A laced baler belt is only as strong as its fasteners, and fasteners are strongest when they are installed correctly. Service technicians at agricultural dealers should follow the steps below when installing Alligator® Rivet fasteners to baler belts.
Square belt ends
Common mistakes when installing any fastener often happen well before you actually get to the fastener installation part. The first step people often overlook is to square the belt ends. Belts won’t track straight if belt ends are crooked, even if every step from here on out is completed perfectly.
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 one of the most common mistakes made when installing belt fasteners because it takes proper tooling, training and more time to do it the right way. It is tempting to rush this part when impatient producers with hay down, and belts in disrepair are lining up. However, unless you want customers to return cursing your repair job, you’ll want to take more care with this step.
install alligator® Rivet fasteners lace up
If you look closely at a strip of Alligator® Rivet lace, you’ll notice tiny alligators embossed in the steel on one side. 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: Alligator® Rivet Low Profile fasteners are embossed with “Flexco” instead of alligators.)
Tap fastener plate down
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. Once you have positioned the belt into the lace on the tool, tap the fastener plate down. Then, tap the strip down so the legs are touching the belt.
drive Alligator rivets in the proper order
The order rivets are installed is 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.
Use Enough Force to Set the Rivets
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, the tool must be on a solid surface and the pilot nails cannot 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 85 psi.
check your work with an 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.
When hay and forage season kicks in, you don’t have time for downtime. Whether you’re round hay baler is in need of a new baler belt or you have questions about repairing an existing one, the baler belt team at Mi Conveyance Solutions is ready to answer your call. Contact us today to learn more about our baler belting products and programs.