In the material handling industry, Portec equipment is known for strength and reliability. Now, it will also be known for quiet operation. Recent testing by Engineering Dynamics, Inc of Englewood, Colorado verifies that Portec Power Belt Curves generate sound levels less than a typical conversation.


Portec supplies power belt curves to companies that require a high level of sound control in their working environments, so it was important that Portec independently confirm the sound emissions generated by its curves.  Portec curves can be expected to emit less than 63 dB(A) while running at 197 feet per minute (60 meter per minute) and less than 69 dB(A) while running at 350 feet per minute (106 meter per minute), using Declared Single-Number Noise Emission Values in accordance with IS0 4871.


“I was surprised and encouraged to find that a piece of industrial equipment that can move material at high speeds can be so quiet.” said Stuart McGregor, P.E., Senior Acoustical Engineer at EDI. “It was encouraging to work with a manufacturer of industrial equipment that is proactive and is paying attention in the design of their equipment to minimize sound emissions.”


Some common Sound Pressure Levels are:

Whisper 30 dB(A)

Normal Conversation 60 to 70 dB(A)

Shouting 90 dB(A)

651 Comments | Category: Power Belt Curves

Portec conveyor chain guide strips will lose grease due to normal conveyor operation, chain motion, gravity and displacement. To protect against premature wear, Portec recommends lubrication on a periodic basis. Specifically, the upper and lower chain guide strips any Portec flat turn, Spiral Curve®or Spiral Lift®conveyor should be greased by a Portec recommended lubricant when any of the following conditions are observed:

- The grease has become dry or caked.

- The grease has lost its viscosity and/or separating due to exposure to environmental liquids.

- The grease consistency is gritty and coarse, when rubbed between fingertips.

 Maintenance and engineering personnel can minimize the risk associated with grease changes by doing each of the following:

1. Select greases with similar thickening systems.

2. Select greases designed for the environment in which the equipment is operating.

3. Relubricate frequently, taking care not to over lubricate. (It is best to both increase the frequency and reduce the volume.)

The final determination of compatibility comes with proper testing of greases in the application for key performance properties.

758 Comments | Category: Uncategorized

In the world of material handling, the idea of TCO (total cost of ownership) is becoming very popular.  Although typically identified and measured by the end user, more and more OEMs are trying to establish how their products fit within the TCO model.  For instance, here at Portec we understand that identifying the total cost of acquiring, installing and maintaining equipment across an extended length of time, can be very different than knowing just the initial cost of a product or the complete product life cycle cost.  It may mean investing sufficient resources and money in the early stages of a program in order to get the lowest possible Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).  The long term payoff can be significant.

For example, within the specialty conveyor industry, the most expensive replacement part is the conveyor belt. Yet, many do not take this into account when deciding which conveyor to buy. Equipment is purchased at the lowest price available and the long term costs of replacement belts and accompanying accessories are not considered. But the overall costs of replacement belts for certain conveyors can add up at an exponential rate. Knowing this type of information through careful planning and research, negates the urge to buy the least expensive conveyor on the market.

Understanding the consequences of focusing on upfront, one-time costs versus the total cost of ownership can help an organization minimize capital investment risks. Research and planning will minimize a company’s TCO and most importantly, optimize the bottom line.

604 Comments | Category: Total Costs

A conveyor diverter or plough can have a stationary or a movable arm that deflects, pushes, or pulls a product. Often designed with a timing belt, it diverts, merges or sorts product from one conveying line to another. It is common in the material handling industry and a simple powered face belt diverter has been on the market since the ‘50s.

At low speeds (10 – 120 fpm), a belt powered diverter/plough works well for most applications. But the belt has a tendency to slip as the speed of the conveyor goes above 120 fpm. The slippage is avoided by using a v-guide, which allows the diverter to operate at speeds up to 250 fpm. When the conveyor speed increases, the force of the load contacting the diverter causes the belt to flex . Repeated flexing causes the belt to stretch. This ongoing flexing and stretching means that the belt has to be constantly maintained, either through periodic tightening or replacement.

At high conveying speeds, a package can be easily damaged by the force of impact on a diverter arm. It does not matter whether the diverter is belted or not. It is a challenge find a powered face belt diverter that has the ability to operate at high speeds, but still guide products (no matter what their size or weight) gently. Facing ongoing maintenance issues regarding belt slippage/stretching and continuous product damage has caused companies to look towards other, far more expensive diverting solutions.

In 2007, based on numerous customer requests, Portec Flomaster decided to design and create their own powered face diverter.  Recognizing the many challenges of using a belt for the powered face (as mentioned above), Portec used a different kind of technology.  Instead of a belt, a patented double chain is strategically embedded across the face of the diverter.  There are wheels on the chain that operate independently from the chain and from each other.  The wheels smoothly guide the package across the face of the diverter.  Packages contact the wheels, not the moving chain and the impact of product landing against the diverter is negligible.


The diverter has zero pressure accumulation, which means that the driving force from an accumulated product is reduced or eliminated. This zero pressure accumulation is especially important if there are product jams. Packages can be in a stationary position, accumulating next to the face of the diverter (running at full speed) and will not be damaged.


Generally, a powered face belt diverter is designed to run at the same speed as the conveyor trunk line. The belt on the diverter can have problems with tracking if its speed does not match the underlying conveyor. Portec’s powered face diverter does not work with a belt, so it does not have the tracking problems associated with a belt. The diverter and the conveyor do not have to be moving at the same speed.

The shape and mounting footprint allow the Portec powered face diverter to be easily installed in existing conveyor applications without extensive modifications. Mobile by design, it can be bolted to the floor in almost any location and is an ideal choice when vertical headroom is at a premium. It does not need to be attached to a conveyor and can be cantilevered up to 10 feet without overhead supports.

The Portec powered face diverter has also been designed so that the diverting arm can be configured for almost any angle. The diverting angles available through other powered face diverter manufacturers are often limited to one or two options. Both the actuator and power face are independently controlled.

661 Comments | Category: Conveyor Diverters

Spiral Lifts are a solution for vertical conveying where differential heights are to be covered and are the ideal solution for continuous vertical transport. They help to maintain proper product orientation and provide positive traction through the curve. Almost any item you can convey on a belt or roller conveyor can be lifted on a Spiral-Lift. The continuous belt conveyor system utilizes a spiral design to transport products up or down and requires only a fraction of the floor space needed by conventional conveyors to accomplish similar elevation differentials. Items of various sizes can be continuously conveyed without need of loading trays, operator supervision, special product orientation or pre-lift staging. The Spiral-Lift feeds directly from any standard conveyor, eliminating the need for costing intermediate or synchronized handling systems above and below with their associated complicated controls. 

The heart of a Portec Spiral-Lift belt conveyor is a precision sidebow roller chain.  The chain is attached to the outside edge of the belt with special chain attachment links.  Because of this positive chain drive arrangement, Portec Spiral-Lift conveyors are not affected by changes in loading, temperature, humidity, or even severe contamination of either the top or bottom surface of the belt.  They can handle ice cream in -40° freezers and bundles of newspapers in the Canadian outdoors.

Positive chain-drive systems are very forgiving of maintenance neglect without unforeseen breakdowns. Along the same lines, chain-driven belt conveyors have always been known for being incredibly rugged and reliable.  These systems also avoid the belt slippage problems that friction driven conveyors sometimes face.  The belt on a Spiral-Lift is only a carrying surface and is not part of the drive system.  While friction-drive spiral belt conveyors require special high-tech belt fabrics or special top covers, the Portec Spiral-Lift can use a wide range of belt materials without effecting the function of the conveyor.

 Spiral Lift  

507 Comments | Category: Spiral Conveyors