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Which is better, steel or plastic conveyor roller?

by:YiFan Conveyor     2021-06-03
rollers or idlers are the basic components of any conveyor system. Among other functions, they run under the belt to assist material weight support and impact. There are many kinds of roller materials and types, designed for various application requirements. They are different in shape, length, thickness, insulation layer/material coating, etc. (See our blog post on different types of rollers for more information on roller types). For many industries that use loading conveyor systems, steel rollers (including mild steel and stainless steel) seem to be the first choice. However, in some cases, plastics can provide a suitable solution. We will explain the reasons in detail below. There are many important factors to consider when choosing steel or plastic rollers for your loading conveyor system. These factors include the material being processed, the operating environment of the conveyor system, the scale of operation, and the cost. The material transported by your conveyor plays an important role in deciding whether you should use steel or plastic. If the material is heavier and/or larger in size, the steel roller will do a better job in withstanding weight and impact. Plastic rollers are more suitable for lightweight materials because they are not as strong as steel. However, corrosive materials can cause wear and damage to mild steel rolls. Stainless steel or aluminum steel rollers are an alternative solution to mild steel because they are corrosion resistant. Plastic rollers are also a non-corrosive choice. Operating environment High temperature environment (such as inland Australia) may also be harmful to plastic rollers. Whether in the operating environment or the temperature of the transport material, steel rollers can withstand extremely high heat. Compared with steel, plastic has a higher level of thermal expansion at high temperatures. When using plastic rollers, you must carefully consider the operating temperature, otherwise the roller may fail due to warping. Operational-scale plastic conveyor rollers are more suitable for smaller conveyor operations, such as the food production industry, due to their limited durability and strength. However, many food production industries now choose stainless steel rollers instead of plastic rollers as food-grade standards, also because stainless steel rollers are non-corrosive and easy to clean. For larger operations, such as the mining industry, it is better to use steel rollers, because steel rollers are usually larger in size, larger in capacity, and more durable. Cost In almost all cases, the manufacturing cost of steel rollers is lower than that of plastic rollers. Steel rollers have been used as a standard in the mining industry for many years and are manufactured in a way of economies of scale. Over the years, the manufacturing process has been continuously improved and innovated, and it has now developed into an art. Plastic rollers are still a fairly new product, and there is still a long way to go in terms of innovation. Design advantages As a basic material, plastic is not as strong and durable as steel, so plastic rollers are naturally weaker than steel rollers. However, the advantage of the plastic roller is that it will not damage the belt due to the 'pizza wheel turning'. The rotation of the pizza wheel means that the steel drum is used beyond its service life, the drum shell is worn out, and the side plates are exposed. When the side panels are exposed, the upright edges are like pizza cutting wheels, cutting and damaging the conveyor belt as it runs. Plastic is usually a softer material than rubber conveyor belts. When the shell is worn on the plastic drum, the pizza wheel effect still exists, but the plastic is too soft to damage the belt. Simple design changes of steel and plastic rollers can prevent pizza from rolling. If you increase the size of the sidewall of the roller, the pizza wheel will not appear because the sidewall is thicker and no longer has a thin, sharp edge. This design change adds additional cost due to the addition of materials used to thicken the sidewalls.
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