What Is a Dirt Conveyor?

Dan Cavallari

A dirt conveyor is a system designed specifically to move dirt or soil from one specific location to another using a belt and pulley system. Many dirt conveyor systems are portable and can be towed by a truck or other towing vehicle, so they must be somewhat compact and easy to maneuver. The belt itself will differ from other conveyor belts in its design: it will feature upright stops known as cleats to prevent the dirt from falling backward down the conveyor system when it is positioned on an incline.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

Most dirt conveyor systems feature some sort of hydraulic lift that allows a user to raise or lower one end of the conveyor. This means the user can effectively haul dirt up to a higher location or down into a lower location. The cleats, which can be made from rubber or metal, will create a series of troughs along the belt, in which soil can easily be dumped and moved along the track. The width of the belt and the height of the cleats will usually dictate how much material can be moved by the dirt conveyor at one time; wider belts and taller cleats mean more material can be moved.

A set of sidewalls will form a trough on either side of the dirt conveyor belt. This trough is usually made from steel for durability and strength. The trough prevents materials from spilling off the side of the conveyor system during operation, making the system more efficient and less sloppy. The trough may or may not be a structural element of the dirt conveyor; most conveyors will feature a welded steel frame outside of the trough for rigidity, and the pulleys that comprise the conveyor system will be mounted to this frame. The belt will wind around the pulleys, and the two end pulleys can be adjustable so the tension of the belt can be altered quickly and easily.

The pulleys will feature sealed bearings to allow free and easy movement of the cylinders. This is important because dirt could otherwise work into the bearings, thereby increasing the speed with which the bearings will wear out and require replacement. Sealed bearings are packed with grease and then sealed tightly so dirt cannot penetrate. Once the bearings wear out, they can simply be replaced with new ones. Sometimes only the end pulleys will feature sealed bearings, while on other systems, all pulleys or cylinders will feature sealed bearings.

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