Belt tracking solution contributes to steady production

By |  February 12, 2018

At its New Holland, Ohio, limestone operation, Melvin Stone incorporated Navigator return trainers, which serve as an idler roll with bearings in the center, according to Superior Industries. The technology continuously guides the belt to run true, according to Superior. Photos by Kevin Yanik

Conveyors are essential to all operations.

They serve as links between a primary crusher, secondary crushers and stockpiles – and a number of pieces of equipment in between that are vital to production.
Failures, tears, misalignments and other issues with conveyors can bring production to a halt for hours that are precious to production. Because of this, upkeep and issue prevention should be a top priority at all operations.

Still, effectively managing this area is not necessarily the easiest task to accomplish.

Belt tracking presents one of the largest headaches related to conveyors because of the constant maintenance and upkeep required. If a belt is running off-center, material will spill and the potential for a rip or tear on the belt increases.

Melvin Stone Co., which operates a site in New Holland, Ohio, is among the producers who’ve experienced these headaches. The New Holland operation, however, took a proactive approach to prevent belt tracking by strategically installing trainers along its conveyor system.

Specifically, Melvin Stone installed a series of Navigator return trainers from Superior Industries along the belt undercarriage. The Navigator continuously steers belts to run on center, and there is no framework for mud to build on. The design prevents lockups.

Photo by Kevin Yanik

Melvin Stone has strategically positioned 10 Navigator return trainers along the entire conveying system at an operation in New Holland, Ohio.

According to Butch Brammer, the superintendent at Melvin Stone’s New Holland site, the Navigator is helping to keep production flowing in wet conditions with little daily upkeep. Brammer is currently running 10 Navigators on longer overland belts. The belts are 36 in. wide., and Navigators are positioned every 200 or 300 ft.

On a rainy day in New Holland, Ohio, Brammer showed P&Q other old-style trainers that do a good job of training the belt. But Brammer also pointed out a major downside to these: The growing piles of mud on the framework of these trainers require constant observation. Generally, someone is required to beat mud off of them to prevent the trainer from locking up.

“Once it locks itself up, you’re done,” Brammer says. “So you go along and beat them out with a hammer and wash them out with a hose just to get them turning again.”

On rainy days, Brammer could go through this ordeal with the old-style trainers two or three times a day. When this happens, the trainers can lock up and be relegated to serving as a belt plow or wiper.

“These [Navigators] are less labor [intensive],” Brammer says. “I don’t have to worry about them locking up.”

Because the Navigator has no framework underneath and the shaft is inside the casing, the Navigator acts like a regular return roller that is also always training the belt back to center. The Navigator helps to keep production moving in New Holland, and Melvin Stone has applied the technology to at least one other company site.


Photo by Kevin Yanik

Stone Products’ Mark Johnson, left, with Melvin Stone’s Jim Worley. Stone Products is a Superior Industries dealer, offering solutions like the Navigator return trainer.

Melvin Stone’s New Holland operation

With multiple locations in Ohio, Melvin Stone Co. operates a limestone plant in New Holland where it produces a variety of products, including sand, 57s, 304s and 411s. The New Holland operation produces between 400,000 and 500,000 tpy.

To keep up with demand, Superintendent Butch Brammer says the operation adds between 250 and 300 ft. of conveyor every year to accommodate benches that stretch further away from the plant. Melvin Stone is a subsidiary of The Jurgensen Companies.

Joe McCarthy

About the Author:

Joe McCarthy is an Associate Editor of Pit and Quarry Magazine. You can contact him at jmccarthy@northcoastmedia.net and at 216-363-7930.

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