Mistracking can be caused by environmental or loading faults.
Belt mistracking can be caused by a number of factors, but all mistracking leads to subsequent problems if not identified and resolved.
Wander Due to Environmental Conditions
Strong winds on one side of the conveyor can provide enough force to move the belt off its center line or even blow the belt off the idlers. The solution is to install retaining rings known as “wine hoops” over the conveyor to keep the belt in place, provide a windbreak on the windward side, or enclose the entire conveyor.
Should rain, ice, or snow be blown onto one side of the conveyor, the result would be a difference in friction on the idlers. This difference may be enough to push lightly-loaded belts off the proper path. Even the difference created when the sun warms one side of a belt in the morning is enough to cause a belt to wander. Here again, the solution would be some form of conveyor cover.
In some cases, the conveyor’s design was not sufficiently strong to withstand lateral winds, and the entire conveyor will sway back and forth in high winds. The path of a belt can also be greatly influenced by a slight shift of the take-up pulley due to crosswind.
Wander from Loading Faults
Mistracking that arises from loading problems is generally easy to spot, because the belt will run in one position when loaded and another position when unloaded. This observation may be confused on older conveyors where years of adjustments performed to “fix” the belt’s path have altered the natural track of the belt.
The load’s center of gravity will seek the lowest point of the troughing idlers. When the belt is not center-loaded, the weight of the cargo pushes the belt off-center toward the conveyor’s more lightly-loaded side. This can be corrected by proper loading-chute arrangements, or through the use of deflectors, grids or chute bottoms that can be adjusted to correct the placement of the load on the belt.