Conveyor pulleys can be constructed using a variety of materials. The choice of pulley material plays an important role in determining pulley construction and may substantially impact overall level of pulley performance in operation.
Unless otherwise noted, conveyor pulley construction will be designed using mild steel materials. Because of a low resistance to corrosion in demanding environments, mild steel should be selected for environments where corrosion of surfaces is not a concern.
Pulleys constructed with stainless steel materials are commonly used in environments susceptible to corrosion or where pulley cleanliness or sanitation is a concern. If an environment demands ease of cleaning or sanitization, an upgraded surface finish may be desired. Additional standards for food handling equipment may be found through sources such as the FDA and 3-A Sanitary Standards, Incorporated.
While mild and stainless steel are the most common materials used in conveyor pulley construction, other materials such as aluminum are also used. Aluminum, although light weight and corrosion resistant, does present disadvantages in product construction. A significant reduction in strength and component compatibility makes aluminum a less desirable material choice for conveyor pulleys in most belt conveyor applications.
Non-metallic materials such as plastic, PVC, and even wood are sometimes used in the construction of conveyor pulleys. Although they are typically light weight and corrosion resistant, non-metallic materials do present disadvantages in traditional pulley product construction. A significant reduction in strength and component compatibility makes these materials a less desirable material choice for conveyor pulleys in most belt conveyor applications. These materials would typically only be used in systems where the application requirements did not allow the use of metal in pulley construction, perhaps where electrical or thermal conductivity is a concern.