Proper Storage of Baler Belts
Baler belts can be under-appreciated by many as just another part of the baler, however the belts are engineered to perform a very important job. It is the engineering qualities they contain that can also make them vulnerable, especially in cases where they are not properly stored.
It is important to note that improper storage can damage baler belts or negatively affect their performance. Exposure to certain chemical and elements can weaken or damage the material and degrade the performance and life of the belt. One of the most common issues is belt camber due to water exposure during storage.
Most baler belting are manufactured in wide sheets in several hundred feet long rolls called slabs. This base material is then slit to width and cut to length in order to have fasteners installed and become a baler belt. Slit-to-width belt edges have exposed fabric that can absorb moisture. If this happens, the threads in the fabric will enlarge causing the overall length of the fabric to shrink. When one edge is exposed to water, it will cause the belt edge to shrink and the belt to camber. Cambered belts will not track straight and will likely cause serious problems for the baler operator.
AG Belt Recommendations
- Always store belts indoors and out of the elements
- When possible, try to store belts off the ground by using pallets or other means
- If stored on the ground, do not store with the edges down. Belts stored on their edges can wick moisture, even when stored inside and on concrete.
- For long term storage, do not expose belts to heat, sunlight, moisture, oil or oil-based chemicals, corrosive chemicals, or high humidity
- For best results, store in a dry, climate-controlled environment
On the baler:
Follow maintenance and storage instructions in the implement owner's manual.
What damages baler belts?
- Excessive UV Exposure/Sunlight
- Excessive exposure to moisture (e.g. storing belts where water pools)
- Repeated exposure to the elements
- Exposure to oil-based chemicals
- Exposure to corrosive chemicals
- Improper or negligent baler maintenance
- Improper or negligent connecting pin replacement
- Improper fastener selection and/or installation
- Baling of foreign objects/debris/litter (sticks, glass, rocks, etc.)
- Uneven windrows or uneven feeding of windrows into the baling chamber
- Overfilling the baling chamber
- Baling certain crops (e.g. corn stalks)
- Incorrect belt routing
- Improper belt configurations
- Improper belt lengths
- Improper belt skive depth or reach-back
- Improper tools used to skive belt ends
- Mixture of 2-ply and 3-ply belts
- Mixing belts from different manufacturers