Durability Testing of Idlers for Belt Conveyors

Author ORCID Identifier

Andrzej Pytlik 0000-0003-0899-0590


The main purpose of idlers is to provide the correct shaping, support and protection of a belt conveyor, reduce motion resistance as well as support for transported materials. The durability of idlers depends on numerous construction, engineering and operational factors. In practice, the idler bearings are often damaged due to wear and tear, jamming or seizure and the calculated durability does not comply with the actual lifetime of a bearing (Antoniak 2007). According to laboratory and operational practices, the quality of currently manufactured standard idlers is low and their average durability is approximately one year (Gladysiewicz, Orzeł, Noga 2012). Idlers do not meet the requirements specified in the PN-M-46606:2010 standard, even at the stage of their production, which is confirmed by tests carried out in the Department of Mechanical Devices Testing – the Central Mining Institute (GIG). Taking the above into consideration, testing stands which allow the testing of static and dynamic resistance of idlers' movements as well as stands for examing the idlers' water-tightness and dust-tightness in accordance with the PN-M-46606:2010 standard have been designed and constructed in the Department of Mechanical Devices Testing – the Central Mining Institute. The abovementioned testing stands were extended with additional functions, with regard to the above specified standard, facilitating the measurement of the temperature of bearing assemblies and to test the influence of rotational speed and idler loading in regards to durability. The tests were carried out on idlers with diameters of ϕ133 and ϕ 159 mm, with a bearing assembly equipped with a single-raw ballbearing. A newly developed type of hybrid seal (labyrinth-lip), registered in the Patent Office of the Republic of Poland under the number W.121582 on 17 December 2012 (Pytlik, Rabsztyn 2012), was used in the idler with the diameter of ϕ133. A typical labyrinth seal was used in the idler with the diameter of ϕ159. On the basis of the durability tests carried out on both of these idlers it can be concluded that the applied research methodology describes the test conditions of idlers, in a manner as close as possible to their actual operational conditions, which were subject to a variety of factors for a total time of 116 hours, they included: dust, water, loads and variable rotational speed. This methodology allowed us to determine, even at the stage of laboratory tests, the suitability of a particular idler to certain operational conditions.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.