What is a Biscuit Conveyor Belt?
Biscuit conveyor belts are a form of conveyor belt that is used in the manufacturing and production of biscuits and crackers.
There are two forms of biscuit conveyor belts; the woven conveyor belt; which is used pre-oven and post-oven, and the modular conveyor belt; which is used for transportation and tracking.
What are Biscuit Conveyor Belts Made from?
Modular conveyor belts that are used solely in transporting the packaging of the biscuit are made from modular plastic blocks. The modular conveyor belt is a fantastic solution, because should a block break, the belt is constructed in a way that means only the block needs to be replaced, and not the whole conveyor belt. This makes the modular conveyor belt an extreely cost-effective solution.
Woven conveyor belts that are used for the production of biscuits and crackers are made using either one of three materials, or a blend of each. This depends on the requirement from the belt.
Examples of requirements for biscuit conveyor belting may be:
Depending on the moisture regain reqired from the belt, the conveyor belt will vary from cotton to polyester. Cotton has a stronger moisture regain than both polyester and nylon belting. This makes cotton a better conveyor belt material for biscuits and crackers with a denser base.
Nylon conveyor belting is known to be more durable, as it can be chemically manipulated. However, in food manufacturing this ‘coating’ treatment must be done in accordance with FDA approval to ensure the belting doesn’t contaminate the biscuit.
Polyester when treated with a coating, is also a very durable conveyor belt solution, which is highly durable against abrasion and tear. The problem lies with polyester in it’s inability to absorb vegetable fats, which makes the material a more suitable belt for less dense biscuits.
Air permeability is about as much the material as it is the weave, do a degree. However, it is known that cotton belting provides a smoother air transition through the weave. This allows for more efficient cooling of the base of the biscuit/cracker, which positively impacts the quality of the biscuit delivered.
Both cotton, nylon and even polyester have strong lifespans, especially when maintained well, and in the right working environment.
The longest lifespan is the nylon based industrial belt, closely followed by cotton.
A strong conveyor belt system that is looked after correctly will last around 18+ months, and sometimes even longer.
The Process of Manufacturing Biscuits Using Conveyor Belts
Biscuits all over the world are made using biscuit conveyor belts. Shortbreads, crackers, bourbons, custard creams and more. The biscuit you might be eating while reading this article with your cup of tea or coffee has a high possibility of being manufactured using a conveyor belt system.
Depending on the stage of the biscuit manufacturing process, various conveyor belting systems are used. In fact, the biscuit manufacturing process can be broken down into four key stages of production:
Stage One - Pre-Oven Stage
Most biscuits are made using a soft-dough. During stage one of the biscuit production process rotary mouldar belting, and cotton belts are used.
During this stage, the steamed or boiled dough (referred to as ‘kibbled dough’) is put through a dough-hopper. The machine usually determines the piece weight per biscuit.
This process usually a castellated forcing roll and molding roll to press the dough together with the engraved molding roll, giving the biscuit it’s famous engraved design (think Oreo, Malted Milk’s, McVities etc.)
Next, the woven endless extraction web is pressed against the molding using a rubber covered roll, and the dough biscuits are removed from the engraved impressions in the molding roll.
The dough pieces are then passed onto a panning web with a nose form from the molder roll, and move on to the next stage of the biscuit production process.
Traditionally, cotton conveyor belts have been used throughout this process due to their effective ply. The cotton belting is used in both stage one and stage three of the biscuit conveyor belt solution.
Stage Two - Oven/Baking Stage
During the the baking stage of the biscuit production process, different biscuits will be cooked at varying temperatures inside a ‘tunnel oven’. These temperatures are set based on desired softness, color and texture of biscuit depending on the grain used to create the dough. Depending on the type of oven, and amount of zones used, the number of extraction points and biscuit size can also vary.
During this process the dough may go through a number of heating methods, to facilitate baking, and the ovens will manage the moisture removal internally, before passing the cookies and biscuits onto metal wire mesh for the next stage of the biscuit manufacturing process.
By the end of the bake the biscuit produced will have changed it’s moisture content, density, shape, color.
Stage Three Post-Oven - The Cooling Section
As the biscuit is finished baking, it needs to cool, and be ready for handling. Therefore, it is placed back onto a cotton conveyor belt, or, in some cases, a woven air slide belt.
These types of woven conveyor belts are typically used as they help aid the cooling process of the biscuit manufacturing much quicker than other conveyor belts would. This is due to their air permeability (the ability the belt has to use it’s ply to allow air to pass through the bottom of the belt, cooling the bottom of the biscuit as well as the revealed top of the biscuit being subject to fan air within a convection tunnel.
Later on in the cooling stage of biscuit production, the hardened, yet still hot biscuit is moved onto a modular conveyor belt and the process of removing burnt and broken biscuits is formed before moving into the final stage of biscuit production, the packaging section.
Stage Four - Packing Section
Biscuit Conveyor Belt Manufacturers
Biscuit conveyor belt manufacturers in India will usually source materials such as British cotton, and manufacture in Asia before moving the belt to the required location. This is not an uncommon practice, and any conveyor belt manufacturer worth their grain of salt will have a robust and efficient logistics and delivery plan for their belting.
Conveyor belt manufacturers, like ClipOn ship to biscuit manufacturing companies in Egypt, Africa, India, China, the UK and America.
When dealing with a biscuit belt manufacturer, ensure you receive first-in-class consultation and analysis of your current situation before engaging in a conveyor belt solution. Again, the best conveyor belt manufacturers provide consultation, analysis of your work area, and conveyor belt solution, and requirements before providing a final solution.
Biscuit Conveyor Belts to Choose from...
Cotton Conveyor Belts are our specialty, and can be used across all food production verticals due to their durability and long-life span.
Air Slide Belts are used specifically in the cooling section of the biscuit manufacturing processes as air travels through the underneath ply.
Solid Heavy Duty Belt
Our in house specialty renders us the unique ability to form heavy conveyor belts. Belts from 6mm to 16mm, and in 4000 GSM to 14000 GSM . These belts can endure pressure upto 75 Mpa with coeffecicient of friction greater than 0.4. Our belts can be made with blended yarns that we would design to ensure your material would be transported seamlessly.