Key Principles & Best Practices of Lightweight Belting-2018

Tuesday and Wednesday
April 17-18, 2018
Grand Rapids, MI

Registration is now closed.

NIBA's new and improved Key Principles & Best Practices of Lightweight Belting course offers employees new to your organization or those who are interested in learning more about lightweight belting, the opportunity to become acclimated with fundamental principles and essential techniques in a focused, two-day classroom setting.

Upon completion of this class, attendees will have a practical understanding of lightweight belting. They will learn the composition and general manufacturing process of the belts. They will be exposed to assorted fabrications which enhance the value and functionality of the product. Instructors will present key features and benefits of the various styles of lightweight belting, discuss common industry standards, as well as offer tips on trouble-shooting, belt tracking and how to avoid common and costly failures in the field. Attendees will also have the opportunity for ample Q&A with top industry professionals.

NIBA training courses educate and add real world value for those who are in the business of providing solutions to operational problems on conveyors. By combining knowledge of lightweight belting, explaining features and benefits of the products, conveyor system design attributes and requirements, as well as trouble shooting skills, this valuable learning opportunity is great as an introduction to the industry or a refresher course to an industry veteran. Classroom interaction among participants enhances learning opportunities and provides attendees with valuable industry relationships. Our course provides an interactive format with hands-on learning and demonstrations, as well as immediate answers to questions.  Make plans now to attend this dynamic, interactive seminar, but hurry, space is limited.

Course Objective

To learn the basics of lightweight belting, which includes synthetics, rubber, nylon core, quick splice, all plastic, and modular belting. The course will cover belt construction, splicing options, accessories and more.

Who Should Attend?

All persons in the light-duty belting industry who would benefit from utilizing the latest technology and applications. Attendees will be exposed to comprehensive information providing a means to increase equity with their customer base.

Seminar Location

1995 Oak Industrial Dr NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505

Course Fee

Course enrollment is limited to 25 registrants. 

  • NIBA Distributor/Fabricator: $595 
  • NIBA Manufacturer or Affiliate: $645
  • Non-Members: $770

10% discount on all registrations from companies who send more than one attendee. 

Fee includes admission to the entire seminar, handouts and materials, breakfast, refreshment breaks and lunch each day.

Seminar Lodging

Country Inn & Suites
3251 Deposit Dr NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49546

Reserve your guest room online or call the hotel directly at (616) 942-7000.  Please reference the "NIBA Seminar" to receive the discounted $114.99 rate plus tax per night for a standard room.  Hot breakfast buffet is included.  Suites may also be reserved at a reduced rate based on hotel availability.  This rate assumes up to 2 adults per room.  An occupancy fee of $10 for each additional adult may apply.

Cut off date: March 31, 2018

Cancellation Policy

A $50 cancellation fee is in effect prior to March 27, 2018. After that date, refunds cannot be guaranteed. 


Monday, April 16, 2018:

7:00pm – 9:00pm     Optional: Dinner with the Trainers
                                 *Participants are responsible for their own bill

                                  Gravity (In the same parking lot as hotel)
                                  3210 Deposit Dr NE

Tuesday, April 17, 2017:

8:00am - 8:30am    Welcome and introductions

8:30am – 11:00am    Module #1 Basic Properties of Conveyor Belts

  • Belt construction
  • Fabrics
  • Weaves
  • Covers
  • Compounds
  • Additives
  • Key information on data sheets

11:00am - 12:00pm    Site Visit to Uniband to see how conveyor belt is manufactured

12:00pm - 1:00pm    Lunch

1:00pm – 4:00pm    Module #2 Splicing, Custom Fabrications and Hands-On Demonstrations

  • Thermoplastic splicing methods
  • Thermoset splicing methods
  • Longitudinal splicing
  • Mechanical splicing
  • Break
  • Splicing demonstrations - Hands-On
    • Roller lacer demo
    • Staple fastener demo
    • Thermoplastic finger splice demo
    • Thermoset splice demo
    • Thermoplastic round belt demo

4:00pm - 4:30pm    Module #2 Splicing, Custom Fabrications and Hands-On Demonstrations

  • Customer fabrications
  • Guides
  • Cleats
  • Sidewalls
  • Specialty custom fabrics
  • Review

Wednesday, April 18, 2017:

8:00am - 8:30am    Helpful Tools for Customer Visits

8:15am - 10:00am    Module #3 Conveyor Design, Trouble Shooting and Hand-On Demonstrations

  • Design types
  • Hands-on conveyor demonstration
  • Conveyor components
  • Conveyor trouble shooting
  • Belt tracking

10:00am - 10:15am    Break

10:15am – 12:00pm    Module #3 Conveyor Design, Trouble Shooting and Hand-On Demonstrations

  • Other lightweight belt types
  • Monolithic
  • Plastic modular
  • High Temperature
  • Timing belts
  • Nylon core
  • Power transmission

12:00pm - 1:00pm    Lunch

1:00pm - 2:30pm    Module #4 Industries and Applications

  • Food
    • Bakeries
    • Snack foods & confectionary
    • Processing
    • Packaging

2:30pm - 2:45pm     Break

2:45pm - 4:00pm    Module #4 Industries and Applications

  • Industrial
    • Packaging handling & distribution
    • Building trade
    • Recycling

4:00pm - 4:15pm    Module #4 Industries and Applications

  • Review

4:15pm - 4:30pm    Key Principles & Best Practices of Lightweight Belting

  • Course review, attendee survey and wrap-up

Instructors Bios

Instructors are NIBA committee members Steve Fournier, Apache Inc; Mike Francis, Dunham Rubber & Belting Corporation and Mike VandenAkker, Sparks Belting Company.


 Steve Fournier has 23+ years’ experience in the belting industry. His experience includes onsite lightweight installation, system troubleshooting ,and product recommendations as well as application training. His roles have included territory sales & installation, Regional Manager, Lightweight Product Manager, and currently the Director of Strategic Accounts at Apache, Inc.

Mike Francis  is a partner at Dunham Rubber and Belting and serves as Sales Manager. During his 38 years at Dunham Rubber he has worked as a belt fabricator/installer, worked in inside sales, managed an outside sales territory and worked as belt product manager.


Michael VandenAkker has worked 37 years in the belting industry working for Sparks Belting Company. Currently the product manager responsible for the specifying, testing, approving all procurement of  belting inventory . He also serve as the application specialist to the sales force recommending and training on proper belt selection and application. Experienced instructor in belt constructions, fabricating, splicing and applications.


Beth Miller is Director of Marketing - Light Duty at Flexco, and has more than 27 years of experience in serving global end users, distributors, OEMs, and belting companies engaged in various light duty applications, including package and parts handling, agriculture, food processing, commercial laundry, corrugated boxboard, filter media, and related industries. She is responsible for the development and implementation of marketing strategies for these markets and the light-duty product lines. Miller holds a Bachelor’s degree from Hope College and has taken numerous M.B.A. classes from Western Michigan University.

                Tom Archer is Vice President and Sales Manager for Vaughn Belting Co. He has spent over 30 years in the belting industry working for both Manufacturer’s and Distributor’s. With a specialty in paper manufacturing and converting, Tom has been engineering and troubleshooting belting in paper mills for his entire career. With a focus on lightweight  and nylon core belting, his experience in the industry helps him solve problems and create positive results for the customer. Tom is a graduate of Western Carolina University with a degree in finance.

For any questions about this training please contact Amanda Stimart at