Exploring the Versatility of Conveyor Belts: How to Use a Conveyor System

Jul 4, 2024

Conveyor belts are invaluable in seamlessly facilitating the movement of goods and materials in various workplaces. From expansive warehouses to bustling e-commerce centres, conveyor systems enhance productivity and streamline operations.

But what makes conveyor belts so versatile, and how can employees effectively utilise a conveyor system in their facility?

In this blog, we will offer insights and practical tips on maximising the potential of conveyor belt systems. So, whether you want to improve efficiency in your current setup or consider a new installation, join us as we explore the indispensable role of conveyor systems.

In this guide

How Do Conveyor Belts Work?

A conveyor belt system consists of two or more pulleys (called drums) with an endless loop of belts that rotate them around, creating a pull effect for the goods it is transporting. 

One of the pulleys is powered to move the belt along, pulling the product forward until it reaches its destination. If heavy objects are transported over a long distance within a facility, rollers on the side may be added for extra support.

Conveyor Belt Features

A conveyor belt comprises several components that work together to move materials smoothly from one place to another. A standard conveyor belt system usually consists of the following features:

Conveyor Belt

The belt is the main component of a system that moves products from one place to another. It is usually made from rubber, fabric, or metal, depending on the load it will carry and the environment in which it is located. The belt is a continuous loop that forms the carrying surface of the system.


Pulleys drive and control the movement of the conveyor belt. They tend to be based at each end of a conveyor system, where a belt wraps around the pulleys. These pulleys help to guide and support the belt as it moves along the conveyor. These pulleys can be powered or unpowered depending on the type of conveyor most suitable for you.


Rollers are designed to facilitate and support the movement of products along the conveyor belt. They tend to be mounted on a frame to create a series of rolling points. This supports the load, especially if it is heavy or needs to travel far, and allows it to move smoothly across the conveyor. Similarly to pulleys, rollers can be powered or unpowered.


Motors power the conveyor system and control its speed. They typically run on electric power and need electrical service annually to ensure proper operation. Some conveyor systems have multiple motors for greater efficiency and precision in the movement of the belt.


Idlers are spherical or cylindrical parts that support the weight of a conveyor belt and its load. Idlers are usually installed where the belt changes direction or runs over a pulley. Their primary purpose is to reduce friction and prevent excessive wear on the belt.


The sensors are electronic devices used to detect and monitor the movement of products on a belt. They provide real-time feedback on the position and orientation of products on the belt, allowing for precise control and automation of the system.


Chains help transfer material or products along the system. They consist of interconnecting links made of plastic or metal and are designed to move seamlessly around pulleys. 

Control systems

Finally, control systems, such as speed and direction, manage and operate the conveyor system. They typically feature a central control system, a programmable logic controller (PLC), and software that monitors and adapts the system’s performance.

How to Use a Conveyor System

Using a conveyor belt system appropriately involves understanding its components, following safety protocols, and performing regular maintenance. Follow our step-by-step guide to using a conveyor system effectively:


  • Before using the conveyor system, inspect it for any signs of damage or wear. Ensure all components, such as the belt, pulleys, and rollers, are in good condition. 
  • Belt tension and alignment must be checked as they are crucial for a smooth operation. Adjust the belt tension if necessary and ensure the belt is aligned with pulleys and rollers.
  • Remove any debris from the conveyor belt and other parts to prevent jams and ensure a smooth operation.

Loading the Conveyor

  • Place items evenly on the conveyor belt to maintain the centre of gravity, ensuring the belt stays aligned and minimises excessive wear and tear. 
  • Ensure the transported items are within the belt’s weight capacity and size limitations. Placing several loads on the belt is safer than one large load.

Operating the System

  • Once you are happy with the preparation of the conveyor belt, you can use the control system to begin the manufacturer’s recommended start-up procedure.
  • It is essential to continuously monitor the conveyor during operation and watch for signs of malfunctions so that you can immediately resolve any problems, such as belt slippage.

Safety Measures

  • Familiarise yourself with the emergency procedures, stop buttons, and safety switches in case you need to use them if anything goes wrong.
  • Ensure that every employee with access to the conveyor has received adequate training to operate the system safely.

Unloading the Conveyor

  • Once your products have reached their destination, it is time to unload them. Ensure that the conveyor is unloaded slowly and carefully, and control the unloading process to prevent any sudden drops or spills that could damage the goods or the conveyor.

Regular Service and Maintenance

  • Routine inspections should be scheduled to assess for signs of wear and tear or identify any small system functioning issues before they become serious problems. 
  • The conveyor system should be serviced and maintained to extend its lifespan and boost cost-efficiency. Any damaged parts should be promptly replaced to prevent breakdowns, which will impact the facility’s productivity.

Versatile Applications of a Conveyor System

Conveyor systems are used in many industries, including air travel, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, mining, food processing, and e-commerce. Here are a few examples of typical applications of conveyor systems.


At an airport, a conveyor belt efficiently transports, sorts, loads, and unloads passengers’ luggage. The baggage carousel is a practical use of a conveyor belt system that most people will use in their lifetime. 

The conveyor belt works by continuously passing through the loading area, where additional luggage is placed on the conveyor and circulated back into the baggage reclaim area for smooth and efficient delivery.

Food Processing

Conveyor systems enable food processing facilities to increase productivity and turnover of food products. Food items can be spread, stamped, rolled, glazed, sliced, and powdered on a conveyor belt without manual labour.

This process saves food processing facilities time and resources by sequentially using a conveyor belt to prepare a product. With conveyor belts, foods move from start to finish in mass quantities while retaining a uniformly high quality.

Pharmaceutical Industry

Within the pharmaceutical industry, conveyor belt systems can transport, load, and unload cardboard boxes or palettes full of medical supplies that have been packaged and ready for distribution. 

Manufacturing & Mining

Large amounts of resources must be transported between areas quickly and efficiently in the manufacturing and mining industries. These materials sometimes must be transported through tunnels, along roads, and up steep slopes, and this can be achieved through a conveyor belt. Durable belt materials and sturdy rollers must be used for it to work effectively.

Uses of Conveyor Systems FAQs

How do you control a conveyor belt?

Most conveyor belts are part of an automated system controlled by a programmable logic controller (PLC). The PLC manages the conveyor’s operations, from starting and stopping the belt to controlling the speed and direction of its movement.

Where should you stand when working on a conveyor belt?

Ensure that workers are standing to the site of the conveyor belt so they are never at risk of being hit by products moving down it. It is crucial that employees do not climb on a conveyor belt, and those operating the system must have a good view of the belt at all times in case of emergencies.

What are the types of conveyor systems?

There are a range of conveyor systems designed to optimise material handling. At CSL, we offer belt and roller conveyor systems, spiral conveyors, and pallet conveyors that maximise productivity and reduce downtime in industries ranging from e-commerce to food processing. 

Why You Need a Conveyor System from CSL

At Conveyor Systems Limited, we can provide your facility with forward-thinking conveyor and automation systems. Our team is dedicated to providing effective, tailored solutions to streamline your material handling process.

We offer a range of modern, efficient, and custom-made conveyor systems to optimise your operations. Our goal is to ensure that your facility stands out in the competitive market.

From initial consultation and design to maintenance and servicing, we will ensure you are satisfied with your automation solution. 

Contact us today, and we will gladly assist you in choosing the conveyor system that fits your needs.

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