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Finding the best way to drive a belt conveyor

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When a driven machine requires high breakaway or accelerating torque, motor design selection can be straightforward. Bulk material conveyors, however, impose some added limitations often difficult to accommodate. The conveyor demands high breakaway torque, primarily because of friction between the belt and the numerous idler rolls upon which it rests. The heavier the material lading on the belt, the greater that friction. Besides possible belt damage, slippage creates another problem. Friction between driving pulley and belt creates a difference between the tensions T1 and T2 in the tight and slack sides of the belt respectively. An empty belt demands much less driving power or starting torque than when full. Dual drives are therefore not uncommon, using two identical motors driving through a single gear reducer. Matching motor capability to the complex and sometimes conflicting requirements of a belt conveyor drive is a challenge for both motor and control system designers.

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