IBT Industrial Insider’s Look: Fabricating and Servicing Conveyor Belts

The Industrial Rubber Products Group (IRPG) at IBT Industrial Solutions works with custom fabricating and servicing conveyor belts every day—offering both heavyweight and lightweight options—for all types of industries.  The orders roll in daily to the company’s Central Distribution Center in Merriam, Kansas from IBT branches across the Midwest and are processed by the shop crew, led by Production Manager Michael Gebauer.

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“It’s actually a very methodical and intricate process,” said Tim West, the Product Manager of the Industrial Rubber Products Group at IBT.  “It’s important that we provide a belt that works perfectly for the application.  We want customers to get the longest life possible out of their conveyor belt purchase.”

More: IBT Now Builds Top-Quality Power Turn Belts

11 Fabrication Specialists

Gebauer’s team of 11 specialists perform a wide variety of services on conveyor belts daily, including:

  • Custom cutting
  • Splicing
  • Installing fasteners
  • Punching bucket holes
  • Lagging pulleys
  • Attaching V-guides, cleats, vanner edges
  • Vulcanizing
  • Installing cleaners
  • Replacing worn belts

More: Check out IBT’s conveyor belting solutions

100+ Different Types of Belt

IBT carries over 100 different types of lightweight and heavyweight belts, which can be cut to almost any specification, Gebauer said.  Customers either provide specifications, or an IBT rep travels to the site to take exact measurements and recommend the proper belt for the job.

IBT is a heavy user of Flexco products, and goes through “buckets” of their fasteners, which they also sell directly to customers, Gebauer said.  Flexco is the primary producer of conveyor belt fasteners in the U.S., and also makes lagging, belt cleaners, and other accessories.  They have been an IBT partner for several years.  The belt cleaners literally scrape the belt clean with a sharp point that removes excess product and eliminates issues like buildup and housekeeping problems.

“Our focus is making conveyor systems more productive for the end user—whether that’s a food processing plant, or a rock quarry,” said Larry Tindle, the Territory Manager for Flexco.  “IBT is a major seller of conveyors and belting, and we’re happy that our products are an integral part of that success.”

More: Need an MSHA Conveyor Belt?

3-Step Process to Service a Belt

West said that it’s an easy, 3-step process for IBT to supply a conveyor belt—whether it’s providing a brand-new belt, or servicing an older one:

  • Step 1—Collecting measurements and specs.  Customers can either call their local branch with the size and style they need, or IBT dispatches a rep to the site to get exact specs.  Sometimes, West goes out personally to take measurements.  “People often call and say, ‘I need a 3-ply belt,’” West said.  “Then I ask, ‘But which one?’”
  • Step 2—Servicing the belt.  Gebauer’s shop crew at IBT then fabricates the belt or pulley, drawing from their stock of 100+ different styles of heavyweight and lightweight belting.  They can usually service the request immediately, working with the customer and IBT branch rep to get exactly the right measurements and fasteners for the customer’s use.
  • Step 3—Delivering the belt to the customer site.  The completed belt is then shipped back to the customer site.  In emergencies, IBT has even hand-delivered the completed belt to the customer site.  “In many cases, we will turn the order around the same day,” Gebauer said.

More: Hytrol’s ABEZ Conveyor Solves Build-Up of Line Pressure

Need help fabricating and servicing conveyor belts?

Call your local IBT branch to start the process.

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