How to Check Conveyor Belt Tension


Proper conveyor belt tension is crucial to ensuring the efficiency and safety of the conveying system. In this article by Bsbeltfactory, we will explain how conveyor tension affects conveyor belt performance and conveyor belt tension adjustment.

How Conveyor Tension Affects

The tensioning device plays a crucial role in belt conveyors by adjusting tension to ensure appropriate friction and traction, regulating belt sag, addressing unstable conditions, and compensating for belt elongation. Its effects are multi-faceted as follows:

  • Ensuring Friction and Traction:

By applying sufficient tension at the separation point, the tensioning device maintains the required friction between the belt and the drive pulley, allowing for stable and efficient belt operation. Insufficient tension would result in reduced friction and inadequate traction, leading to belt slippage and compromised performance.

  • Regulating Belt Sag:

The tensioning device allows for the adjustment of belt sag between the rollers. Excessive sag can cause issues like material accumulation, belt misalignment, and increased resistance, affecting conveyor efficiency. By appropriately adjusting the tension, the device ensures optimal belt sag, enhancing conveying efficiency and minimizing failures.

  • Adapting to Unstable Conditions:

The tensioning device plays a vital role in adjusting tension during startup, stopping, and changes in load weight. It provides greater tension during startup to facilitate sufficient traction, reduces tension during stopping to prevent failures, and promptly adjusts tension in response to load weight changes, maintaining system balance and ensuring smooth conveyor operation.

  • Compensating for Belt Elongation:

Over time, belts naturally elongate. The tensioning device compensates for this elongation, utilizing the extra margin when necessary for joint modifications or adjustments. By accommodating belt elongation, the tensioning device extends the belt’s lifespan, reducing maintenance frequency and the need for replacement.

By effectively adjusting tension, the tensioning device ensures the stable operation and efficient material conveyance of belt conveyors.

Factors to Consider for Conveyor Belt Tension Adjustment

Ensuring the appropriate tension level is crucial for the efficient and safe operation of belt conveyors. Here are the key factors for adjusting the tension of a conveyor belt:

  • A proper tension level:

Adjust the tension to ensure the belt operates smoothly without slipping or being overly tensioned, based on the specific requirements and design specifications of the conveyor. You can refer to supplier recommendations or relevant standards to determine the appropriate tension level.

  • A right tensioner type:

Select the appropriate type of tensioner based on the working method and conditions of the conveyor. Different tensioner types, such as screw rod tensioners, heavy hammer tensioners, winch tensioners, and hydraulic automatic tensioners, have distinct characteristics and application scopes. Choose the suitable tensioner type considering the specific working environment and requirements.

  • A suitable installation location:

The placement of the tensioner is critical for effective tension transmission and minimizing the need for additional equipment. Choose the optimal installation position based on the conveyor type and working conditions to ensure the tensioner functions effectively.

  • Regular inspection and adjustment:

Belt tension may change over time and with varying operating conditions. It is important to periodically inspect the tension of the belt and make necessary adjustments to maintain proper working conditions. Regular inspection and adjustment of the tension help prevent issues and ensure the smooth operation of the conveyor.

When adjusting the tension of the conveyor belt, it is essential to consider the specific situation and follow relevant safety operating procedures. It is recommended to consult professionals or refer to technical guidelines to ensure accuracy and safety before making any adjustments.

3 Common Types of Conveyor Belt Tensioning Methods:

In terms of structural types, belt tension adjustment can be classified into three categories: fixed, heavy hammer, and automatic tensioners.

1. Fixed conveyor belt tension

Fixed tensioners include screw tensioners and fixed winch tensioners. Screw tensioners adjust the tension by rotating a screw, which moves the movable frame forward or backward to tighten or loosen the belt. This structure is simple but has limited applicability and is not suitable for long-distance or high-power conveyors. Fixed winch tensioners control tension by using an electric winch to pull the drum frame. However, they are only suitable for conveyors with small angles or near-horizontal inclinations.

2. Heavy hammer conveyor belt tension

Common types of heavy hammer tensioners include single heavy hammers, multiple heavy hammers, and heavy hammer car types. These methods use the gravity of heavy hammers or blocks to tension the drum frame downward. By adjusting the weight, the appropriate tension can be ensured. However, due to limited space availability, heavy hammer tensioners are only suitable for conveyors with low tension.

3. Automatic conveyor belt tension

Automatic tensioners are the most widely used type, and among them, the automatic winch tensioner has unique advantages. It adjusts the tension force based on the belt’s deformation, ensuring the belt remains properly tensioned. In practical applications, efficient, safe, and cost-effective tensioners should be chosen based on the different conveyor types, and the optimal installation position should be determined to ensure the smooth, safe, and efficient operation of the belt conveyor.

In specific applications, select the appropriate tensioner type based on the conveyor’s mode of transport (inclined, horizontal, etc.) and consider the characteristics and application scope of various tensioners. For example, screw rod tensioners are suitable for inclined upward, parallel inclined upward, and short-distance horizontal conveyance. Heavy hammer tensioners are suitable for medium capacity and short to medium-distance conveyors, offering advantages such as easy maintenance and constant tension. Winch tensioners are suitable for inclined upward, horizontal, and inclined upward conveyance, but adjusting the tension is relatively inconvenient. Hydraulic automatic tensioners are suitable for long-distance and high-capacity conveyors, providing precise tension adjustment and remote operation capabilities.

Hence, we need to choose the appropriate type of tensioner and tensioning device based on the specific requirements and working conditions of the conveyor to ensure stable, safe, and efficient operation


Proper belt tension has a significant effect on the conveyor, directly affecting the belt tracking, which we have explained clearly in another article:15 Tips for Conveyor Belt Tracking and Belt Tracking Adjustment.

When designing the belt conveyor,  the belt tensioner with less auxiliary equipment, less investment, convenient maintenance, and a simple structure should be used at the best position. 

For installation, we also have some installation tips for your reference, to make full use of the tension generated by the belt’s own weight, thereby reducing the tension output of the tensioner, reducing unnecessary investment, and improving the safe operation of the equipment.

For assistance in your operation,  our engineers are ready for your support, contact us today.


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