Conveyor terminology glossary

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ACCUMULATING CONVEYOR: Any conveyor designed to allow collection (accumulation) of material. May be roller, live roller, belt and gravity conveyors.

ALLIGATOR BELT CLIP: Lacing attached to the belt with a hammer for the purposes of joining the ends of the belt together to form a continuous loop.

AXLE: A non-rotating shaft on which wheels or rollers are mounted.

BALL TABLE: A group of ball transfers over which flat surface objects may be moved in any direction.

BALL TRANSFER: A device in which a larger ball is mounted and retained on a hemispherical face of small balls.

BED: That part of a conveyor upon which the load rests or slides while being conveyed.

BED LENGTH: Length of bed sections only required to make up conveyor excluding pulleys, etc., that may be assembled at ends.

BED WIDTH: Refers to the overall width of the bed section.

BELT: A flexible band placed around two or more pulleys for the purpose of transmitting motion, power or materials from one point to another.

BELT SCRAPER: A blade or brush caused to bear against the moving conveyor belt for the purpose of removing material sticking to the conveyor belt.

BELT SPEED: The length of belt, which passes a fixed point within a given time. It is usually expressed in terms of "metres per minute".

BETWEEN FRAME WIDTH: (BF) referred to as the distance between the conveyor frame sides on a belt conveyor, roller bed, live roller or gravity type conveyor. Also referred to as (BF) Between Frame.

BOOSTER CONVEYOR: Any type of powered conveyor used to regain elevation lost in gravity roller or wheel conveyor lines.

BRAKE MOTOR: A device usually mounted on a motor shaft between motor and reducer with means to engage automatically when the electric current is cut off or fails.

BRAKE ROLLERS: Air or mechanically operated brakes used underneath roller conveyor to slow down or stop packages being conveyed.


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CASTERS: Wheels mounted in a fork (either rigid or swivel) used to support and make conveyors portable.

CEILING HANGERS: Lengths of steel rod, attached to the ceiling, from which conveyors may be supported to provide maximum utilization of floor space or when required height exceeds floor support capability.

CENTRE DRIVE: A drive assembly mounted underneath normally near the centre of the conveyor, but may be placed anywhere in the conveyor length. Normally used in reversing or incline application.

CHAIN CONVEYOR: Any type of conveyor in which one or more chains act as the conveying element.

CHAIN DRIVE: A power transmission device employing a drive chain and sprockets.

CHAIN GUARD: A covering or protection for drive or conveyor chains for safety purposes.

CHAIN ROLLER CONVEYOR: A conveyor in which the rollers have attached sprockets which are driven by a chain.

CHUTE: A trough through which objects are lowered by gravity. Can either be a slider bed or roller/wheel bed.

CLEAT: An attachment fastened to the conveying surface to act as a pusher, support, check or trip, etc. to help propel material, parts or packages along the normal path of conveyor travel.

A belt having raised sections spaced uniformly to stabilize flow of material on belts operating on inclines. Cleats may be a part of the belt or fastened on.

CLUTCH DRIVE: Drive used to disengage motor from reducer without stopping the motor or cutting the power.

CLUTCH-BRAKE DRIVE: Drive used to disengage motor from reducer and stop conveyor immediately without stopping the motor or cutting the power.

CONSTANT SPEED DRIVE: A drive with no provisions for variable speed or a drive with the characteristics necessary to maintain a constant speed.

CONVERGING: A section of roller or wheel conveyor where two conveyors meet and merge into one conveyor.

CONVEYING SURFACE: Normal working surface of the conveyor.

CROSS BRACING: Bars placed across the support legs to aid in squaring of the frames..

CROWNED PULLEY: A pulley which tapers equally from both ends toward the centre, the diameter being the greatest at the centre.


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DECLINE CONVEYOR: A conveyor transporting down a slope.

DEGREE OF INCLINE: Angle of slope in degrees that a conveyor is installed. 

DISCHARGE END: Location at which objects are removed from the conveyor.

DIVERGING: A section of roller or wheel conveying which makes a connection for diverting articles from a main line to a branch.

DRIVE: An assembly of the necessary structural, mechanical and electrical parts which provide the motive power for a conveyor.

DRIVE PULLEY: A pulley mounted on the drive shaft that transmits power to the belt with which it is in contact. Pulley is normally positive crowned.

EMERGENCY PULL CORD: Vinyl coated cord that runs along the side of the conveyor that can be pulled at any time to stop the conveyor. Used with an Emergency Stop Switch.

EMERGENCY STOP SWITCH: Electrical device used to stop the conveyor in an emergency.

EXTENDIBLE CONVEYOR: Belt, roller or wheel conveyor that may be lengthened or shortened within limits to suit operating needs.


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FEEDER: A conveyor adapted to control the rate of delivery of packages or objects.

FLAT FACE PULLEY: A pulley on which the face is a straight cylindrical drum, i.e. uncrowned.

FLOOR SUPPORTS: Supporting members with vertical adjustments for levelling the conveyor.

FLOW: The direction of travel of the product on the conveyor.

FPM: Feet per minute.

FRAME: The structure which supports the machinery components of a conveyor.

GATE: A section of conveyor equipped with a hinge mechanism to provide an opening for a walkway, etc. (Manual or Spring Loaded).

GRAVITY CONVEYOR: Roller or wheel conveyor over which objects are advanced manually by gravity.

GUARD RAIL: Members paralleling the path of a conveyor and limiting the objects or carriers to movement in a defined path..

HORIZONTAL FLOOR SPACE: Floor space required for a conveyor.

HORSEPOWER: (HP) A measure of the time rate of doing work defined as the equivalent of raising 33,000 pounds one foot in one minute. Electrically, one horsepower is 746 watts or 0.746kW

HZ: HERTZ - Electrical terminology, a unit of frequency equal to one cycle per second. Most common cycle time is 50 Hertz.


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INCLINE CONVEYOR LENGTH: Determined by the elevation change from in-feed to discharge versus the degree of incline.

INCLINED CONVEYOR: A conveyor transporting up a slope.

INFEED END: The end of a conveyor nearest the loading point.

INTERMEDIATE BED: A middle section of conveyor not containing the drive or tail assemblies.

KNEE BRACES: A structural brace at an angular position to another structural component for the purpose of providing vertical support.

LACING: Means used to attach the ends of a belt segment together.

LAGGED PULLEY: A pulley having the surface of its face crowned with a material to provide for greater friction with the belt.

LIMIT SWITCH: Electrical device used to sense product location.

LIVE ROLLER CONVEYOR: A series of rollers over which objects are moved by the application of power to all or some of the rollers. The power transmitting medium is usually belting or chain.


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MACHINE CROWNED PULLEY: A pulley in which the crown or vertex has been produced by an automatic, usually computer driven, machine.

MAGNETIC STARTER: An electrical device which controls the motor and also provides overload protection to the motor.

MANUAL START SWITCH: A simple one direction switch used to turn the conveyor on or off.

MINIMUM PRESSURE ACCUMULATING CONVEYOR: A type of conveyor designed to minimize build-up of pressure between adjacent packages or cartons.

MOTOR: A machine which transforms electric energy into mechanical energy. Standard motors are dual voltage and operate at 1300 RPM.

NET LIFT: The net vertical distance through which material is moved against gravity by a conveyor.

NIP GUARD: A guard placed to eliminate points or areas on the conveyor where injuries might occur.

NOSEOVER: A section of conveyor to provide transition from incline to horizontal or horizontal to incline.

OVERALL LENGTH: (OAL) The total length over the conveyor structure

OVERALL WIDTH: (OAW) The total dimension over the conveyors frame

OVERHEAD DRIVE: A drive assembly mounted over a conveyor which allows clearance for the product.


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PHOTO ELECTRIC CELL: Electrical device used to sense product location.

PLOW: A device positioned across the path of a conveyor at the correct angle to discharge or deflect objects

POP-OUT ROLLER: A roller, normally placed on the ends of a belt conveyor, used to aid in transfer, and set in a wide groove to allow it to eject if an object comes between it and the belt.

PORTABLE CONVEYOR: Any type of transportable conveyor, usually having supports which provide mobility.

POWER BELT CURVE: A curve conveyor which utilizes a belt, driven by tapered pulleys.

POWERED CONVEYOR: Any type of conveyor which requires power to move its load.

POWERED FEEDER: A driven length of belt conveyor, normally used to move product horizontally onto an incline conveyor.

PRODUCT FOOTPRINT: The surface of the product that comes in contact with the belt, rollers, or wheels of the conveyor.

PULLEY: A wheel, usually cylindrical, but polygonal in cross section with its centre bored for mounting on a shaft.

PUSH BUTTON STATION: An electrical device which operates a magnetic starter.

PUSHER: A device, normally air powered, for diverting product 90 degrees from one conveyor line to another line, chute, etc.


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RETURN IDLER: A roller which supports the return run of the belt.

REVERSIBLE: A conveyor which is designed to move product in either direction.

ROLLER: A round part free to revolve about its outer surface. The face may be straight, tapered or crowned. Rollers may also serve as the rolling support for the load being conveyed.

ROLLER BED: A series of rollers used to support a conveying medium.

ROLLER PITCH: The distance measured along the carrying run of a conveyor from the centre of one roller to the centre of the next roller.

ROLLER CONVEYOR: A series of rollers supported in a frame over which objects are advanced manually, by gravity or by power.


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SHAFT: A bar usually of steel, to support rotating parts or to transmit power.

SIDE CHANNELS: Members which support the slider bed or rollers on the side of the conveyor.

SHAFT MOUNTED : A geared motor mounted to the drive pulley and situated on the side of the conveyor.

SKATEWHEEL CONVEYOR: A type of wheel conveyor making use of series of skate wheels mounted on common shafts or axles, or mounted on parallel spaced bars on individual axles.

SLAT CONVEYOR: A conveyor which uses steel or wooden slats mounted on roller chain to transport the product.

SLAVE DRIVE: A conveyor drive powered from another conveyor instead of having its own prime power source.

SLIDER BED: A stationary surface on which the carrying run of a belt conveyor slides.

SLUG MODE: Allows all packages to be released simultaneously.

SNUB ROLLER: Any rollers used to increase the arc of contact between a belt and drive pulley.

SORTATION CONVEYOR: A conveyor which is able to sort different packages or products to specific take-away lines.

SPUR: A conveyor section to switch unit loads to and from the mainline.

SUPPORT: Arrangement of members used to maintain the elevation or alignment of the conveyors. Supports can take the form of hangers, floor supports, or brackets and can be either stationary or portable.

SWITCH: (1)Any device for connecting two or more contiguous package conveyor lines; (2) An electrical control device.


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TAIL: Usually the end of a conveyor nearest loading point.

TAIL PULLEY: A pulley mounted at the tail end of a conveyor, its purpose is to return the belt.

TAKE-UP: The assembly of the necessary structural and mechanical parts which provide the means to adjust the length of belt and chain to compensate for stretch, shrinkage or wear and to maintain proper tension.

TANGENT: Straight portion after a curve conveyor.

TAPERED ROLLER: A conical conveyor roller for use in a curve with end and intermediate diameter proportional to their distance from centre of curve.

TAPERED ROLLER BEND: A curved section of roller conveyor having tapered rollers.

TERMINAL ROLLER: A pulley mounted at the tail end of a conveyor, its purpose is to return the belt.

THROUGHPUT: The quantity or amount of product moved on a conveyor at a given time.

TOTAL LOAD: Amount of weight distributed over the entire length of a conveyor.

TRACKING: Steering the belt to hold or maintain a desired path.

TRANSFER: A device or series of devices, usually mounted inside a conveyor section, which uses belts, chains, o-rings, rollers, or skate-wheels, to move products at right angles to adjacent or parallel conveyor lines.

TREAD PLATES: Diamond top steel filler plates used to fill the gap between rollers on roller conveyor.

TRIPOD SUPPORT: Three legged stand for small roller and skatewheel conveyor. Usually easily moved or aligned to maintain elevation of the conveyor.

TRUETRACK: Belt conveyor guidance system for the moving belt. For more information view the TrueTrack page.

TROUGHED BED: A conveyor designed with a deep trough used for carrying broken glass, cans, wood chips, stampings, etc. Also used in recycling operations.

TURNING WHEEL: Wheel mounted on an adjustable bracket to help insure proper package orientation.

TURNTABLE: A horizontal, rotary conveyor mechanism used for transferring objects between conveyors which are in angular relation to one another.


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UNDERGUARD :Sheet metal used to cover the underneath side of a conveyor.

VARIABLE SPEED: A drive or power transmission mechanism that includes a speed changing device.

V-BELT: A belt with a trapezoidal cross section for operation in grooved sheaves permitting wedging contact between the belt sides and groove sides.

ZERO LINE PRESSURE ACCUMULATING CONVEYOR: A type of conveyor designed to have zero build-up of pressure between adjacent packages or cartons.




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