V-Guide or Crowned Pulley, Which One is Right For You?

One of the largest issues of belt conveyor maintenance is belt tracking. When belts aren’t running straight on the pulleys it can cause premature wear and damage to the conveyor and belt. We set out to answer the debate between which is better for belt tracking, v-guiding or crowned pulleys?

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Behind the Belt

Belt tracking issues are some of the fastest ways to shut down a conveyor system. If a belt isn’t tracking properly, it will run along the edge of the conveyor frame and start becoming frayed, leading to premature belt failure. And, if you don’t have a spare belt on hand, your line could be shut down indefinitely until a replacement belt is obtained.


V-guided belts have a “v” shaped plastic adhered to the back of the conveyor belt. This “v” then fits in a groove that runs the length of the conveyor and pulleys. V-guide continuously tracks the belt and keeps it running straight. For best bonding results the V-guide material, which is generally PVC or urethane, should be the same was the belt being used. However, there are belts that cannot be used with V-Guiding such as, Teflon, polypropylene, and silicon-based belts. These belts are usually used in very specific applications like high heat or some food applications. For most, V-guiding will work for their applications.

  • Provides belt tracking along entire length of conveyor
  • Multiple traction surface options
  • Straight pulley provides consistent transfer for small or odd shaped products
  • Limits belting options
  • Belts are not completely flat when transporting small or light-weight products.
  • Cannot be used with a nose bar transfer
Crowned Pulley

Crowned pulley tracking is a pulley with a cylindrical middle section and tapered ends. This method of tracking works by using the tapered ends of the pulley to steer the belt back to the center of the roller when it starts drifting off to the left or the right. Many types of belt materials can be used.

  • Works with most belt types. Most manufacturers assume some type of crowned pulley tracking method will be used with their belts.
  • Can be used for nose bar transfers
  • No control over belt tracking along the conveyor bed. The tracking only happens on the ends of the conveyor.
  • Can be difficult to transfer small or odd shaped products. 

Which tracking option is right for you?

Each belt has its pros and cons making it better at some things than others. Which tracking method you choose is going to depend on your application. If you have an application that needs a knife edge transfer then a crowned roller is going to be right for you because a V-guide belt can’t go over such a small pulley diameter. A different application might call for a conveyor in a space where performing maintenance is difficult. In that scenario, a V-guided belt would be good because the belt is being continually tracked as it is operating which can reduce belt maintenance.

With many of today’s conveyor applications running 24/7, it is important that maintenance times are reduced and conveyors are working properly. Having reliable belt tracking on your conveyors can help lower maintenance times and keep products moving smoothly. Whether you choose a crowned pulley or V-guide tracking method each one can ensure proper belt tracking and minimize problems associated with belt tracking.

Watch: Belt Conveyor Tracking: V-Guided vs. Crowned Roller

Want to learn more?

Take a look at these resources available on belt tracking.

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