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Ceramic Lagging Tile Loss – Causes and Prevention

Ceramic Lagging Tile Loss – Causes and Prevention

Ceramic lagging is chosen for pulleys where a long trouble free service life is required to ensure that the conveyor is operational when required and to avoid unplanned conveyor shutdowns. This is a critical for mining companies where conveyor down time costs run into thousands of dollars per minute. While ceramic lagging is considered expensive compared to other lagging options the cost is insignificant when compared to the cost of lost production, or the cost of a pulley change out when lagging failure occurs.

Ceramic Lagging Tile Loss – Causes and Prevention Image 1

A key factor in the longer service life expected from ceramic lagging is the ceramic tiles that are bonded to the rubber backing. These tiles are made from Aluminium Oxide – an extremely hard ceramic material that provides exceptional wear and abrasion resistance. It is critical to the performance of the ceramic lagging that the ceramic tiles remain in place in the rubber backing and are not removed during service. This is a very demanding dynamic application where the tiles are loaded and unloaded every time the pulley rotates – this constant flexing will quickly find out any area of weakness in the tile/rubber adhesion.

Unfortunately loss of ceramic tiles from ceramic lagging is an all too common mode of failure. This tile loss can occur for two basic reasons:

  • Debonding of the tiles from the rubber backing
  • Physical damage where the tiles are torn from the rubber backing
Both these failure modes for ceramic tile loss can be eliminated.


In order for the aluminium oxide tiles to adhere to the rubber backing the ceramic tiles must be treated with chemical adhesion promoters or adhesives. There is are multitude of these adhesives available from different manufacturers and most if applied correctly will provide a strong “initial” bond between the ceramic tile and the rubber. This is easily tested by holding the lagging in a fixed position and applying a load to the tile. A good bond has been achieved when the load applied to the tile eventually is high enough to tear the tile out of the rubber with a layer of rubber over all the tile surface that were in contact with the rubber (see photo #1) – this is called a 100% rubber tear bond.