Case Study: Cementing Our Field Service CapabilitiesJanuary 17, 2024
Rock Chucker™ Conveyor Belts – When There’s No Time for DowntimeJanuary 26, 2024
Correcting Common Clipper® Wire Hook Issues
When customers encounter issues with the performance and longevity of their Clipper® Wire Hook Fasteners from agriculture producers, it often leads to questions about switching to one of the rivet-style fasteners found on many current baler models. However, our Motion Conveyance Solutions experts suggest using caution when shopping for non-OEM lacing options. For many balers, Clipper® hooks are likely the best option.
Clipper® Wire Hooks Are Designed for Your Baler
Your baler's design and development are dependent on using a particular type of belt with a specific fastener. If your baler was designed to use Clipper® Wire Hooks, and you change the belt or fastener type, you may inadvertently trade in one problem for another.
So, why are you having so many problems with wire hooks failing if your baler was designed to use them? Often, these issues are problems that can be solved with troubleshooting.
Here are some of the most common issues encountered:
Incorrect Hook Size & Type
There are numerous sizes and types of wire hooks, and not all of theme will work for your system. Hooks can be round, rectangular, or high-tensile steel. Some hooks reach further back on the belt, giving more holding power. In other cases, pulley diameters could make this hook reach problematic.
The wrong hook size could be too small or too large for the thickness of your belt, causing improper installation. Ensure you know your belt and pulley diameter specifications in order to select the correct hook size and type for your system.
Belt Ends Not Skived/Squared Correctly
Preparing belt ends before installation is essential to the installation process. If your baler belt has a top cover profile, such as diamond top or roughtop, the profile should be removed in a process known as skiving. Skiving the belt end will reduce the belt's overall thickness. This allows the belt to be within range of the proper hook size and the legs of the hooks to clinch parallel, which is important to the strength and life of the skive.
If the belt ends are not cut square, this can cause your belts to mistrack or "walk" from side to side. This will wear the belt edges and increase the likelihood of your splice hanging up on a belt guide or walking on top of neighboring belts.
Improper Belt Lengths
If your baler belts have been shortened through repair, wear, or age-related shrinking, they will produce smaller bales. This can lead to producers overfilling the chamber beyond the belts' capacity. This overfilling typically leads to the fasteners pulling out and the splices failing.
Another source of splice failure is when the belt lengths have differences when they should not. This commonly occurs when replacing less than a full set. A significant enough difference in length can cause splice failure in the shorter belts or can cause longer belts to mistrack from an imbalance of tension on the belts.
Connecting Pin Replacement
Effective belt maintenance can be as easy as replacing connecting pins regularly. When pins are not replaced regularly, the hooks will wear through the nylon covering and abrade on the stainless-steel cable. The nylon covering will collect grit from the field and begin wearing your hooks. Our Motion Conveyance Solutions experts recommend using only nylon-covered cables for replacement pins.
Too Much Tension
Over-tensioning your belts will cause splices to fail. It may be that your belts need to be longer, you're overfilling the bale chamber, or you are baling silage with a baler or belts not designed for silage baling.
Aged Baler Belts
Belts can age based on time or their working and storage environment. Often, both factors reduce the ability of the belt to hold lace. The fabric plies in your baler belt, giving fasteners their holding power. With enough time or use, the fibers in these plies begin to break down and cannot hold the lace as well as when new.
Baler Maintenance Issues
Proper maintenance on your baler is essential to protecting your belts and your baler. Replacing connecting pins often, keeping bearings and rollers in good shape, and avoiding debris in the field can dramatically increase the life of your splices and belts.
Incorrectly installed wire hooks are likely to fail prematurely. Here are some tips to correctly install your hooks:
- The hook legs are parallel. The loop should not have a light bulb shape.
- Hook points should slightly penetrate the opposite side of the belt (.005"-.015").
- One-third to one-half of the wire diameter should embed into the belt.
- When installed, the 'knuckles' of the hook should not be higher than the legs.
Good Clinch: Hook legs are parallel, half of the wire diameter is embedded into the belt, and hook points have penetrated the belt.
Over-Clinch: This is functional but not an optimal splice. Try to avoid over-clinching in the future.
Under-Clinch: If the belt is still in lacer, embed fasteners further. If the belt is out of the lacer, reinsert the splice in the hook retainer/face strip, and embed the fasteners further.
For proper installation:
- Leave 1/4" on each edge of the belt unlaced. This guards against end hooks being pulled out.
- Use one more hook on the leading end than on the trailing end.
- Chamfer the trailing end.
- Hooks should be uniformly embedded across the entire width of the splice.
- Edges of the belt should line up when the laced belt ends are connected.
- Run your fingernail across loops of splice; loops should not move.