in place.
In addition to dust sealing, it also prevents stray material from becoming lodged between the belt and conveyor structure.
This can cause abrasive wear and grooving on the belt. Without a conveyor skirting system, the dust particles become airborne and escape the system, which will lead to loss of material and create a health and safety hazard.
How does it work?
When the material being conveyed enters the top of the chute, some of it is converted into dust and small particles as it falls. This leads to unwelcome and costly product wastage and a health and safety issue for surrounding staff and the environment.
The conveyor skirting maintains an effective seal that prevents this dust and smaller particles from escaping the conveyor system.
Bulkier materials, such as unrefined mineral ores, can tend to break off into smaller particles and form dust. Conveyor operators carrying materials like these will definitely benefit from conveyor skirting
Finer materials, such as sand, grain, sugar, salt and wood chips, would also benefit from a conveyor seal to prevent material wastage.
Key conveyor skirting benefits
The primary reason for people to install conveyor skirting is to suppress dust. Dust poses a significant health issue as they can lead to respiratory issues and disease.
Fine dust can also cause irritation, burning and damage if it gets into the eyes. In areas where dust is poorly contained, lower visibility due to dust pollution can pose a serious safety hazard for employees.
Dust particles can be reduced through dust suppression systems, such as a spray bar, however a conveyor skirting seal is an effective preventative measure at the initial point.
Minimised material loss
In a perfect world, 100 per cent of materials conveyed would arrive at their destination point. However, due to a range of factors such as conveyor speed, incline angle, roller/idler type (flat or troughed), material consistency, environmental factors and more, materials are often spilled or blown off the belt.
Effective conveyor skirting can reduce the amount of material lost by preventing spillage and airborne material wastage.
Reduced conveyor belt damage
Without a conveyor skirting system, material can spill out and become lodged underneath the belt. Material caught between the belt and rollers will cause the belt to mistrack and become damaged.
Having a conveyor skirting system in place will ensure the risk of preventable belt damage caused by material build up is reduced.
Lowered cleaning costs
Dust pollution, material spillage and build-up require ongoing cleaning and maintenance to ensure the safe and smooth running of a conveyor system.
The lack of a conveyor skirting system will require more maintenance, which can be costly due to cleaning labour and system shutdowns.
Increased overall productivity
Conveyor skirting can increase a conveyor’s overall productivity. By suppressing dust, health and safety incidents will be minimised. And by preventing material loss, a higher product yield can be achieved.
Reduced conveyor belt damage and lowered cleaning costs requires less maintenance to prevent belt tracking issues and material build up – less downtime leads to increased cost benefit.
DYNA Engineering’s Flexiseal conveyor skirting has been designed to create an effective seal between the conveyor structure and the conveyor belt.
There are some unique features which make Flexiseal superior to conventional conveyor skirting. Flexiseal incorporates a dynamic design that, when compared to conventional conveyor skirting:
- Automatically compensates for varying belt movements, sustaining an effective seal
- Reduces further belt wear
- Automatically maintains correct pressure of the skirting rubber on the belt
- Does not require any adjustments
Flexiseal features explained:
A common issue with conventional skirt seal systems is that they generally fail to maintain an effective seal with the belt.
Flexiseal is a dynamic system that automatically compensates for loaded and unloaded conveyor belt profiles, both horizontal and vertical belt movement and belt mistracking, allowing it to maintain consistent contact with the conveyor belt and sustain an effective seal.
CAM LOC clamping
Flexiseal has been designed with a unique CAM LOC clamping system which features tempered steel spring clamps that totally eliminate all direct threaded fixings.
The CAM LOC system allows very easy seal replacement while securely clamping the sealing element. The low maintenance design uses a patented quick release clamping mechanism which incorporates a CAM to securely hold the rubber seal in place.
Automatic pressure control mechanism
Conveyor belt wear is a common issue that plagues conventional skirting systems. It is easy to overtighten conventional systems, which puts undue pressure on the conveyor belt and results in an increase in the wear of the conveyor belt.
Flexiseal incorporates an automatic pressure control mechanism, which maintains the correct pressure of the skirting rubber on the conveyor belt. This makes it impossible to overtighten the skirting.
Consistently maintaining the correct pressure, combined with its high surface area and evenly distributed contact area, greatly reduces conveyor belt wear within the sealing area.
Diagonal grooving channels
With its specially designed diagonal grooving channels, Flexiseal reduces stray material which can become trapped under the skirting system, and transports it back to the conveyor belt.
This helps reduce damage to the conveyor belt, as entrapped material can cause abrasive wear and grooving. This is a particular issue when conveying hard and abrasive material.
Quick release system
Flexiseal has been designed to be as low maintenance and simple as possible. On conventional skirting systems, fasteners are required to keep the skirting in place.
Fasteners frequently seize, cause material build-up, or rip and tear off. Our design uses a patented quick release clamping mechanism incorporating a CAM to securely hold the rubber seal in place.
When the seal eventually wears out, the quick release clamping system allows the new rubber strip to be inserted and clamped in position without any adjustments. There is no need for any adjustments to be done to the seal or system.
No adjustments required
On traditional skirting systems, frequent adjustments are required to keep the skirting rubber in proximity of the conveyor belt to maintain the seal. As the skirting rubber and conveyor belt rub together, a groove begins to wear into the belt.
Flexiseal does not require any adjustments, due to its dynamic design. The curved rubber sections maintain contact with the conveyor belt regardless of seal wear, belt sag, belt condition or belt mistracking.