Conveyor Belt Tracking 101: Belt Tension

Cardboard boxes on a conveyor belt

While only a piece of the puzzle, the tension of your conveyor belt is a critical component of an efficient and effective manufacturing process. The experts at Hytrol Conveyor Company recently published an article discussing conveyor belt tensioning and maintenance to help ensure that your conveyor belt is running optimally.

The first step of conveyor belt tracking is to look at the tension of your belt—is the belt pulling to one side? If so, that particular side of your machine is likely less tensioned and causing the pull. You need to adjust the belt tension to find the lowest tension that will enable the conveyor to run smoothly without letting the belt slip.

Too much tension can result in:

  • Extra pressure that causes pulleys to break
  • Deterioration of the belt lacing
  • Curling or cupping of the belt edges
  • Uneven belt wear due to tracking problems
  • Excessive wear and tear on bearings, shafts and other parts

Too little tension can result in:

  • Premature belt failure
  • Pulley lagging
  • Improper conveyor belt tracking
  • Belt slippage
  • Discoloration and dusting of the belt

Ensuring Proper Conveyor Belt Tensioning

Now that you’ve identified that the tension of your Hytrol conveyor, or any conveyor system, needs to be adjusted, it’s time to empty your conveyor of all products. This will allow you to adjust the belt tensioning to the point where it does not slip. From there, simply add products to the conveyor belt and tension the belt until your conveyor can move the heaviest possible load without experiencing a slippage. It’s important to stop your conveyor after you’ve reached this point in order to test a full product load—if the belt still slips after restarting the conveyor, repeat the above process.

Maintaining Your Conveyor Belt

The last step to conveyor belt tracking and efficient performance is preventive maintenance. Maintenance can be broken down into three categories:

  • Routine inspections
  • Regular cleaning of the conveyor belt
  • Staying within the conveyor belt’s weight capacity


Routinely run your conveyor belt without any loads to identify areas of the belt that have experienced rips or tears. By nipping rips and tears in the bud, you’ll be able to maintain your belt tensioning and prevent damage to your overall conveyor and/or products.


Buildup on your conveyor belt can be detrimental to overall conveyor belt tracking and can lead to damaged parts. It is recommended that your belt undergo periodic cleaning to remove unwanted debris and spills to maintain the integrity of your conveyor system.


Exceeding your conveyor belt’s weight capacity can result in unnecessary stress on the belt and other parts of the system. Too much stress and friction can result in premature wear of the belt and parts so it’s important to monitor product weighs and operate within the recommended manufacturer limits.

Through preventive maintenance techniques, you’ll ensure that your conveyor system is operating optimally.

Interested in learning more about Hytrol conveyors? Let’s talk.

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