Flat-Flex® Conveyor Belt

The proven conveyor belt technology

Flat-Flex® belts have over 85 years of trusted performance in the industry. With up to 86% open surface area, Flat-Flex® belts promote maximum flow through and are the proven solution for major processors. Flat-Flex® USDA approved design and clean in place capability make it even easier to keep your line hygienic, and with many wire diameters and pitches to choose from, you'll be able to find the right belt for your product.

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Flat-Flex® conveyor beltsThe unique features of Flat-Flex® conveyor belts offer numerous benefits that increase productivity, help contain costs and improve your overall product quality, including:
 
  • Large open area - up to 86%
  • Small transfers
  • Non-slip positive drive
  • Very low belt mass for improved operating efficiency
  • Accurate tracking
  • Hygienic design, Easy to clean, clean-in-place capability
  • USDA approved
  • C-CureEdge™ available on a range of selected specifications
Whatever your needs, Wire Belt Company’s Technical Sales Engineers will work with you to determine the best Flat-Flex® belt configuration to accommodate your product, process, application and maintenance requirements.

If you require a unique belt or conveyor to deliver the best conveyor performance, we will not hesitate to design and deliver a totally customised solution for your application.  Our aim is your complete satisfaction with the performance of our products.  We are confident we can provide the right belt, sprockets and other components you need.

Typical Applications:

  • Transport
  • Cooking
  • Heating
  • Drying
  • Cooling
  • Coating
  • Drainage
  • Freezing
  • Enrobing
  • Frying
  • Baking
  • Dough Rolling
  • Battering
  • Breading
  • Shrink Wrapping
  • Sterilisation
  • Soldering
  • Architectural Mesh
  • Shuttling
  • Turning
  • Side Shifting
  • Collating
  • Crumbing
  • Searing
  • Glazing
  • Preparation
  • Sieving
 

Standard Belt Data

Flat-Flex® is available in a wide range of wire diameters & pitches. The following table gives a broad indication of availability:
 
Wire Dia. Range Pitch Range
0.9mm - 1.27mm 4.0mm - 12.7mm
1.4mm – 1.6mm 5.5mm – 15.0mm
1.8mm – 2.8mm 8.0mm – 20.32mm
3.4mm – 4.0mm 19.05mm – 25.0mm

Note:  Due to pitch to wire dia. combination ratios not all pitches are available in the corresponding wire diameters stated.

The below data is an extract from our full range of Flat-Flex® belting.

Pitch and Wire Diameter (mm) Average weight (kg/m²) Max belt tension per space (N) Minimum transfer roller outside diameter (mm) Minimum recommended reverse bend diameter (mm)* Typical open area (%) Edge Availability
Single Loop Edge (SLE) Double Loop Edge (DLE) C-Cure Edge (SLE CC)
4.24 x 0.90 1.3 13.4 12 43 77  
4.30 x 1.27 2.6 44.5 12 43 67    
5.5 x 1.0 1.35 19.6 12 55 79  
5.5 x 1.27 2.2 44.5 12 55 73  
5.6 x 1.0 1.33 19.6 12 56 79.5  
5.64 x 0.90 1.0 13.4 12 57 82  
6.0 x 1.27 1.9 44.5 16 60 76  
6.35 x 1.27 2.0 44.5 16 64 77  
6.40 x 1.40 2.7 55 20 64 76  
7.26 x 1.27 1.6 44.5 16 73 80
7.26 x 1.60 2.5 66.7 19 73 75  
9.60 x 2.08 3.5 97.8 25 96 75  
12.0 x 1.83 2.3 80.0 29 120 81    
12.7 x 1.83 2.2 80.0 29 127 82  
12.7 x 2.35 3.6 133.4 38 127 78  
12.7 x 2.8 5.1 191.3 38 127 72  
20.32 x 2.35 2.6 133.4 38 203 85    

Wire Belt Company produces in excess of 100 pitch & wire diameter specifications.  If you do not locate your specification in the table above then please consult with Customer Services.

Available in widths ranging from 28mm to 4,500mm

*Check with our Technical Sales Engineers if the belt requires a smaller reverse bend diameter.

Materials available;

Flat-Flex® belts are available in a wide variety of materials; the standard is 1.4310 (302) stainless steel. Other materials available include: 1.4404 (316L) stainless steel, various carbon steels, and specialist materials suitable for high temperature applications.
Flat-Flex® can be supplied with a PTFE-coating for applications requiring a non-stick surface. High friction finishes are also available.

Edge loop types:

C-Cure Edge Loop Double Loop Edge Single Loop Edge
C-Cure-Edge™ Double Loop Edge (DLE) Single Loop Edge (SLE)
Check the reference chart above for edge availability per mesh

C-CureEdge™ Single Loop Edge technology eliminates the possibility of the belt edge catching and tangling. They are an available option for a selected range of Flat-Flex® belts.  See above for availability listing. Click here to view further details.

Double Loop Edges (also referred to as “Gear Wheel Edge”) can also be supplied to suit existing enrober belts.

Single Loop Edges are the most common belt edge finish and are a default standard for 1.27mm wire diameters and above.
  

Flat-Flex® Drive Components

Sprockets and Blanks

When choosing the most appropriate sprocket material for your application, it is important to look at the conditions under which the belt will operate. Conditions such as abrasion, corrosion, high/low temperature variations, surrounding temperature, type of process performed, etc. all have an impact on sprocket selection.

Wire Belt Company offer a comprehensive range of standard sprockets and can also manufacture to order sprockets for new or replacement applications to suit any specified Flat-Flex® belt. 

View our list of standard metric sprockets

View our list of standard imperial sprockets

Please contact Wire Belt Technical Sales Engineers for information of non standard sprockets.

Sprocket Material:

Available material types include:

Type 1.4305 (303) stainless steel - which is highly recommended for all applications, especially in food processing industries as it is FDA approved for direct contact with food.

POM (PolyOxyMethylene) plastic, otherwise known as Acetal - usually preferred for light loads, where the operating temperature range is limited to between -20°C to +80°C, and is also FDA approved for food processing applications.

Causes and Prevention of Black Residue Build-Up on Belting 

Several causes of black residue build-up on Flat-Flex have been identified and we recommend the following approaches to either reduce and/or eliminate this residue.

Identified Causes 

Wear

Black residue is the result of belt wear from the rubbing action between the belt joints, belt supports, sprockets, and other conveyor components.  Major contributors to belt wear are excessive tension and/or speed.  There should only be sufficient tension applied to keep the belt smoothly engaged on the drive sprockets. 

Cleaning Products 

Failure to thoroughly wash and clean belts after use can be a cause of black residue. Caustic cleaners can also leave a residue, which causes a blackening effect on the belt if not thoroughly rinsed off.  Lab studies of many cases show virtually all components of black residue to be food ingredients, chlorine or other cleaning chemicals, and some stainless steel. Chlorine is corrosive to stainless steel, which may accelerate wear rate if not rinsed thoroughly.  

Fats and Salts

When rubbed between metal surfaces, fats and salt from meat and poultry products can blacken and migrate along the belt strands.

Non-rotating Grooved End Rolls and Solid Nose Bars without Grooves

The high tensile strength stainless steel wire used in Flat-Flex belting is harder than most bar stock materials and will wear slots in the non-rotating groove end rolls and solid nose bars without grooves.  This worn material will transfer to both the belt and product, as well as reduce belt life. 

Poor Quality Wear Strips

Roughly finished wear strips are abrasive and will transfer black residue to the belt.  Wire Belt Company recommends that all metal support strips be made from round stock.  Roughly finished plastic support strips will ‘hold’ the black residue as it forms and becomes embedded in the porous or sawn plastic strips, thereby increasing belt wear by acting as an abrasive. 

Friction

As noted previously, some of the black residue formed is from normal belt wear of type 302 stainless steel metal strands rubbing against each other.  This is the most noticeable when the belt is new and ‘breaking in’, however, this is significantly reduced after a few days of operation. 
 

Prevention of Black Residue 

Reducing Belt Speed and/or Loading

Minimising conveyor belt speeds reduces wear and interaction of food products with the belt as well as the conveyor components.  In many instances, this solution can completely eliminate the problem because the slower the speed, the less tension needs to be applied to the belt.

Reducing Friction in the Belt Circuit

If stainless steel snub rolls, grooved end rolls, and tracking rolls must be used due to process requirements, all rolls should be made as large as possible and be able to rotate freely to reduce friction in the belt circuit.
 
Large diameter sprockets pull the belt more evenly with smoother hinging action, reducing rubbing of the belt mesh at its hinge points and the sprocket teeth, thus reducing the friction wear. 

Improve Natural Lubrication of Conveyor Components

When the processes are dry, such as conveying frozen or baked products, and natural lubrication of the conveyor components from the product or process is minimal, Wire Belt Company recommends plastic drive sprockets, end rolls, and belt support strips.  Both Delrin® (or equivalent), or UHMW polyethylene plastics provide smooth and relatively strong alternatives to steel components and are reliable from 0° to 82°C.  Round or oval extruded UHMW support strips are most suited to keep blackening to a minimum.
 
In many processes, the belt is subjected to natural lubrication from cooking oil, the product itself, or other process coatings.  This form of lubrication helps reduce friction from occurring on the belt, wear strips, and drive components to a point that any blackening problem is eliminated or unobjectionable. 

Creating Awareness of Rinsing Requirements

Sanitation crews should be made aware that all belts, sprockets, end rolls, nose bars and support strips must be thoroughly rinsed of all product residue and cleaning products. 

Continuous Cleaning Systems

Many conveyor systems use clean-in-place, wash and brush systems to continuously keep the belt free of any type of product or residue build-up on the belt. 

Correct Belt Selection

Flat-Flex belts are available in a variety of mesh sizes and wire diameters.  Selection of the correct mesh and wire size is important with respect to the application’s belt speed, length of the conveyor, size, weight and distribution of the load.  Always select the largest mesh size and wire diameter available consistent with the application.   Wire Belt Company’s Technical Sales department will provide help in belt and sprocket selection.  With proper belt selection, a sound conveyor design and careful maintenance, a conveying system can be assured to be virtually free of an accumulation of black residue attributed to the belt.  

Other Notes 

Technical Support

If you require further information regarding black residue or metal belting in general, please call our Technical Sales Engineers on +44 (0) 1795 421771 or e-mail sales@wirebelt.co.uk
 
Wire Belt Company offers personal field and technical assistance to all Flat-Flex wire belt users.
 

A Note about Flat-Flex Belts  

Flat-Flex belts are made of the finest quality, high tensile strength, highly polished type 302 stainless steel.  To date, Wire Belt Company has found no better material which balances belt life, formability, blackening, and cost than type 302 stainless steel.
 
The belt’s open construction and unique hinging design provides for the most easily cleaned open mesh available.   Since 1973 the US Department of Agriculture fully accepted Flat-Flex for use in federally inspected meat and poultry plants.
 
For over 60 years, Flat-flex has been successfully used in food plants around the world.

Make Flat-Flex® endless – with joining-tubes

Application – To join a new belt or to repair a damaged belt.
 
Please note: Before undertaking any other method of belt joining, including the tube method described here, it is important that a risk assessment is undertaken and that all applicable regulations are complied with.
 
Tools you will need:
  • Safety glasses
  • Needle nose and / or Flat end pliers
  • Wire straightener (optional)
  • Cutting pliers

For full downloadable joining instructions click here

To see our range of pliers and wire straightener tool click here

Where should the space wire be cut?
The first cut is made at one third of the length of the space, exclusively in those spaces that are not driven – the odd numbered spaces.
CAREFUL: The cut must ALWAYS be set so that the joining-tube can be pulled completely over the longer part of the cut wire section.

 
Notes:
• For added security of the tube you can crimp the tube twice on each side of the cut wire position.  Also, with some care, you can gently squeeze the tube at the cut wire position to prevent any sideways movement of the tube.  Take care not to cut through the tube.
• For wider belts it may be necessary to tie the two ends of the belt together with cable ties – removing them as you work across the belt.

JOINING TUBES are available from Wire Belt Company to suit all belt wire diameters.  Please contact our Customer Service Team.
 

Joining a Flat-Flex® single loop edge using full strand splicing method

Tools you will need:
  • Safety glasses
  • Flat end pliers
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Cable ties/soft wire/string (optional)
  • Cutting pliers
  • Wire straightener (optional)
  • Necessary tools for conveyor belt take up adjuster

To see our range of pliers and wire straightener tool click here



Step 1 – Begin Joining In The Centre

  • Slacken any belt take up adjuster to allow the maximum take up capability when belt is fitted
  • If possible move the two ends of the belt to be spliced to the discharge end of the conveyor unit.  This may help to hold the belt in position whilst splicing.
  • Confirm that the edge loops are curving back away from the direction of belt travel (as shown in Diagram A). If not, check to be sure that the belt is not threaded backwards on the conveyor.
  • Remove a strand (joining strand) from one end of the belt, or spare belt roll and lay the strand down between the two belt edges and check to see that the edge loops are going in the same direction as the belt’s edge loops. (The strand must also be “right side up” for it to lay flat. You will know immediately if you have installed the joining strand “wrong side up” and will have to start over.)
  • If necessary you may want to attached the two ends of the belt together, to maintain stability, using cable ties, soft wire or string in the outside spaces (see note 3 below).
  • FLEX the strand from each side enough to INSERT the ends into the two spaces next to the centre space (Spaces B and D in Diagram A)
  • INSERT the strand ends up through the centre space of the opposite near side edge (Space 3 in Diagram B)
  • Pull the ends of the strand through until the centre space “locks” in place (You should be pulling the strands toward you)
  • Use pliers or the Wire Belt wire straightening tool to STRAIGHTEN the wire in the centre space (Once the centre is connected, you may remove the ties holding the belt edges together)



Step 2 – Weave Strand To One Side

  • FLEX or BEND in the centre of the next space and INSERT it down through and around the Z-bend in this space on the belt end wire closest to you (Space 5 on Diagram C). Always try to avoid bending the wire at the Z-bend!
  • BEND the wire toward the centre and INSERT up through and around the Z-bend next to the centre space (Space D on Diagram D)
  • Pull the strand wire through the mesh and STRAIGHTEN it with your pliers or wire straightener.  TIP: Pull the strand in the direction that it goes through the Z-bend links.
  • Repeat these three moves until you reach the side edge of the belt
  • Using your pliers, connect the join strand’s edge loop to the belt’s edge loop on the near edge by hooking the lug edge up through space 5
  • Connect the edge loop on the far edge of the main belt to the strand’s edge loop by gently flexing the outer space strand up through the connected join strand using your flat nose or needle nose pliers.  To finish according to diagram C
  • STRAIGHTEN the strand with your pliers




Step 3 – Weave Strand To The Other Side

  • Repeat the steps in 2 above, going in the opposite direction, weaving to the other side edge of the belt (Diagrams C through G)
  • If you are installing a new belt, you are finished joining

Step 4 – Check Drive Shaft Sprocket Alignment

  • There should be a 3-5mm clearance between all sprockets (and/or blanks) and the Z-bends next to them
  • Check alignment of sprocket teeth with a straight edge (only necessary if the sprockets are not keyed to the Drive Shaft)
  • Drive shaft set up should be according to the 'Standard Arrangement'.

Step 5 – Check Entire Belt Circuit

  • Z-bends should NOT come in contact with ANY conveyor component (including end rolls, wear strips, transfer support rails or nose bars, etc.)
  • Adjust as needed

Step 6 – Adjust Tension

  • Flat-Flex® is a low tension belt. Use minimal tension… only enough so that drive sprockets properly engage the belt
  • Run conveyor and check to be sure it runs smoothly
  • Note: Too much tension will cause premature belt failure!
 
IMPORTANT NOTES:
  1. Avoid permanent deformation of the 'Z' form links when splicing.  To assist it may be necessary to place a bend in the wire space adjacent to the space being woven; however you must ensure that this wire bend is straightened before continuing the splicing operation.  Re-straightening of wires at this stage or at the end of splicing can be achieved using the flat end or needle nose pliers or wire straightener.
  2. Avoid any bending of the join strand wire in their vertical plane.  Any necessary bending of the wire strand should take place in the horizontal plane.
  3. For wider belts it may be necessary to secure the 2 ends together at more regular intervals across the belt which can be removed as the strand is woven towards the outside edge.


 
Please note: Before undertaking any other method of belt joining, including the tube method described here, it is important that a risk assessment is undertaken and that all applicable regulations are complied with.
 

Joining a Flat-Flex® double loop edge (DLE) belt using full strand splicing method

Tools you will need:
  • Safety glasses
  • Flat end pliers
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Cable ties/soft wire/string (optional)
  • Cutting pliers
  • Wire straightener (optional)
  • Necessary tools for conveyor belt take up adjuster

To see our range of pliers and wire straightener tool click here

The format for weaving of the join strand is as per the single loop edge instructions apart from the joining of the edge assembly.  Click here for SLE joining instructions.  See diagrams A - E.



DIAGRAM A

  • At the last space before the double loop edge, gently bend the splicing strand in the centre of the last space.
  • Insert the end of the splicing strand into the double loop edge (small space) on the near side. You will need to rotate the wire to feed the DLE through the space.
NOTE: If you have difficulty with this process you may unhook the main belt near edge lug first and then re-connect this at the final stage of the process.



DIAGRAM B

  • Insert needle nose pliers from underneath, grab the centre of DLE on strand and pull up into space.
  • Straighten initial bend


DIAGRAM C

  • Flex the belt by pushing down in centre of last row of spaces on the near edge.
  • Rotate splicing strand so you can push the end up from underneath the last space on far edge.
  • Hook DLE up over last large space Z-bend.
  • Straighten any distortion to this connected Z-bend using needle nose pliers or the 'Eddie' wire straightener.


DIAGRAM D

  • Connect the splice strand edge hook to the near side loop edge using pliers hooking up under the near edge strand.


DIAGRAM E

  • Connect the far side loop edge by hooking it into the splice strand using pliers.
  • Connect the opposite edge of the belt in the same manner, only in mirror image.
  • Straighten any bends in wire strands.
IMPORTANT NOTES:
  1. Avoid permanent deformation of the 'Z' form links when splicing.  To assist it may be necessary to place a bend in the wire space adjacent to the space being woven; however you must ensure that this wire bend is straightened before continuing  the splicing operation.  Re-straightening of wires at this stage or at the end of splicing can be achieved using the flat end or needle nose pliers or wire straightener.
  2. Avoid any bending of the join strand wire in the vertical plane.  Any necessary bending of the wire strand should take place in the horizontal plane.

12 Potential Causes of Downtime Related to Conveyor Belting


By their very nature, all conveyor belts have a finite life, including metal belts. However, it is a fact that the majority of conveyor belts do not wear out or “use up” their life. Most belts, if they actually do fail during use in a production environment, fail because of factors not related to strength, belt life, or robustness of the belt. They usually fail for one or more of the reasons outlined below. These failures result in critical downtime, which equates to lost opportunity, lost production and lost profits. We have listed 12 of the most common issues that have been found to be the culprit in conveyor and/or belting breakdown situations. They are listed in reverse order with number 12 being the least common, and number 1 being the most common.

12. No spare belt – A spare belt should always be available close to the point of use in order to be prepared for the unexpected.  It is a false economy not to carry spare belting or to make arrangements for rapid availability.  The Wire Belt Company has a number of solutions to the costly cause of downtime.

11. Installing the belt “backwards” – The single or double loop edges on the belt should curve back and away from the direction of belt travel.  If the belt is installed backwards, the loops can catch (for example clothing) and cause accidents.

10. Belt installed and run "upside down” - There is a smooth ("top") side to Flat-Flex belts and an "underside" where the Z-bends form a distinct "ridge". The smooth side should always be "up" for the belt to run properly. 

9. Using the wrong mesh belt for the current application - Products and processes change over the years. The conveyor and belt that were designed for a specific product and process several years ago may no longer be appropriate or heavy duty enough for the demands of the current application. The impact of product loading and belt speed on belt life needs to be re-evaluated on an on-going basis. 

8. Drive sprockets out of alignment - The drive sprocket teeth must be perfectly aligned so that they all pull together smoothly to avoid "stress overload" on individual wire strands. (Using a "Keyed" drive shaft eliminates the need to manually align the sprocket teeth.) 

7.  Installing the wrong drive sprockets - Substituting other commercially available spur gears and sprockets will cause belt climbing and snapping. Only Flat-Flex sprockets purchased from Wire Belt Company are specifically designed to fit and pull the belt properly.

6. Transfer or reverse bend radii too small - This causes unnecessary stress in the Z-bends.

5. Worn out or damaged drive components - Worn drive sprockets, idler sprockets, or blanks, can cause a belt to skip, drift side to side or slip on a conveyor circuit. All of these conditions will cause either premature wear or induce work hardening in the individual wire strands leading to broken wires and downtime. 

4. Improper clearance between belt joints (“Z-bends”) and drive sprockets, blanks, grooved end rollers and/or wear strip.  The Z-bends should never make contact with any conveyor component. A minimum 5mm clearance is required.  There also needs to be sufficient clearance between the Z-bends on the underside of the belt and the bottom of the grooves in the transfer rollers. The belt joints on the underside of the belt running over any portion of the wear strips will produce wear and fatigue failure.

NOTE – Hygiene and maintenance teams should be properly trained to ensure that clearances are still in place after cleaning or servicing equipment.

3. Too much tension on the belt - Flat-Flex is a low-tension system. You only need to use enough tension to engage the drive sprockets correctly. (Too much tension literally pulls the belt apart) 

2. Accidents to the conveyor machinery and belt - Accidents can and should be minimised, through establishment of standardised maintenance checklists and proper training of maintenance personnel.

1. Poor or incomplete splicing - Getting the splice right is not only difficult but time consuming. Many splices are made in haste; often they're put together "on-the-fly" immediately following a breakdown. The unfortunate result is that nearly 90% of breakages during production occur at the splice. 

12-Potential-Causes-of-Downtime

Inspection and Installation Checklist

Yes

 

No

 Before you begin joining make sure:

     1. The power to conveyor is disconnected
     2. Wear safety glasses
     3. Correct replacement belt is selected
     4. Correct tools are on hand
     5. All tensioning mechanisms are released
     6. Belt is threaded onto conveyor right (smooth) side up
     7. Loop edges curve back away from direction of belt travel
     8. Belt edges are tied together with wire, twine, or a plastic wire tie

Yes

No

 After joining/installation is completed:

     9. Check drive sprocket alignment for 3 to 5mm clearance with Z-bends (belt joints)
     10. Check sprocket teeth alignment (Not needed if shaft is "keyed")
     11. Check position of wear strips and adjust if making contact with Z-bends (belt joints)
     12. Check belt tracking in grooved end rolls and transfer rollers
     13. Re-tighten/adjust tension
     14. Test tracking by running belt without product; adjust belt
     15. Check for proper disposal of old wire and all wire pieces
     16. Return tools to proper storage location

Yes

No

Conveyor safety check:

     17. Are the operating instructions clearly listed and posted?
     18. Are they safety guards adequate to prevent accident and injury?
     19. Are the limit switches and alarms working?
     20. Do the personnel know the location of the emergency stop/control switches? 

Yes

No

 Routine maintenance inspection and evaluation:

     21. Check belt surface for bent or broken wire strands; straighten or repair immediately
     22. Check joining clips (if used) for wear/damage
     23. Check all conveyor components for excessive wear (drive sprockets, blanks, wear strips, etc.) and replace if needed
     24. Check sprocket alignment for 3 to 5mm clearance
     25. Check sprocket teeth alignment (Not needed if shaft is "keyed")
     26. Check position of wear strips and adjust if making contact with Z-bends (belt joints)
     27. Check belt tracking in grooved end rolls and transfer rollers
     28. Check tension; adjust tension mechanisms as necessary
     29. Check levelness of conveyor frame
     30. Test tracking by running belt slowly without product

Installing joining clips

Splice clips come in two varieties: single space and 3-space clips. The 3-space clip is obviously stronger because its centre space is woven into the belt as in the full strand splice method. These two types of clips should be used together, whenever possible to create a stronger splice and to help minimize the spacing gaps in the belt. (For example, a 7-space belt could be spliced using two 3-space clips... whereas, a 9-space belt would use 1 single and two 3-space clips. See How Many Clips.)

 
IMPORTANT NOTES:
Two different end loops from adjacent clips cannot be attached to the same Z-bend. Only one splice clip end loop per Z-bend is allowed.
 
If a belt has damage in more than one place on account of fatigue, do not try to repair it. Install a new belt. Also, never save old belts to use for repairs because they have already been weakened from use. Purchase several extra metres of new belt to use exclusively for repairs.
 
The use of clips produces a double space pitch gap between adjacent clips and you should fully assess their use for both the product process and safe use in the operating environment.
 
Please note: Before undertaking any other method of belt joining, it is important that a risk assessment is undertaken and that all applicable regulations are complied with.
 
Tools you will require to join by this method:
  • Safety glasses
  • Flat end pliers
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Cable ties/soft wire/string (optional)
  • 'Eddie' wire straightener (optional)
  • Necessary tools for conveyor belt take up adjuster

To see our range of pliers and wire straightener tool click here

 
  1. Before you begin splicing

    • Turn off and lockout power to the conveyor
    • Slacken any belt take up adjuster to allow the maximum take up capability when the belt is fitted
    • If possible move the two ends of the belt to be spliced to the discharge end of the conveyor unit.  This may help to hold the belt in position whilst splicing.
    • If necessary you may want to attached the two ends of the belt together, to maintain stability , using cable ties, soft wire or string in the outside spaces.  For wider belts it may be necessary to secure the 2 ends together at more regular intervals across the belt, which can be removed as the ckips are woven in.
    • Plan out the number , type and placement of splice clips by laying them out in position across the belt.
    • Make certain that no two edge loops on the clip hook around the same Z-bend and that all closed loop edges point in the direction of belt travel.
  2. Begin installation with the centre space

    • If installing a single clip install the clip around the centre space on the far end of the belt.
    • Using needle nose pliers grip the splice clip, and in turn hook the two single loop edges up through and into the centre space on the opposite belt end.
    • -OR- If a 3-space clip is used;
    • Gently bend the clip in the centre and insert the clip ends down into the spaces either side of the centre space.
    • Then insert the clip ends up through and into the centre space of the opposite belt end and pull through until the centre "locks" into place.
    • Then, gently straightening the wire, hook the single loop edge down through and around the space adjacent to the centre space.
    • Use the needle nose pliers to grip the single loop edge, hook it up through and into the space adjacent to the centre space on the opposite end of the belt.  Repeat for other edge loop.
    • Straighten the wire with pliers or the wire straightener tool.
  3. Install the next splice clip on an outside edge if a single clip is used

    • Remove the tie holding the ends together
    • Insert the splice clip around and through the far end edge space of the belt
    • Connect the splice clip edge loop to the near side belt edge by gently flexing the splice clip edge loop up and through the near side outside space.  The use of needle nose or flat end pliers may help in this process.
    • Grip the splice clip with yoiur pliers and hook the second edge loop up through and around the adjacent Z-bend on the near end of the belt
    • -OR- if a 3-space clip is used:
    • Remove the ties holding the edges together
    • Bend and insert the splice clip around the second space in from the belt edge and insert the clip ends up through the second space into the opposite end of the belt.  Pull through until centre locks in place.
    • Using needle nose pliers connect the splice clip edge loop to the near side belt edge by gently flexing the splice clip edge loop up and through the near side outside space.  Then hook the far outside edge loop up through the edge of the splice clip.
    • Then on the other end of the splice clip hook it down through space number three on the far belt edge, then flex the edge loop down and up through second space on the near end of the belt.
    • Straighten wire with pliers or Wire Belt's Wire Straightening tool.
  4. Install splice clip on the opposite edge

    • Install the same type of splice clip on the opposite edge in the same way.
  5. Install the remaining splice clips

    • Install the remaining splice clips as appropriate across the belt.  There should be the exact same number and type of splice clips on either side of the centre clip (the first clip you installed).
  6. Re-adjust the conveyor belt tension

    Number of clips required:
# of Spaces Single Clips Single + 3-Space Clips
3 2 0 + 1
5 3 1 + 1
7 4 0 + 2
9 5 1 + 2
11 6 0 + 3
13 7 1 + 3
15 8 0 + 4
17 9 1 + 4
19 10 0 + 5
21 11 1 + 5
23 12 0 + 6
25 13 1 + 6
27 14 0 + 7
29 15 1 + 7
31 16 0 + 8
33 17 1 + 8
35 18 0 + 9
37 19 1 + 9
39 20 0 + 10
41 21 1 + 10
43 22 0 + 11
45 23 1 + 11
47 24 0 + 12
49 25 1 + 12

 

EZSplice® belt joining

When replacing a complete conveyor belt in your production line use an EZSplice® joining strand to give longer belt life, with the strongest joining method available.

Available for the following Flat-Flex® meshes;
 
Flat-Flex range
Pitch (mm) Wire Diameter (mm)
7.26 1.27
7.26 1.60
9.60 2.08
12.7 1.83
12.7 2.35
12.7 2.8
Flat-Flex XT range
9.60 1.83
12.7 1.83
 

EZSplice® Belt Joining Procedure

Click here to download a copy of these instructions.

Tools you will need:
  • Safety glasses
  • EZSplice Strand
  • Profiling Pliers

To see our range of pliers click here

Step 1:

  • Place the EZSplice® strand between the two ends of the belt to be joined, match and align the spaces of the strand with the spaces of the belt.


  • Make sure that the cut end of the EZSplice® strand is on the bottom.
 

Step 2:

  • Once both ends of the belt are aligned with the spaces in the EZSplice® strand, turn the EZSplice® strand over and hook both end loops in as shown below.

  • Hook end loop in place.

  • Repeat opposite end.

  • EZSplice with end loops hooked.
 

Step 3:

  • Now that you have both end loops hooked, turn the EZSplice® strand 180º or 1/2 turn.

  • Turn and insert the second space of the EZSplice® strand through the second space of the belt to be spliced and repeat every other space until the end of the belt is reached.

  • Now the bottom half of the joint is completed.
 

Step 4:

  • Once the bottom half is all locked into the appropriate spaces across the width of the belt, turn the EZSplice® strand about 1/4 of a turn or about 90º up as shown.
  • Take the top half of belt and hook the first space over and through the first space of the EZSplice®.
  • Then repeat every other space until the end of the belt is reached.
  • Now that joint is in place, follow step 5 and step 6 to lock your EZSplice® in place.
 

Step 5 - inserting the bit into the pliers:

  • Insert the beveled edge of the bit into the jaw slot, pushing in with your index finger until you hear a click indicating that the bit is locked into place. Make sure to use the correct bit.
 

Step 6 - crimping:

  • Starting in the centre of the belt to be crimped, insert the low jaw of the profiling pliers into the joining strand, match the joint bend of the strand up with the corresponding grove on the lower jaw of the profiling pliers and crimp down. Moving outward, insert the lower jaw into the next joint bend making sure to match it up again with the corresponding groove on the lower jaw. Repeat until the end of the belt is reached.
  • Crimp the Z bends in the splice strand to the proper profile height to insure required belt clearance throughout the conveyor circuit. Profile pliers will bottom out when fully crimped.

Sprocket Placement

Flat-Flex® typically uses pairs of drive sprockets located in the odd-numbered spaces, with blanks supporting the outside edges of the belt. This arrangement facilitates sprocket alignment and allows the use of "splicing clips" for installation and belt repair of single loop edge (SLE) belts.

For double loop edge belts (DLE) use the standard layout.  However, if the belt is joined with “splicing clips” you should use the alternative layout to avoid interference between the sprockets and the clip edges.

For correct layout of drive shaft sprockets and blanks:

The correct clearance must be present between every sprocket/blank and its adjacent Z-bend – nominally 3-5mm. This cannot be emphasised too often. Belt life will be severely reduced if the Z-bends come in contact with any component of the conveyor. When using EZSplice joining strands consult Wire Belt technical sales for the correct setting dimensions.

General Best Practice: Wire Belt recommends that only genuine Wire Belt sprockets and blanks be used with Flat-Flex® belts. Commercially available sprockets can cause the belt to surge, jump teeth, and may cause premature failure.

Blanks are used to complement sprockets and as belt supports... especially along the outside edges of the belt. When used on the same shaft with drive sprockets, blanks should be the same diameter as the root diameter of the sprockets and made of the same material. Blanks may also be used for support in other areas, such as on idler shafts.

Calculating the number of sprockets
To establish the correct number of sprockets and blanks required for the belt drive shaft the following rules applies:-

Standard Flat Flex belts require one less sprocket than the total number of spaces across the belt, plus 2 blanks.

Note: There are two exceptions to this rule:
A) a single space belt uses only two (2) sprockets
B) a three space belt requires four (4) drive sprockets and no blanks – pairs of sprockets in each outside space only












 
Important Note
Wire Belt Company standard sprockets are not designed to run in a reverse bend condition. Design the circuit to avoid a reverse bend drive. If there is no alternative then contact Wire Belt Technical Sales department to discuss your requirement when designing your conveyor.

Flat-Flex® Trouble Shooting Guide

Flat-Flex® Trouble Shooting Guide
Problem Possible Cause(s) Solution(s)
Splice clips breaking
  • Alternative style sprocket arrangement used (sprockets in even spaces
  • Belt improperly spliced
  • Clips and/or strands not straightened after splicing
  • Sprockets not properly installed or aligned
  • Uneven tension
  • Adjust to standard style arrangement (sprockets in odd spaces)
  • Reinstall following splicing instructions
  • Straighten any bent clips or strands using pliers
  • Check sprocket alignment and adjust if needed
  • Adjust tension so it is equal on both sides of frame
Belt surges
  • Belt not supported on frame
  • Load too high
  • Uneven product loading
  • Wrong type of wear strips
  • Install supports on return path
  • Change to heavier mesh belt
  • Correct loading method
  • Change to different type / material / design wear strip
Excessive wear strip wear
  • Abrasive cleaner used
  • Load too high
  • Not enough wear strips
  • Wrong type of wear strips
  • Install spray wash on belt to reduce grit build up
  • Change to heavier mesh belt
  • Install more wear strips
  • Change to different type / material / design wear strip
Damage to flights
  • Product jamming on loader
  • Flights getting caught on frame support
  • Flights rubbing on return path
  • Check hopper/chute infeed sides and correct jamming
  • Check for obstructions on frame and correct
  • Allow sufficient clearance with frame; indent flights
Belt edges curling up
  • High temperature
  • Too much tension
  • Belt joints unsupported
  • Load too high
  • Use crowned belts (a specialty belt); Call Technical Sales for information and pricing
  • Adjust tension take-up
  • Adjust sprockets/blanks/rollers to within 5mm of Z-bends
  • Change to heavier mesh belt
Belt not tracking properly
  • Sprocket teeth mis-aligned
  • Conveyor frame not square
  • Support rolls not squarely aligned
  • Drive shaft not aligned
  • Uneven product loading
  • Belt improperly spliced
  • Belt is "wrong side up"
  • Check alignment and adjust
  • Realign conveyor frame
  • Realign support rolls
  • Realign following alignment instructions
  • Correct loading method
  • Reinstall following splicing instructions
  • Reinstall belt with smooth side up
Belt runs to one side
  • Sprocket teeth mis-aligned
  • Conveyor frame not square
  • Support rolls not squarely aligned
  • Transfer roll not functioning properly
  • Drive shaft not aligned
  • Uneven product loading
  • Uneven tension
  • Belt improperly spliced
  • Check alignment and adjust
  • Realign conveyor frame
  • Realign support rolls
  • Change to grooved end roll
  • Realign following alignment instructions
  • Correct loading method
  • Adjust tension so it's equal on both sides of frame
  • Reinstall following splicing instructions
Belt wears edges
  • Not enough clearance
  • Conveyor frame not square
  • Shafts not locked down
  • Sprocket teeth mis-aligned
  • Belt expansion from high temperature
  •  Adjust clearance between belt edge and on side rail
  •  Realign conveyor frame
  • Use collars on outside of bearings to prevent lateral shifting
  • Check alignment and adjust
  • Adjust clearance between belt edge and side rail to allow for heat expansion
Belt slips on sprockets  
  • Insufficient tension
  • Sprockets not properly installed or aligned
  • Worn sprockets
  • Drive sprockets too small
  • Insufficient belt wrap
 
  • Adjust tension take-up
  • Check sprocket alignment; adjust if needed
  • Replace sprocket
  • Replace with larger diameter sprockets from Wire Belt, or increase wrap
  • Increase wrap around drive sprockets up to between 120º to 180º
Belt blackening
  • Frozen/stuck roller
  • Too much tension
  • Load too high
  • Improper/inadequate cleaning
  • Too much metal to metal contact
  • Free roller; reduce or eliminate steel-to-steel contact
  • Adjust tension take-up
  • Change to heavier mesh belt
  • Install continuous spray cleaning device on conveyor
  • Replace metal parts, where possible, with suitable plastic alternatives
Excessive belt wear or poor belt life  
  • Contact with other equipment
  • Support rolls not rotating
  • Too much tension
  • Uneven tension
  • End roll/reverse bend too small
  • Wrong type of wear strip
  • Abrasive cleaner used
  • Load too high
  • Speed too high
  • Belt improperly spliced
  • Frame not level
  • Sprockets not properly installed or aligned
 
  • Eliminate contact
  • Check bearing and replace if needed
  • Adjust tension take-up
  • Adjust tension so it is equal on both sides of frame
  • Check for correct minimum diameter
  • Change to a different type/material/design/wear strip
  • Install spray wash on belt to reduce grit build up
  • Change to a heavier specification belt
  • Reduce running speed
  • Reinstall following splicing instructions
  • Correct affected area
  • Check for correct sprocket arrangement and alignment - adjust if needed.
Excessive sprocket wear
  • Too much tension
  • Abrasive cleaner used
  • Sprocket teeth mis-aligned
  • Not enough drive sprockets
  • Sprockets not properly installed or aligned
  • Load too high
  • Belt speeds too high
  • Shaft(s) bent
  • Adjust tension take-up
  • Install spray wash on belt to reduce grit build-up
  • Check alignment and adjust
  • Add more sprockets
  • Check sprocket alignment and adjust if needed
  • Change to heavier mesh belt
  • Reduce speed
  • Check shafts and replace if needed
Belt jumps on sprockets
  • Worn sprockets
  • Wrong size sprockets
  • Belt is "wrong side up"
  • Product build-up between belt and sprockets
  • Too much tension
  • Incorrect drive shaft layout
  • Sprocket teeth mis-aligned
  • Incorrect sprocket pitch versus belt pitch
  • Replace using Wire Belt sprockets
  • Replace with correct sprocket of correct dimensions for pitch and wire
  • Reinstall belt with smooth side up
  • Install wiper on return belt to prevent product getting trapped; install side guards on frame
  • Adjust tension take-up
  • Reposition sprockets
  • Realign sprocket teeth using a straight edge
  • Replace by matching sprockets from Wire Belt Co.