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Buying A Belt? Ask The Right Questions

Published by , Editorial Assistant
World Coal,

Conveyor belting is one of the most important and expensive purchases made for a conveyor system.

Buying A Belt? Ask The Right Questions

It represents a considerable cost upfront, and a significant cost if it fails. Knowing this can create some anxiety when facing choices about which belt to purchase, and also where to purchase it from.

No one can be an expert at everything, and it can be very hard to realise when a level of knowledge or expertise has been surpassed, because, as the saying goes, “we don’t know what we don’t know.”

The good news is that there are lots of good options out there. The bad news is the opposite is also true. So, how should a quality belt be selected? And how can a decision of this kind be based on actual data?

The same but different

At this point, the proverbial elephant in the room needs to be acknowledged. There are domestically manufactured belts and there are imported belts. Of course, that is also true about cars, car tyres, cosmetics, computers, bath soap, etc.

Domestic and imported are relative words. Belts that are made in India, for example, are domestic when used in India. In which case, a belt from the US or Europe becomes the import. Since material handling is a need in every country, it stands to reason that with some effort, you can find high quality belting all around the world.

Is there a difference between a domestic and an imported belt? Undoubtedly, yes – not all belts are created equal. The same could be said when comparing domestic belts with each other, and when comparing imported belts with each other. There are different ratings and materials no matter where the belt comes from. Even the same company may offer a wide range of carcasses, plies, and covers, however a consumer should expect consistency. No matter who is making the belt, the quality should be the same or improving year after year. A user should also be able to expect that their belt is going to last a reasonable amount of time, provided it is properly installed, maintained, and used.

There are some very good manufacturers located all around the world. These companies pride themselves on making quality belting and many of them have accumulated decades of experience. Because of that, they have built and maintained a solid reputation.

Some companies have manufacturing locations in multiple countries. They then produce belt domestically for the country or region where it will be used. Other companies may have one or two locations that they manufacture in and then export to multiple countries. As a result, they need to meet quality standards for each country.

Thanks to virtual reality, in some cases it is now possible for belt buyers to tour a facility that is on the other side of the world. Seeing a company’s facility and processes can provide peace of mind, or at the very least it is an educational experience.

There are belt manufacturing companies where the owners are directly involved in day to day operations, and the business structure is such that they can pivot quickly to produce a new product. Some of these companies will work with a supplier to produce belt according to their specifications. This can help the customer get the best product with the best possible cost savings.

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