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Four Fascinating Facts About Conveyor Belts

conveyor belt

Four Fascinating Facts About Conveyor Belts

Conveyor belts are vital pieces of machinery that are used all across the world and in all sorts of different industries to carry materials from one place to another within a building or area. 

From transporting food and pharmaceuticals through processing and packaging plants to carrying people through airports and sushi through restaurants, they serve a multitude of purposes and have made our lives much more convenient. Here are some interesting facts about conveyor belts to celebrate this unsung hero of industry – perhaps they will make you see them in a whole new light!

Conveyor belts date back to the 19th century

We might think of conveyor belts as a modern invention installed by companies such as in shiny new factories; however, they actually date back to 1892. At this time, they were invented for use in mines, where they revolutionized the industry by enabling easier transportation of coal, ores, and other heavy materials. It was in 1913 that Henry Ford introduced conveyor belt assembly lines to his factory in Michigan, and what we think of as the modern manufacturing line was born. Since then, conveyor belt systems have been further updated and are now used in a far broader range of companies and for many more purposes.

The longest conveyor belt in the world is 61 miles long

It might sound unbelievable, but the longest conveyor belt in the world is a staggering 61 miles (98 kilometers) long! Located in Morocco, it runs from a mining town called Bou Craa in the Western Sahara to the port town of Marsa near El Aaiun. It transports rocky ore from the mines to the coast, ready to be shipped across the globe. The longest suspended conveyor belt, on the other hand, is located in Brazil, where it transports limestone for 7.2 kilometers high over the difficult terrain below.

The fastest conveyor belt in the world operates at 15 meters a second

If you’ve ever been on a moving walkway at an airport, you’ll know that they tend to move pretty slowly. This holds true for conveyor belts in sushi restaurants and those carrying fragile items, but many industrial systems move at much higher speeds than those. The fastest conveyor belt system in the world is in operation in the Rhenish lignite mines in Germany. Owned by energy company RWE, its top speed is an amazing 15 meters per second, equivalent to 33.5 miles per hour!

Conveyor belts can be fun as well as functional

In addition to their many practical uses in industry, conveyor belts can be used for more lighthearted ventures too! For example, engineer Dermot Doyle and his team were inspired by British TV show Wallace and Gromit to create a fully automated, conveyor belt based machine that could cook a fresh pancake in about a minute. Featuring ordinary household objects such as an electric whisk and a gramophone, this unique machine went on display in a museum to inspire others to create their own exciting inventions!

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