Steel belts can help to overcome the variety of cleanliness problems faced by the users in the food industry. The versatility of steel belts makes them an increasingly important tool to avoid hygiene problems in food conveying lines and other areas.
The dangers in designing any conveyor system used in the food, beverage, packaging, and pharmaceutical industries are the formation of microorganisms within the machinery and spreading of these micro organisms by the machinery. Pre-requisites, therefore, are materials free from cracks - which may trap dirt, manufactured from non-corrosive materials and are easy to clean.
Traditional conveyors – having chains, plastic, PVC & PU belts are however still used despite the potential risk to contaminants. In Germany, a food manufacturer had to recall its products from the market place because they had become contaminated by oil used to lubricate the chain belt in their machine. Germs and harmful bacteria are attracted to dust generated by the lubricants, which can fall into food or other products.
To overcome this problem, the use of steel belts in such applications is growing. Their benefits and features can overcome the variety of cleanliness problems faced by users of belts in the food industry. Steel belts are easy to clean and can be made form a variety of stainless steel grades such as 304 FH and 316 FH, which possesses very high anti-corrosion properties. Wash-down with corrosive fluids is common place in such applications as the transport of dairy products and in such conveying lines is critical to prevent harmful bacterial infection.
Steel belts do not need to be lubricated in order to transmit power and are totally free from particulates unlike other belting. High temperature resistance and good heat transfer properties mean that they can even be used to cook on, saving processing time during food manufacture. There are many systems on the market claiming to be totally stainless but this is rarely the case as the system frame may be but the belt is often plastic or PU resulting in the problems described above.
Steel belts are not just available as flat conveyors, they can be customised in many ways and offer novel and exciting solutions to a many of complicated conveying problems. Belts can be perforated with complex perforation patterns for timing, vacuum or dosing applications. Mostly such belts are custom made to order. The belts can be made with custom belt attachments using attachments to time the belt, as location devices or product carriers. Attachments can be riveted, screwed, welded or glued to steel belts to match a customer’s exact requirement.
Belts can be coated with a variety of substances to alter their properties such as with FDA approved Teflon for non-stick or silicone for added friction.
In conclusion, the versatility of steel belts makes them an increasingly important tool to avoid hygiene problems in food conveying lines and other areas. Stainless steel systems which incorporate stainless steel frame, support, pulleys as well as a steel belt are the most obvious way achieve the highest degree of cleanliness.
Article Courtesy: The Prolific
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