A laced baler belt is only as strong as its fasteners. And fasteners are at their strongest when they are installed correctly. Are you sure you aren’t making some of these common mistakes when installing Alligator® Rivet fasteners? Check out our list below and find out:
Some of the most common mistakes when installing any fastener often happen well before you actually get to the fastener installation part. The first step some people overlook is to square the belt ends. You can complete every step from here on out with perfection, but your belts won’t track straight if the belt ends are crooked.
Don’t Skimp on the Skive
Laying a good foundation is essential to quality work and the belt skive is no exception. A good skive is to belt fasteners what a good windrow is to a hay bale. This is probably the most common mistake people make when installing belt fasteners because it takes the proper tools, training, and a little bit more time to do it the right way. It is very tempting to rush this part when impatient producers with hay down, and belts in disrepair are lining up. However, unless you want them back soon cursing your repair job, you may want to take more care with this important step.
If you look closely at a strip of Alligator® Rivet lace, you’ll notice on one side there are tiny alligators embossed in the steel. Those little guys are there for a reason. Make sure when you place the fastener strip in the Alligator® Rivet tool that the alligators are facing up. If you don’t, the rivets won’t set properly, and the splice will fail prematurely. (Note: The new Alligator® Rivet Low Profile fasteners are embossed with “Flexco” instead of alligators.)
Belt fasteners work best when the legs on the fastener strip are parallel to each other. The throat of the fastener strips are slightly open to make it easier to fit on the belt, so you will need to tap the fastener plate down once you have positioned the belt into the lace on the tool. Tap the strip down so the legs are touching the belt.
Order of Rivets
The order rivets are installed is a step where many people undo the work of squaring their belt ends. When you drive rivets through the belt, it will displace some of the rubber, and that rubber has to go somewhere. If you were to simply install the rivets from left to right, you will push the rubber to the right for every rivet, and the end result will be a crooked end and a belt that won’t track straight on a baler. To avoid this common mistake, it is important to control the flow of the rubber by installing the rivets in a particular order and a particular way.
If you don’t set the rivets well they can start popping out of the splice and cause the fasteners to fail. You need to use enough force to set the rivets so the legs of the fasteners are parallel. For a proper set, you must use the tool on a solid surface and the pilot nails must not be removed from the tool until you are finished. If you hammer at the rivets without the tool and pilot nails, you’re only undoing your work. On the flip side, for those using air hammers, you are likely using too much force to set those rivets. When setting Alligator® Rivets pneumatically, the pressure should not exceed 85psi.
The Alligator® Rivet Application Gauge
You’ve seen them laying around, because they are everywhere; and for good reason. Using the gauge can help you avoid many of the preceding mistakes. The gauge lets you know if the belt is too thick or too thin, how far back you need to skive the belt ends, and the maximum height of the finished splice. Pass all the tests on the gauge and chances are you have a well installed Alligator® Rivet splice.