Solid Waste & Recycling

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Equipment Index: Conveyor Idlers

Conveyor idlers used for stability and troughing of the belt are traditionally made from a steel tube with welded steel end caps. A shaft is installed with two open bearings, followed by a sealing arr...


Conveyor idlers used for stability and troughing of the belt are traditionally made from a steel tube with welded steel end caps. A shaft is installed with two open bearings, followed by a sealing arrangement. In a highly corrosive area traditional idlers can fail prematurely due to contamination of the bearings, which can occur from the inner shell or the end cap.

Bearing failure can be quite expensive. Not only is it expensive to repair the equipment itself, but there’s the added factor of conveyor downtime. In response, manufacturers look to new and innovative materials and designs to improve protection of the bearing.

Polymer problem solver

Luff Industries Ltd. of Calgary, Alberta recently patented a sealing arrangement that incorporates a pressed polymer end cap instead of the traditional steel-welded end cap. The polymer is lightweight yet durable and proven to withstand corrosion. The non-weld manufacturing process also allows the metal to be dipped in paint, which results in prolonged corrosion protection inside and out.

Earth Tech Canada oversees the operation of Edmonton’s 400,000 sq. ft state-of-the-art composting facility, which recycles 70 per cent of Edmonton’s waste into reusable soil suitable for reclamation projects. Noah Ganes, production supervisor at Earth Tech, says the facility realizes the impacts to traditional idlers due to the corrosive environment of organic compounds of the compost and the constant humid conditions.

“The polymer end cap surrounding the bearing is one of the reasons we are switching out our idlers to the new Luff design,” says Mr. Ganes. “The polycap will ensure the up time of our conveyors.”

Written by Allan Metzger, marketing director with Luff Industries Ltd. in Calgary, Alberta. E-mail Allan at allan@luffindustries.com


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