The industrial revolution in the 20th century that incorporated both traditional production lines and mining companies were brought to the forefront by the belt conveyor. This simply system revolutionized how many different industries manufactured products and how mining companies processed their coal or ore as well.
Understanding the history of this particular invention means first knowing what it is and how it works. This is arguably one of the most overlooked benefits our industrialized world and yet it is still being used in many different businesses today in different types of capacities.
What is a Belt Conveyor?
The belt conveyor system is that of a conveyor belt that is being rotated by two or more pulleys or drums. The effect is that an endless loop is being created which allows for the movement of materials on the belt itself. In essence, the direction of the movement will dictate where the items will be travelling. The belt conveyor system is used in a myriad of industries and generally has two classifications, material and bulk material handling.
Material handling would be akin to moving boxes inside a manufacturing center so that they are transported to where they are needed. Bulk material handling is for transporting large amounts of materials such as agricultural or minerals that are being removed or relocated to another place. Most belts are crafted from rubber and PVC materials to provide long lasting strength
You can find these devices in production houses, mining companies and in everyday buildings as well. Elevators, escalators and moving sidewalks all use the same basic technology that was developed over a century ago. From grocery stores to ski lodges and more, you will find a moving belt that brings all types of items, objects and people to places they want to go.
The History of the Belt Conveyor
Although the principle of belt conveyor systems is very straightforward in nature, the actual use of these systems did not rise until the late 19th century. Thomas Robins starting in 1892 created a series of belt conveyors that was used for carrying ores, coal and other products that were mined. By the turn of the 20th Century, a belt conveyor manufacturer named Sandvik invented steel conveyor belts which help progress the design.
However, it was Richard Sutcliffe in 1905 who first invented belt conveyor systems for coal mines which marked a major turning point in the industry. Henry Ford followed that invention by utilizing conveyor belts for his Ford Motor Company in 1913 which revolutionized the auto industry.
By this time belt conveyors were being used around the world for a wide variety of industries which helped increase production levels. One of the most interesting advancements was the Turnover Conveyor Belt System created by B.F. Goodrich which put in a half-twist to the belt so that both sides could be evenly exposed and thus greatly extend the life of the belt.
All in all, belt conveyor manufacturer companies are creating new products all the time based on the original, classic design. For many who either produce or mine for products, this form of conveyance is the most important mechanical aspect of their production.
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