The conveyor belt revolutionized the mining industry, replacing much more labor-intensive methods of hauling and drastically reducing the cost-per-ton of handling mine output. But everything was not bread and roses at first – quite often, belts were damaged by the tons of jagged debris that fell onto them at whichever spot the belt was being loaded. The material would perforate, slice, and abrade the belt. Occasionally, foreign material – anything from soda cans to roofing nails – would manage to find its way into the output stream, and they could cause serious damage to conveyor belts.
Enter the impact saddle. An impact saddle is a piece of heavy machinery that sits underneath the conveyor belt right where the oncoming mass hits. At first, a different technology called an impact idler was used – but impact idlers had a fatal flaw: they consisted of only three rotating bars, and in the narrow areas where the bars met but the belt flexed into a curve, enough of the belt’s surface area was left unprotected that serious damage occasionally occurred in the idler’s ‘weak zone’.
An impact saddle, on the other hand, is a curved line of rubber-like squares that much more closely – as in, within a quarter-inch of clearance – matches the curve of the conveyor belt itself. Furthermore, the rubber-like squares are set loosely enough in their frame that they can bend and flex to more appropriately support odd impacts or load angles. The Richwood Combi-Pact Saddle, as perhaps the top-of-the-line example, can be bolted into the same anchors that held an impact idler, providing 100% protection for the width of the entire belt without having to strip out the old settings and replace them.
Built on a single-unit steel frame and girded with Ultra-High Molecular Weight polyethylene ‘impact segments’ (rubber-like squares), the Combi-Pact impact saddle is designed to be both mechanically simplistic and utterly effective. Combined with a high-quality conveyor belt cleaner, the impact saddle forms half of a conveyor belt’s best defense against rips, holes, and abrasions. With the impact saddle absorbing potential damage at the impact site and the conveyor belt cleaner insuring that no damaging material ‘rides’ the belt around and gets into the interior belt machinery, your conveyor belts can last decades longer.