Foundations™ Learning Center

Conveyor Belt Mistracking

Belt mistracking is one of the most common, troublesome, and misunderstood problems with conveyors.

There are many reasons a belt will mistrack. Understanding the root cause is key to effectively correcting the issue.


Every facility has belts that mistrack from time to time, and most react by immediately adjusting the head or tail pulley. A better action is to identify the reason why the belt is mistracking and correct that issue. If adjustments need to be made, they should be made to low-tension rollers. The amount of friction between the low-tension rollers is identified by the drive pulley and the belt. The head pulley and tail pulley should be aligned and square. Once a belt mistracks, structure and belt damage can occur along with material spillage


Tracking a belt should be a methodical process. If the belt is still mistracking after initial attempts to resolve the problem, one needs to determine and recognize all reasons causing the belt to mistrack and correct them. Identify the low-tension rollers which are found after the drive pulley and adjust the roller prior to where the belt starts to wander. Tracking devices can aid in belt alignment and can sometimes prevent the need for the rather cumbersome “trial and error” process of identifying the root causes.


Root Causes:
  • Structure and pulley misalignment
  • Incorrect splicing procedure
  • Improper belt storage
  • Over tensioning of the belt
Best Practices:
  • Keep material from building up on return rollers by cleaning belts properly
  • Be sure structure and terminal pulleys are square and aligned
  • Prevent off-center loading
  • Low-tension rollers should only be adjusted by ⅛”
  • Tracking devices should be spaced 50-70 feet apart and installed before the discharge point, before the belt enters the tail pulley, and before/after bend pulleys.


To properly prevent belt mistracking, the root causes of misalignment must be fully understood before they can be corrected.