Conveyor Belt Maintenance

conveyor belt adjustment
conveyor belt alignment
conveyor belt alignment methods
conveyor belt coefficient of friction
conveyor belt failure analysis
conveyor belt installation
conveyor belt maintenance checklist
conveyor belt maintenance procedure
conveyor belt maintenance tool

conveyor belt operation

conveyor belt tracking
conveyor belt tracking guide
conveyor belt tracking issues
conveyor belt tracking methods
conveyor belt tracking problems
conveyor belt tracking system
conveyor belt tracking tips

Conveyor Belt Maintenance - Keeping Your Conveyor Belt Solution in Top Shape

Conveyor belt systems have a natural life-cycle. Over the course of time, wear and tear will contribute to the belt deteriorating. Depending on how well you maintain your belting solution will determine the length, in which, your belt remains at a ‘performance’ standard. 

The average life-cycle of a conveyor belt is between two to twelve years based on your maintenance. Naturally, we wish to have our conveyor systems last as long as possible; this ensures optimum efficiency and return on investment from your conveyor solution. 

In order to achieve a longstanding conveyor system, there are conveyor belt maintenance requirements that you must undertake to ensure your belt lasts as long as possible.

Installing Your Conveyor System

Before installation a conveyor belt must be squared to ensure stress payloads are even throughout the conveyor belt. In the biscuit manufacturing trade, cotton conveyor belting is used and there is less of a requirement for squaring based on weight loads as the transferring of dough pieces through a conveyor system is relatively light loading.

The recommended squaring method for belting ends is the ‘centreline’ method. The centreline method requires measuring across the belt width on both belt ends at multiple points that are evenly spaced between each, before marking  the center of each point. Finally, a chalk piece is used to draw the centreline from which the square cutting can be executed.

If this is not executed correctly, stress loads will be uneven, which can damage the conveyor belt and ultimately, reduce the life-cycle of the belt, while also ‘failing’ on multiple occasions.

A conveyor belt needs to be squared correctly to make sure stress loads are equally distributed throughout. Unequally distributed loads will stress the belt unevenly which can result in a reduced life-span and an increased risk of downtime as a result of technical failures.

Once the belt has been squared, it must be placed with the correct tension so as to avoid slippage. Having the correct conveyor belt alignment is key. The belting must be centered to avoid any potential problems that could cause further issues with the belt installation.

Naturally, a belt will have a little left-to-right sway. However, the belt tracking must be adjusted to accommodate a sway bias to one side and balance the belt tracking out again.

This will contribute to the belt running smoothly and without noise. Should the belting not be running smoothly or silently, you should review the conveyor tracking immediately.

You should also ensure the belt sits on the support system to avoid what is referred to as the ‘push effect’. This ensures the return path is at an optimal level.

Finally, you must ensure the drive and support rollers are set correctly, otherwise the belt will not run straight and will roll. 

You achieve this by ensuring that your conveyor belt supplier takes care of installing the belt system drive, idle and support roller to fit the requirements of the conveyor belt. By taking this responsibility on yourself, you risk losing the straight run of your belting, which causes a shorter belt lifespan over time.

Checking and Adjusting Your Conveyor Belt Tracking is Correct

As briefly discussed there are a few things you must consider during the installation stage of the conveyor system to ensure that the belt is tracking correctly. Failure to execute these procedures will result in incorrect conveyor tracking and will require further guidance on conveyor tracking to correct the conveyor system.

To ensure you’re tracking is correct, you should measure the belt tension – this will usually show a 1% elongation. To measure belt elongation, you should mark the edges of your belt and tension the take-up adjustment until the marks you have made on the edges align with your required belt tension.

Something to check for when making sure the belt tracking is correct is to keep an eye out for any debris from production. Older or used conveyors will naturally have debris from constant use. This includes belts used in industries like biscuit and cracker production. 

You should also consider contamination – remember the material of a belt conveyor can be susceptible to the elements. It is therefore important to understand the environmental conditions for which your conveyor belt will operate. 

Your conveyor manufacturer will know the direct sciences behind the conditions for each conveyor belting material. During the scoping phase of your build, you should liaise with the conveyor belt manufacturer regarding the belt requirements and conditions for which it is best to operate in. 

Finally, the coefficient of friction must be checked and corrected to ensure that the conveyor tracking is correct. The coefficient of friction varies depending on the conveyor belt material used. To calculate the coefficient of friction is a complex mathematical calculation, using frictional force. To learn how to calculate the friction, use this method.

Correct Way to Perform a Conveyor System Inspection

The first thing you need to look at when performing a conveyor belt inspection is check that the frame is level. A high percentage of conveyor belts that aren’t performing to maximum efficiency are usually down to incorrect tracking as a result of the belt being out of kilter and not level.

If the bed isn’t square, the conveyor will lean to one side and slip. To rectify this, it’s a simple case of using a balanced level to check the frame is straight or ‘square’ and the pulleys are level. To measure levelness, you should measure from one corner to the opposite corner on each side of the conveyor. if these do not equal, the belt is not level and should be leveled. The conveyor belts usually come with ‘squaring rods’ provided by the manufacturers. Squaring rods are used to pull the belt frame into the correct alignment.

Never track the conveyor solely from the steering end pulley, nor from any one side for that matter. This will cause further tracking and alignment issues for the belt; making life a lot harder to maintain or readjust the conveyor system. Any good conveyor solution will come with idlers that will sit underneath the system. Adjusting the rollers will improving belt tracking. 

Performing Belt Failure Analysis

When performing a belt failure analysis in conveyor belt maintenance, there is no specific procedure as such to do so. However, there are analysis techniques that you can undertake through any process of your choice that constitutes being part of a belt failure analysis. 

The first part of the of the analysis is undertaken as per the above process to identify and adjust conveyor system tracking as per your requirements.

Secondly, check if the belt has worn. You can find this information as a result of your conveyor belt system inspection. If the tracking is incorrect and the alignment is incorrect, then the chances the belt is wearing or worn are likely to be higher. 

Thirdly, you must check for abrasions. A belt may catch on something, debris from other machinery or logistical operations within the factory may cause abrasion or a too heavy a load may cause a tear. While quality conveyor systems should be more averse to abrasion, circumstances may cause one nonetheless. Therefore, analyzing the belt for abrasions is an important facet for conveyor belt maintenance.

 

Thermoplastic Conveyor Belts – Everything You Need to Know

What are Thermoplastic Conveyor Belts?

Thermoplastic conveyor belts are forms of plastic conveyor belts using different kinds of thermoplastic polymers for varying usages across multiple manufacturing industries.

Each type of thermoplastic polymer has a different properties for temperature resistance, surface compounds, shape and resistance to abrasion and these specific properties are harnessed uniquely for the industry the thermoplastic belt will serve. 

What is Thermoplastic Polymer?

Thermoplastic polymer is widely recognized as it accounts for at least 34% of all plastic usage worldwide. 

Specifically, thermoplastic polymer is used across all industries from water bottles, to the tupperware you use on a daily basis to store food and lunches. 

In a nutshell a thermoplastic polymer forms when multiple ‘monomers’ are linked together into chains. These ‘chains’ are linked together using electrical bonding often referred to as the Van der Waal method, which weakly attracts the monomers together (copolymerized) to create the ‘bond’ and accompanying finished polymer.

Each polymer chain varies depending on the link compound is is chemically mixed with For example, PU using urethane compounds to link the monomers together to create the thermoplastic polyurethane. 

What Types of Plastics Are Thermoplastic Belts Made From?

Each polymer compound varies in it’s properties and the elements for which it can perform and is used in conveyor belt solutions. 

For industrial conveyor belts, the specific types of thermoplastic polymers are; polyurethane (PU), polyproplene (PP), polyethelene (PE) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). 

Polyurethane Belts (PU)

PU belts are manufactured following FDA approved compounds and manufacturing methods to ensure that the thermoplastic conveyor belt is suitable for the food manufacturing industry. This belt can also be used across pharmaceutical, metal transportation and textile industries. 

PU conveyor belts are used in these industries due to key features of the thermoplastic polymer. PU belts have a good mid-range temperature resistance of between -30’C to 60’C which allows the belt to perform in sub-zero freezing conditions perfect for the pharmaceutical industry and manufacturing of chemicals and medicines, but also allows the belt to perform in extreme heats without melting, changing shape or tearing.

Due to the chemical compounds of polyurethane conveyor belts, PU belting has a very strong resistance to water, oils and cleaning materials, making it an easy-to-maintain belt perfect for food preparation and manufacturing belts. 

Polyproplene Belts (PP)

Polyproplene conveyor belts are a lightweight thermoplastic belt used for less harsh conditions to that of it’s PU compatriot. PP conveyor belts perform within a smaller temperature threshold of between 10’c to 50’C. 

The compound elements for PP belting allows for a superb cost-to-performance ratio, making the belt a cost-effective solution for businesses looking for thermoplastic belts in the food manufacturing industries.

A key feature of the PP conveyor belt is its resistance to abrasion and wear and tear.  The PP belt is extremely hard and has very high strength compounds, making it a perfect conveyor belt for heavier conveying needs.

Polyethylene Belts (PE)

PE Belts are a type of thermoplastic belt that isn’t manufactured for chemical, pharmaceutical or the initial stages of food processing or production. This conveyor belt is made for the purpose of high-impact and heavy duty conveying systems. With a high density proportion due to the chain of polymers and ethylene compounds, the polyethylene conveyor belt is best suited to modular conveyor belt systems.

The PE conveyor belt also makes for great usage in colder climates and due to the way it’s manufactured, the polyethylene belt is perfect for food packaging, bagged material moving and heavy duty, large circumference objects that must be conveyed from A-to-B efficiently and quickly.

Furthermore, the PE conveyor belt is also FDA approved and isn’t toxic after burning, allowing it to be recycled and re-purposed into other PE required plastic objects.

Polyvinyl Chloride Belts (PVC)

PVC belts are one of the most versatile thermoplastic conveyor belts on the market. Traditionally, PVC belting as a corrugated surface to ensure perfect tracking guides when handling slippery or heavier products. This is to help avoid the product falling or slipping off the Polyvinyl chloride conveyor belt.

Due to the belts flexibility properties, PVC belts can be moulded and worked will remaining durable. This makes for a belt suitable specifically for construction industries. However, PVC is also used in food production as the PVC compound can be manufactured to FDA approved standards for food processing.

The PVC conveyor belt also makes for a good flame resistant and chemical resistant plastic conveyor belt with a maximum operating temperature of up to 60’C.

Which Industries Use Thermoplastic Conveyor Belts

The beauty of the thermoplastic conveyor belt is the belts versatility. As already discussed, thermoplastic belts have a broad range of chemical compounds (polymer and monomer chains). Based on the manufacturing and conveying requirements from the thermoplastic, varying types of thermoplastic belts can be manufactured to suit an array of industries. These industries are:

Food Production and Processing

Thermoplastic conveyor belts are a key component for the processing of foods. Therefore, when coming into contact with foods, it’s imperative that the plastic conveyor belt meets FDA rules in order to legally be allowed to process food.

Specifically, the regulations required to be met are CE1934/2004 for food contacting the conveyor belt and  CE2023/2006 for regulated food standard practices, while regulation  (UE) 10/2011 must also be adhered too for any plastic that comes into contact with food materials.

Modular plastic belts are used during the packaging stage of food production and in most cases this belt will not come into contact with the food.

Pharmaceutical and Medical 

For the processing and production of medicines for the pharmaceutical industry, thermoplastic conveyor belts are a commonly used belt. This is due to the chemical compounds of thermoplastic belts being resistant to chemical intoxication, water, and abrasion.

As long as plastic conveyor belts are well maintained, there are no rules and regulations for manufacturing thermoplastic belts for the medical industry like the regulations for the food industry.

Textiles 

Thermoplastic belting is also used in the textile industries to transfer materials across conveyor systems.

Plastic makes for a good conveyor system rather than a solid woven conveyor belt. This is due to the plastic belting’s soft and flat surface, not connecting with the textiles being transferred and causing cross-contamination. The transferring of textiles using thermoplastic belts makes for a swift and easy solution.

Metal and Heavy Duty Transferring

Depending on the type of thermoplastic used, there are conveyor belts best suited for the transferring of metal and heavy duty materials from one area to another with minimum effort required.

Modular plastic belts make for a great solution for heavy duty conveying. However, all forms of plastic conveyor belts be used in these types of industries due to their high-density properties and chemical makeup making them resistant to abrasion and tears unlike synthetic woven conveyor belts.

Finding the Right Thermoplastic Conveyor Belt Manufacturers

Due to the chemical makeup of the thermoplastic compounds finding a thermoplastic belt manufacturer that understands the science and chemical properties of each conveyor belt type is extremely important for procurement teams.

A thermoplastic belt manufacturer will need to survey your factory situation, and understand the environment with which the thermoplastic conveyor belt will work in. 

When looking for a thermoplastic belt supplier, as the customer you must ensure that the supplier understands each chemical compound of the belts polymers and monomers, along with the science behind the reasoning for these belts to be used. If this isn’t the case, you must look elsewhere for a supplier that will be able to provide you with reassurance and confidence that you’re receiving the right level of service from your conveyor belt manufacturer.

Filter Press Cloth – Everything You Need to Know

What is a Filter Press Cloth?

A filter press cloth is a type of material used in the process of dewatering applications. 

The process of dewatering is to separate the liquids from solids through a pressure filter, which pushes the liquid through the cloth. 

The filter press is the machine where  the filter cloths are installed in ‘series’. The liquid and slurry is fed into the filter press machine, and is then ‘pressed’, meaning that it is squeezed to force the separation between the two elemental states. The process occurs by the filter press squeezing the filter  cloth from both sides , forcing the material through the cloth and ‘filtering’ in the process. 

What are Filter Press Cloths Used For?

Filter press machines are used solely for the separation of liquids from solids. The filter cloth is usually made to measure, depending on the filter press machine plate width, and is usually measured in meters.

Depending on the micron requirements, the particulate (particle size being pressed), can vary within the weave of the filter cloth. The usually range of microns for a filter cloth membrane varies between 5 to 25 microns.

What Materials are Filter Press Cloths Used From?

The cloth material from which the filter cloth is made with also vary to suit the particular plate it is being used with. These range from full membrane to center-fed; gasketed to non-gasketed.

Filter press cloth manufacturers will typically use polyester thread for the filter cloth material, however, commonly, you filter cloths have been known to be also made from polypropylene, cotton, nylon or felt. These are high-temperature, durable cloth materials that can be used in a variety of extreme temperatures.

The filter cloths are manufactured in both Mono and Multi Filament to ensure a high-quality finish, with strength, resistance to chemicals, abrasion and long-lifespan. 

Mono-Filament Cloth

For mono-filament filter cloth the woven fibres are singular. Meaning there is single line weave. This allows for fantastic cake release and resistance. There is a lower particle retention compared to muli-filament fibres. The material is naturally super-strong.

Multi-filament Cloth

Multi-filament cloth describes a varying size of fibers used within the thread of the cloth which are grouped together in one single line. The comparative with this type of cloth is that there is better micron retention than mono-filament cloth.

Gasketed or Non-Gasketed Filter Cloth?

Gasketed/Caulked/Recessed Filter Plates

Depending on the requirement from your filter plate, your filter press cloth will come in differentiating shapes, sizes and even materials. This is often due to the filter press plate. The most commonly used filter press plate is the ‘gasketed’ or ‘caulked’ filter plate. Also referred to as a ‘recessed chamber’ filter plate, these particular filter plates are the most commonly used of all filter plates within liquid-from-solid separation.

Gasketed filter plates are expected to perform to a standard where there is no leakage whatsoever from the filter cloth through the filter plate. The filter cloths used are typically hexagonal in size, with a sewn cord to ensure any mircons passed through are caught within the filter press cloth.

Non-Gasketed Filter Plates

For Non-gasketed filter plates, the filter press cloth is lighter, less robust, but easier to install. This type of filter cloth can incur some leakage from the filter plate.

The Weave of the Filter Press Cloth Helps Performance

Weave patterns for the cloth of a filter press machine are dependent on your goal. 

There are five specific filter cloth weave types that are used. These are:

Leno Weave

The Leno Weave is a weave constructed with two or more warp threads that cross over each other and are then interlocked with multiple filling thread lines. On occasion, you can use one filling thread depending on your requirement from the Leno Weave.

This weave is characteristically lightweight, and should be used in lighter cake release filter presses.

The Twill Weave

The Twill Weave is a standard weaving process for fibers, and is used across all manufacturing processes that require weaving.

In a Twill Weave, the twill line cross over at least two consecutive rib lines and is moderate in it’s binding. The resistance on this weave is larger than that of the Leno weave, so a heavier cake release can be used on this type of cloth weave.

The Plain Weave

The Plain Weave is another type of weave that is used across multiple manufacturing specialisms. It is also the simplest weave of all weave patterns.

This particle weave has a high particle retention, with moderate cake release properties, whilst also being rather robust. This weave is perfect for moderate cake release and high requirements for particle retention from the filter press.

The Basket Weave

A variation of the Plain Weave, the Basket Weave whereby at least warp yarns cross alternately with two or more filling yarns. 

This is a looser weave, so is only recommended on basic-level filtering requirements due to it’s lack of stability. 

The Satin Weave

Arguably the most complicated of weaving patterns for filter cloths, the Satin Weave shows a repetition of crosses between the ‘warp’ and ‘filling’ floats. Throughout the weave the weft thread will cross over at least three lines of warp threads before going under one and back over a further three and so on.

This particular weave is required where a good solid cake release is required. 

Cleaning Your Filter Press Cloth

When the filter cake is no longer dry and has a slimier texture, this is the time to clean your filter (unless the cloth has already been cleaned. In which case, you should replace the filter cloth).  

Should the filter cloth require cleaning, the cleaning process differs depending on the filter plate you are using. 

For Gasketed filter cloth cleaning, you can use an acid washing method. This is a specific cleaning method that should be followed meticulously to ensure safety and correct cleaning takes place. It is not a cleaning method for Non-Gasketed filter cloth due to the NGC plates characteristic of ‘leakage’.

For NGC plates, you should consider the Cold Water Spray cleaning method.

For the Cold Water Spraying method, the cloth should be washed at a high-pressure (between 800-1200 PST) within the cold water spray unit.

This method flushes the cloth surface and penetrates through the cloth to flush out any particles sitting within the cloth.

Working with Filter Press Cloth Manufacturers

When searching for the right filter cloth manufacturer, there are a few things you should consider.

You must ensure you’re fully prepared with the requirements from your filtration needs. It’s key to understand the purpose for your filtering requirements, what the machine your using needs and the area in which your filter machine operates. You also need to have an idea of the cake release you’re looking fore, and the mircon amount you’re filter machine will need.

Once you have this information, you should then expect the filtration expert to be able to provide the necessary solution information to fit your requirements. The filtration expert should be able to provide an assessment of your requirements and the correct consultancy for the most effective filtration solution for your press machine.

A quality filter cloth manufacturer will naturally collaborate with you as the expert to ensure the best solution fits the business need and provides the most effective filtering solution.

A Complete Guide to Bag Filters and Air Filtration

What are Bag Filters?

A bag filter, is a form of air filtration media used within manufacturing units. The purpose bag filters, as with any filter, is to ensure the removal of impurities from the overall solution; in this instance ensuring the air filtered is purified from oils, dust and dirt contamination.

Think of a filter bag as a ‘sieve’ that is letting air pass through, and stopping any other particles transferring through the conveyor system.

To ensure that your bag house dust collection units are running at maximum efficiency, pleated bag filters are used due to their long-lifespan and high filtration surface area.

The Difference Between Pleated Bag Filters and Standard Bag Filters

Between both pleated bag filters and standard bag filters there are differences in usage, material and performance.

Pleated bag filters are up-to three times larger in cloth area, which allows the bag house to collect more contaminant, but also negates the need to invest in a larger bag house for the filter bag.

You will also find that pleated bag filters do not use a filter cage due to their one-piece design.

Pleated filters in comparison to standard filter bags also use caps at the bottom to prevent leakage.

Furthermore, pleated bag filters are used at ‘surface’ level, whereas standard bag filters are used as a depth filter solution. 

The difference here is that depth filters capture any contaminant throughout the whole medium of the filter media, and are made using different materials to a bag filter (surface filter).

Understanding Air Filtration in manufacturing units

In dust collection systems within industries such as; cement, limestone etc. all manufacturing units have dust collection/extraction systems where pleated or standard bag filters are installed.

All of the dust (smaller particles of cement, dust and limestone) that are generated throughout the manufacturing process are sucked into the bag house and the filters arrest those particles so they are not thrown in the atmosphere.

This process serves two purposes:

1. Saves the environment from pollution 
2. The particles collected by  hopper which is at the base of those filters, and the material can be recycled and then used for different application. 

How Bag Filters are Made

The manufacturing of bag filters is a clever process in which the required media membrane for the air filtration system is identified and put through conditioning to ensure that it is proficient in air filtration. 
 

Choosing the Media 

First the media is produced by determining the material required to be used in the air filter. There are over 20 variants of media that can be used, and depending on the industry and substance being filtered, these materials will vary.
 
This process is fully automated where the fiber is carefully selected, during the manufacturing of the media there are various check points in place for quality assurance procedures – this is to ensure the membrane isn’t damaged or broken during production and maintains a robust and agile filter bag.
 
A good filter media will repel water, and have a low coefficient of friction. Meaning, that the filter bag media is easy-to-clean, with substances not being able to stick to it.
 
Once the media has been created it moves onto the treatment process, whereby the filter bag media may be calendared, stocked and in roll form.
 

Pleating the Bag Media

Once the roll is created, it is then Fed into a Pleating Machine. This machine pleats the Media, and provides the optimum surface area for filtering. 
 
The pleating process is used as pleated filter bags are shorter than standard filter bags, and therefore the drop out area is larger, and there is a lesser chance of abrasion. 
 

Producing the Filter Core

As the filter core is produced, the inner and outer metal core of the filter is manufactured in using a CNC machine for precision control.

A CNC machine uses Computer Aided Design (CAD) for exact precision, and saftey for workers when producing the filter case. 
 
The filter bag core is made out of SS, or Exp GI, and the inner core is added for cases where extra strength is required. During this part of the process,  the top cap is produced and lower Base for support of the filter bag. 
 
Finally, perforations of the casing are also given to filtering. 
 

Bonding the Filter Media to the Casing

During the final stage of filter bag media production, the pleated media is bonded together with the casing.
 
A ‘snap ring’ is installed below the cap to ensure that the filter retains it’s shape, stays in tact and contributes to it’s longer-lifespan and robustness. 
 

Quality Assurance

Once the filter bag is produced, a final quality assurance check takes place.
 
Here, an officer should inspect the filter quality, along with the matching of the customer requirements for the filter bag.
 
Once satisfied, loads the filter bag onto the finished goods zone ready for distribution.

The Advantages of Using Pleated Filter Bags Over Standard Filter Bags

Pleated filter bags offer more filtration than traditional filter bags. They have a larger filtration surface area, and filtration capacity.

Additionally, pleated bag filters have a longer lifespan; two-to-three times the amount of standard bag filters due to the treatment of the filter media.

With tighter emission controls and strict laws, pleated bag filters help us keep us and the environment lot cleaner. 
 
Furthermore, with less resistance through the filters, there is a reduction of energy required, thus reducing costs to the customer, and the carbon footprint.
 
Pleated filter bags generally have up-to a 58% less emission level with around 50% lower energy consumption compared to it’s standard counterpart.
 
Additionally, there is a 70% maximum of less cleaning air consumed during filtration.
 
Finally, a pleated filter bag uses types of media for finer particle retention, which again helps in lessening the environmental impact of the dust collection unit.

Rotary Moulder Belts – Everything You Need to Know

What are Rotary Moulder Belts?

Rotary moulder belts are a type of woven conveyor belt, predominantly made from cotton weave, that is used in the process of biscuit manufacturing. 

The rotary moulder conveyor belt is usually used for short dough and cracker lines, to substitute the process of ‘sheeting’, ‘cutting’ and ‘gauging’ which are traditionally hand-based manufacturing methods.

Rotary belts are  ‘endless belts’ in nature, due to their ‘seamless’ production properties, and are usually run on a ‘knife edge conveyor system’.

What are Knife Edge Conveyors?

Knife edge conveyor systems is a section of a conveyor system that is uniquely designed to transfer small objects (in this case, biscuit dough) from one part of the conveyor system to the next for the continuing production of biscuits.

The ‘knife edge’ is often rounded and may also be referred to as the ‘nosebar’.

The beauty of the knife edge section of the conveyor system is it’s ability to lightly transfer products through the conveyor system without breakage, or falling into gaps. This is a perfect solution for biscuit production as this limits the amount of cracks, and breakages within the dough during the production of the biscuit itself. 

How are Rotary Moulder Conveyor Belts Used in Biscuit Making?

Once the dough for the biscuit or cracker is made, the next phase of the production is to move it into ‘shaping’. This is where you see the famous ‘McVities print on biscuits, or the unique design of a Malted Milk’.

These unique designs are a result of the rotary moulding process of biscuit production. 

The rotary conveyor belt must have the optimum of ‘pull’ and ‘release’ abilities so that it can peel off the dough from the roller press onto the belt, and also release the formed biscuit shapes from the nosebar onto the oven conveyor belt without breaking or cracking the pre-cooked biscuits.

A quality manufactured rotary conveyor will ensure a ‘seamless transfer’ has been made whereby 100% of the dough is successfully ‘released’ from the conveyor belt at the nosebar point, and onto the next phase of biscuit production.

Key Requirements for Rotary Moulder Belts

Endless belts such as rotary moulder belts are typically made from three key materials. These vary between cotton, nylon and polyester. The belting material type used is based on the biscuit manufacturers requirements. For example, depending on the biscuits fat and grease content within the dough, a specific material may be required depending on the density of the dough. 

This is because of the aforementioned requirements for optimum pull and release between the different phases of the conveyor belt. Nylon, with a 6% moisture regain, or polyester with 4% moisture regain are more suitable for less fatty dough biscuit and crackers. 

Conversely, cotton conveyor belts, with a higher moisture regain are naturally more suitable to biscuits and crackers with a higher fat density. This is due to the belts ability to absorb the dough perfectly onto the conveyor from the rollers, with also the ability to release the biscuits seamlessly at the other end.

Typically, for thinner biscuits or crackers, a thinner conveyor belt, with less ‘ply’ will be used to allow for a more perfect release from the knife edge/nosebar.

Most belting will have some form of nylon incorporated into the belt weave itself as this helps with avoidance of abrasion and increases the shelf life of the biscuit conveyor belt.

Types of Weaves for Conveyor Belts

To help with the requirement for pull and release, different types of weaving of the conveyor belt can be used. When viewing a non-coated biscuit or cracker from the bottom, you will notice a pattern. This is the pattern from the weave of the conveyor belt imprinted onto the biscuit. 

There are three main types of weaving methods for woven conveyor belts:

Plain Weave

Traditionally used on conveyor belting, and the most common form of weave. The plain weave provides a consistent performance in biscuit production, which makes it a versatile solution for all conveyor belting requirements.

Twill Weave/Herringbone Weave

Both the names twill weave and herringbone weave mean the same thing within conveyor belt weaving. This distinct pattern is reflective of herringbone stitched materials in fashion. The twill weave is highly regarded as a useful solution for heavy dough biscuits as the weave helps with the extraction of the biscuit/cracker from the mould roller.

Cross Twill Weave/Broken Twill Weave

Again, these particular belting weave has two names; the cross twill weave and the broken twill weave. Both refer to the same type of belting weave. 

The cross twill weave provides an easier release from the nosebar due to its air permeability, which allows pockets of air to form, and reduces the contact area between the conveyor belt and the biscuit

Getting the Best Out of Your Rotary Belt Manufacturer

It’s imperative that when sourcing a rotary belt manufacturer, that you identify the requirements of rotary conveyor belt prior to procurement of the belt. The best conveyor belt manufacturers will look to assess your manufacturing situation upfront in order to delivery abespoke, and high-quality conveyor belt system for your production needs.

5 Key Facts About Cotton Conveyor Belting

What's a Cotton Conveyor Belt?

Cotton conveyor belting, is a type of endless seam, and solid woven belting used across an array of industries. 

The cotton conveyor belt is traditional used within food manufacturing and production industries; specifically biscuit and cracker production. 

However, cotton belts have been used as air slide conveyor belts within pneumatic conveying systems due to the belts high air permeability. The cotton belt may be used in this instance whereby the environment for transporting bulk powder is neutral, and not too hot or cold – the cotton webbed belt is not useful in harsh temperatures.

Important Information on Cotton Belting

Cotton conveyor belting is clearly a very handy conveyor belt system. 

Due to its versatility, it can be seen as a perfect solution for varying industries that require industrial belts for manufacturing and production purposes. 

But in working with cotton conveyor belts, it’s important to the key information on the belts. 

1 - Cotton Belting is Best Suited to Biscuit/Cracker Production

The cotton belt plays a key role throughout the process of biscuit manufacturing being used predominantly in the post roller and moulding stage, and in the post oven stages. 

During the rotary moulder phase, whereby the rollers imprint and shape designs onto the dough, the cotton belt is used to extract the dough pieces from the moulding roller and transport the dough biscuits onto the cooking stage of biscuit production. 

In order to do this, the extraction and moisture regain must be high enough to take on fattier and greasier dough biscuits. Usually, the percentage regain for a cotton belt is 22%, which makes this the ideal solution for extraction.

This industrial belt can then be used to transport the biscuit from the oven to cool due to it’s high air permeability. The amount of air that permeates through the cotton woven conveyor belt is often relative to the amount of ply depth (most cotton belts use a 4.5mm 3-ply webbing for strength anddurability purposes). 

2 - Cotton Belting is a Woven Conveyor Belt

Cotton belts can sometimes get confused with woven conveyor belts mainly due to the fact that they are a form of woven belting. 

In woven belting, there are two forms of woven conveyor belts; synthetic woven belts and non-synthetic woven belts. 

The difference between the two is mainly down to the type of material the belt is woven from. For example, cotton is a non-synthetic woven conveyor belt. Whereas polyester, and nylon on the other hand, are synthetic woven belting.

It’s worth also noting that nylon and polyester conveyor belts have been known to be used in biscuit manufacturing also, and are used for less fatty and lighter weight biscuits/crackers due to their moisture regain properties. These regain properties range between 4-6% between the two materials.

3 - Cotton Belting Has Three Types of Weaves

Depending on the manufacturing requirements, a cotton conveyor belt can be woven in three ways. The typical instances where a weave must be determined are for:

  1. The amount of air permeability required from the conveyor belt.
  2. The amount of extraction and release from the dough pieces in biscuit manufacturing.

The three main types of belting weaves for cotton belts are:

  1. Plain Weave the standard weave for cotton belting.
  2. Broken Twill Weave – used for extracting heavier dough biscuits.
  3. Twill Weave – used for higher air permeability and release of dough during biscuit manufacturing.

 

4 - Cotton Conveyor Belting is 'Endless'

Often, cotton conveyor belting is referred to as ‘endless belting’ due to the fact that the belt is used on a rotation and has no splice or seam due to the way that it is woven. 

This is to ensure that the belt runs entirely smoothly, without any bumps, which may hinder the production process, if there were to be a seam in place.

The purpose of this is to maintain it’s high durability and resistance to abrasion. This continuous belt is set among two pulley’s and rolls on a continuing rotation basis. 

Cotton Belts come in large width, up to 2.2 meters, and can be produced in continuous 300 meter open rolls. Where as in endless belt form, cotton belting can be produced in a circular length of 15 meters. 

5 - Cotton Belting has a Longer Lifespan

Cotton Conveyor belts have a long shelf life if stored in a clean room environment. Typically, cotton belts are known for having a longer lifespan that other conveyor belts, and this makes the cotton manufacturing belt a healthy proposition for businesses with specific conveyor system requirements. 

However, it is important that the cotton belt is kept in a healthy environment and maintained regularly to ensure the longevity of the belts lifespan. 

Manufacturers using cotton conveyor belts must ensure the area has minimum moisture that can help sustain life upto 18 months if not more.

Cotton Belt Manufacturers

The best cotton belt manufacturers around will provide surveying your manufacturing environments situation before providing a full estimate and solution. 

This is the correct procurement process for ensuring that the cotton conveyor belt fits the environment it will sit within, and adheres to the manufacturing requirements set by the manufacturer. 

An audit should take place to understand the best type of weave, ply, size and width of the belt. It is therefore necessary for a customer to ensure they have done as much of this work upfront in order to work with the cotton conveyor belt supplier to provide the most efficient and cost-effective solution for the manufacturers needs.

Pneumatic Conveyor – the Process of Handling Bulk Power

Pneumatic Conveying Definition

Pneumatic conveying by definition is the name for describing the bulk powder handling.

Heavy duty material is transported through an enclosed conveyor system from one place to another using the force of air-activated gravity. This allows the material to be transported across floors, or long distances in a more efficient way with less manpower required than using a labour based transportation system. 

What is a Pneumatic Conveyor?

A pneumatic conveyor system is the configured transportation system used in bulk powder handling. The pneumatic conveyor efficiently transport heavy duty cargo (powders, grains, stone etc.) from one area to another.

Types of Pneumatic Conveyors

There are two types of bulk powder handling pneumatic conveyors. These are:

  1. Dilute Phase handling pneumatic conveyors
  2. Dense Phase handling pneumatic conveyors

Each type of phase has both pressure and vacuum conveying. Pressure pushes pulverized material, whereas vacuum sucks the bulk powder to it’s required destination. 

Depending on the type of of bulk powder you are looking to transport, the type of pneumatic conveyor will vary. For example, a Dilute Phase pneumatic conveyor system will move small grain, plastic, wood chips and cement, but may also be used in pharmaceutical and food processing. 

A Dense Phase pneumatic conveyor on the other hand, will be used where heavier materials are required to be moved in bulk, and a tendency for abrasion may happen.

Dilute Phase Pneumatic Conveyors

Dilute Phase pneumatic conveyor systems makes use of ‘pressures’ to move pulverized/fine materials through a tube system from one area to another.

Depending on the type of industry, or application you require, the Dilute Phase pneumatic conveyor makes use of both positive and negative energy.

Positive pressure conveyors use a single inlet and low amount of air pressure to move the powder material through the conveyor system to it’s required destination. 

Conversely, negative pressure conveyors are most efficient when moving materials from multiple entry points to a required destination.

The system can be closed loop or open air depending on the industry the conveyor system services. For example, pharmaceutical, or chemical industries may require a closed loop system to ensure hazardous gases are not released from the conveyor system into the air. 

Dense Phase Pneumatic Conveyors

Dense Phase pneumatic conveyors are used differently to Dilute Phase conveyor systems as a result of the pressure, speed and density of the material they’re transporting.

Due to the chances of abrasion from the material transported, Dense Phase pneumatic conveyors utilize compressors to generate higher volumes of air pressure, moving pulverized materials such as grain, stone, rock and sand at higher heights than Dilute Phase pneumatic conveyor systems.

Dense Phase pneumatic conveyors are traditionally enclosed systems with a ‘bottom-discharge’ design. This is due to how the material is transported through the conveyor system. Similarly to how fluid deposits at the bottom of a conveyor, so too does the pulverized material in the Dense Phase conveyor, and this is dragged through to the bottom using the air slide conveyor belt.

Components of Pneumatic Conveyors

A pneumatic conveyor that’s used for bulk powder handling may consist of an array of individual components that when configured together, make up the pneumatic conveyor belt system:

Fans/Blowers

Fans are used to blow the pulverised material through the conveyor system and into the air chamber. Fan sizes vary depending on the amount of wheels required for the conveyor system. The larger the fan, the lower the tip speed, and higher the longevity of the fans lifespan. Furthermore, a larger fan will work at a lower noise level, improving noise pollution from the pneumatic conveyor.

Shredders

Shredders are used to help the pulverization process, which takes the raw material (such as stone or granit) and pulverizes the material before it is transported through the enclosed loop system.

Filters (Dry and Wet)

Used wherever an exchange of air takes place air filtration is required. Filter bags are used to help avoid the transported product being contaminated with the environment.

Filters are also used to avoid ejection of dust in vented areas, which is a legal requirement, but also is a requirement for a safe working environment.

In pneumatic conveying, filters are used at the beginning and end of the cyclone filter points.

Finally, the filter must be dedusted at regular intervals to avoid blockage and maintain filter quality.

Separators/Cyclones

The separator cyclone is used in vacuum Dense Phase pneumatic conveying. They are part of the cyclone system where by the  pulverized material is separated from the air flow in order to catch larger particles that might not be prone to dusting.

Electronic Controllers

Electronic controls are used through the conveyor system to ensure that the correct pressure, air velocity and speed is being used to treat the movement of the bulk powder.

Velocity Controllers

As with Electronic Controllers, Velocity Controllers are used to monitor the velocity of the cyclone and air pressure within the pneumatic conveyor system.

Spark Detectors

These are used to identify sparks or hot glowing particles. The system uses a built-in extinguisher to put out the hot particles without any disturbance to the production process. 

Air Slide Conveyor Belts

Air Slide Conveyor Belts are part of the transportation process of the pulverized material during the pneumatic conveying process.

Air Slide conveyor belts are high in air permeability, which allows the air-activated gravity to push air through the conveyor belt and transport the bulk powder in a ‘liquid fashion’. 

The Air Slide belting is usually woven, and made from polyester or other synthetic woven belt material. However, on some occasions, cotton conveyor belting may be used as a solution for air slide belts.

Unique Air Slide Belts for Pneumatic Conveying

Depending on the requirement for the pneumatic conveyor certain air slide belt manufacturers can create belts to bespoke requirements.

Specifically, elements that require transportation in high temperatures such as cement, would require a conveyor belt that can transport the material at extreme temperatures with minimal wear and tear. A perfect solution for this is glass fiber belting.

Air Slide Belts – Everything You Need to Know

What are Air Slide Belts?

Air Slide Belts (also known as Air Slide Conveyor Belts, and Pneumatic Conveyor Belts) are a type of conveyor belt that is used in dry solid powder conveying. This form of transportation is referred to as ‘Pneumatic Conveying’ whereby pneumatic conveyor systems cover long distances and transport materials from one point to another using air-activated gravity. 

As a result, the belt requires a level of air permeability to allow the the air activated gravity technique to push air up and through the conveyor belt, allowing the power to transport through the conveying system from point A-to-B. 

What are Air Slide Belts Made from?

Air Slide belts can be made from a number of materials in combination. However, some belts are made from 100% polyester or nylon. The main raw materials that air slide conveyor belts are made from are usually; nylon, polyester, P84 Polymides, or Nomex. 

The best air slide belts are abraison resistant, rot and mildew resistant, while also being able to be used in temperatures ranging from 30’C to 150’C.

A good air slide belt manufacturer will produce a belt with materials that reflect the requirements of the solution. Each material can be woven to a required air permeability, depending on the ‘holes’ from which the low-press air needs to be filtered through the belting material. 

Typically, these types conveyor belts are solid woven using the warp and weft threading technique. However, should requirements need a different weave, manufacturers can change the weave to suit the solution.

The belt can vary in width from between 150mm to 16500mm, again depending on the solution requirement. Additionally, the thickness of the ply from which the belt is woven can range from 4mm to 8mm depending on the requirement.

The Process of Fluidization

The conveying solution itself uses an enclosed conveyor system, which ensures no raw material is left behind, nor does it fall off the conveyor belt. All of the required powder is transported from one area to another using a low-pressure air flow from underneath the conveyor belt. 

During the conveying, the powder material is put into a porous state (pulverized) within the ‘fluidizing beld, before being transported through the pneumatic conveyor and reaching the required destination.

The air-activated gravity of the air slide conveyor belt, and slope from which the system is manufactured to, allows the material to flow and move through the conveyor chute in a fluid fashion.

The belt itself sits within the middle of the pneumatic conveyor, in the chute between the powder fan and the air chamber. This is where the fluidized powder moves in a liquid fashion through the conveyor belt part of the system.

The type of fluidizing beds and pneumatic transport may vary depending on the material being passed through the pneumatic conveyor.

Different Fluidizing Beds

Bed fluidization can be both solid and fluid form (gas or liquid).  Fluids flowing through a layer of bulk solid at a ‘fluidzsation velocity can loosen the individual particulates  to ensure they enter a ‘suspended’ form. This is how a fludized bed is created and is aptly named ‘fluidization’. The flow of powder naturally acts like that of fluid to create this form and bed ready for transport.

If the velocity changes to become more excessive, particles are discharged into the pneumatic transport process.

Typically, there are three forms of fluidized beds that may occur during the fluidizing process. These are:

Homogeneous Fluidized Bed

A homogeneous bed is the name given to describe a fluidized bed that reflects the velocity increase of the fluid creating a balanced dilation of even distribution across the base layer.

Inhomogeneous Fluidized Bed

The inhomogeneous bed is the name given to describe the a fluidization process that results in heavier particles within the lower area of the fluidized bed. If gases are used as the ‘liquid’, bubbling occurs, which bursts at surface level, givnig off a look of boiling liquid within the fluidized bed.

Channeling Fluidized Bed

When finer grain bulk powder is the solid form being transported, the formation of a fluidized bed may not occur. This is due to the particles adhering to each other and natural flow channels being formed.  Therefore, in order to create a fluidized bed, manual stirring is required.

Pneumatic Transporting

Pneumatic conveyor systems are the medium for transporting the bulk powder through the conveyor system.

Traditionally, a pneumatic conveying system uses three core elements; a fan, a conveyor belt system, and a dust separation unit. The way the bulk powder is transported can be either horizontally, vertically and in a large amount of instances, on an incline.

Typically, there is a compression unit and suction unit used to pull or push the bulk powder through the pneumatic conveyor line. This is dependent on the phase of transport being used. There are two key forms of pneumatic conveyors; Dense Phase and Dilute Phase.

The Efficiency of Air Slide Conveyor Belts

Air slide belts are highly regarded due to their efficiency within industrial conveyor systems.

These conveyor belts can reach up to 100’s of meters in length, and use a low-maintenance single power source, which means running costs and manpower remain low. As the air slide conveyor belt sits within an enclosed system, there is only a requirement for one blower (fan), which sufficiently helps blow the air from top to bottom of the system. This makes the air slide belt extremely economical and also environmentally friendly.

Additionally, due to the way the system is bolted together, the solution is dust tight, which makes it very friendly to the environment.

Furthermore, the air-activated gravity is the only moving part of the conveyor belt (unlike conveyor belts used in biscuit manufacturing), which makes noise pollution for this belt minor. Traditionally, the system is attached to the ceiling, which allows for maximum floor space underneath, and the belting system is usually placed in a quieter part of the factory, which makes noise pollution even more minimal.

Air Slide Cloth Air Permeability

Air slide cloth needs to have a high level of air permeability. Depending on the materials tensile strength, the need penetration of the cloth, which in turn, impacts the whole creation within the weave of the air slide cloth. This, however, ensures increased strength when conveying heavy loads across a air fan system.

Depending on the air slide belt material combination the air permeability will have a higher propensity. For example,  a polyester and nomex combined solid woven air slide belt will have both a higher puncture index from needle penetration and higher air permeability to that of polyester air slide belt alone.

Key Characteristics of an Air Slide Conveyor Belt

When searching for an air slide conveyor belt for your bulk powder handling system, there are a few key characteristics required to ensure your pneumatic conveyor system is treated with the air slide belt it needs.

Firstly, the temperature conditions that an air slide belt can withstand are key. Usually, in pneumatic conveying, the fluidized powder that is being transported is extremely hot and therefore an airslide conveyor belt that can withstand temperatures of up to 200’C is imperative. This is key characteristic of a polyester air slide belt and why polyester is a filament used in most air slide belting systems.

Additionally, due to the type of material being transferred, the propensity for potential ‘wear and tear’ is high. Using a polyester and nylon combination combats potential abrasion and tearing.

Finally, it’s important that your air slide cloth is very permeable and doesn’t trap dust. This is naturally, an obvious requirement, but can be over looked in lieu of searching for air slide cloth that fits the above requirements. A cloth material that doesn’t clog and consume all dust, but is easy to dust off will ensure a longer living air slide belt for your pneumatic conveyor system.

Air Slide Belt Manufacturers

Finding air slide belt manufacturers is easy, as long as you are aware of what you’re the requirements for the your conveyor solution. 

Traditionally, air slide belt manufacturers are found within India or the UK, and a great conveyor belt manufacturer will look to provide an on-site review of your situation to ensure that the right bespoke belting solution is provided to you the client. 

Conveyor Belts and Their Usages

What are Conveyor Belts?

Conveyor belts are various types of industrial belting that are used solely to transport materials and goods from one area to another. There is often a confusion between conveyor belts and machine belts, with the latter being used to transmit energy.

The purpose of the conveyor belt system is to improve efficiency levels and productivity across business and industry. Additionally, the use of belting systems can reduce labor costs, and help improve companies bottom line over time.

Due to the materials flexible and webbing, conveyor belts are used in both light and heavy duty transportation. These belts are also highly regarded as they’re able to change direction and elevation depending on the conveying system customers require.

Which Industries are Conveyor Belts Used In?

Conveyor belts are used in almost every industry you could think of. From manufacturing to retail, health and fitness to transportation, and much more. The most common industries and purposes of the conveyor belt system are:

Pneumatic Conveying

Pneumatic conveying is system designed to move powdered materials from one destination to another, using a specific type of conveyor belt.

The airslide conveyor belt uses air or gas to pass through tiny holes embedded within its webbing that pushes the powdered material along the conveying system. 

Manufacturing

Made to improve efficiency, and reduce cost to the business, traditional conveyor belts are used as part of the assembly line. There are various types of materials used depending on the industry and requirements, but typically, the manufacturing industry used cotton, PVC, rubber, neoprene, urethane and polyester conveyor belting systems.

Belts used for manufacturing industries are often coated to ensure longevity and resistance to liquids and abrasions or general wear and tear.

Retail

Especially, in food shopping, conveyor belts are one of the most important things within the supermarket. What might be taken for granted is actually a solution that ensures efficient flow of customers and their food through payment checkout. The retail conveyor belts (similarly to belts for manufacturing), are designed to be robust, and can repel water due to their coating.

Additionally, they too are manufactured for longevity, due to the continuous pressure and abrasions from products on the assembly line. These conveyor belts have a strong life expectancy.

Health and Fitness

Similarly to both belts for manufacturing and retail, the belts used in health and fitness need to be adverse to abrasion. Specifically, the belts used in health and fitness are within the cardio-section of the gym. The treadmill uses a traditional endless seam conveyor belt solution, and is designed for longevity against wear and tear (constant running).

Belts for health and fitness take the some of the biggest impacts across all conveyor belt industries.

Chemical and Pharmaceutical

The specific belts used within this industry is usually Urethane or Thermoplastic conveyor belts. These belts are traditionally very hygienic (FDA approved), and easy to maintain, which makes them perfect for the pharmaceutical industry.

Additionally, these belts are non-absorbent, which, ensures any spillage does not contaminate the belting or product/medicine being transported.

Food Manufacturing and Transportation

Food manufacturing, packaging and transportation industries also use belting. These conveyor belts are used in high-temperature and are robust to ensure there is no damage during the manufacturing of the food. Specific food industries that using belting are baking and cooking.

The biscuit manufacturing industry is one of the main drivers for using conveyor belting solutions during its manufacturing and transportation phases.

Specifically, cotton conveyor belts are the main material, and a key conveyor belt that is used in biscuit production and manufacturing.

The cotton belt is used during the moulding process and forms the core component of the rotary moulder belt.

Different Types of Conveyor Belts

Depending on the conveyor belt solution a manufacturer requires, there are an array of belting solutions that are made bespoke to order. These are:

Cotton Conveyor Belts

Cotton conveyor belts are of the most widely used belting solutions across the globe. As previously mentioned, solid woven belts are often used in baking and food transportation, as well as agricultural materials and/or simply moving boxes around.

These belts can be open roll, and in pure endless forms (as can many other types of belts), which means they have no splice or seem and are woven to be ‘endless’.

Thermoplastic Conveyor Belts

Thermoplastic conveyor belts are developed through heating and cooling methods to create robust, hygienic and abrasive-free conveyor belts.

Thermoplastic belts come in many forms of plastic, from polyethylene (PE), polyinyl chloride (PVC), polyester and more.

These belts are predominantly used within the pharmaceutical industry, and food industry. They are treated with coating to work in high-temperatures; ranging from anything between 80’C to 160’C, with a thickness of up to 30mm, and a hardness of up to 50shA depending on the requirements on the belt solution.

More specifically, these types of belts must be Food Grade Certified by SGS under the US FDA Norms to be used in food production and conveying.

Woven Synthetic Conveyor Belts

Woven synthetic conveyor belts are made with various density and air permeability levels due to both their top and underside coating.

The coatings are referred to as ‘polymers’, and are made of varying materials depending on the suitability for the belt within its application.The coating is made for multiple reasons such as; strength, durability, longevity, and/or impact resistance.

These belts are used in heavier conveying systems, and provide a high-grip and ‘non-fray’ solution, which is perfect for food conveying industries.

Air Slide Belts

Air Slide belts are used in close conveyor systems which form a key component of pneumatic conveyors. These are a woven type of belt that uses bespoke permeable materials to allow low-pressure air beneath the air slide.

This causes ‘air activated gravity’ which allows powder etc. to be conveyed through the closed conveyor system seamlessly and efficiently.

Air Slide conveyor belts are traditionally used in pneumatic conveying solutions due to their permeability, and heavy duty properties such as; durability, strength and long-life-cycle.

Modular Conveyor Belts

Modular belts are made with long plastic plastic segments, and are used in heavy duty conveying, in areas where sometimes traditional belting solutions may falter. This is due to potential tear and fraying during the conveying process.

Modular plastic belts do not suffer from this problem, and are seen as the correct solution for heavy duty and high-pressure conveying purposes.

Furthermore, the modular belt is highly regarded due to its agility. If a piece of the modular belt breaks, it is easy to replace, and is also cost-efficient. This makes the modular belt a worth conveying solution for manufacturers transporting heavy duty goods.

Where Can You Get Conveyor Belts From?

You can find conveyor belt manufacturers across the globe. More specifically, the best manufacturers are found across the Asian and African continents. ClipOn is based in India, however, we have partners across Africa and Asia, which allows us to reach customers in areas such as Egypt, Bangladesh, India, South Africa, China and more, very efficiently. ClipOn also delivers bespoke conveying solutions to European and Western countries to order.

The beauty of working with experienced, and highly-regarded conveyor belt solution providers is ten-fold. Each conveyor belt provider should showcase technical expertise to provide pre-treatment and a strong quality assurance programme. Based on our experience, we recommend working with manufacturers who provide 48 hour maximum response times.

Working with providers such as ClipOn ensures this. Furthermore, ClipOn ensures FDA approved belting, over 25 years experience and research. All belting receives in-house testing which ensures all products are tested twice, using materials that are sourced directly from yarn, to ensure the highest quality available.

Cotton Conveyor Belts – Everything You Need to Know

About Cotton Conveyor Belts

Cotton conveyor belts are predominantly in the food and baking industries. The cotton conveyor belt is seen as the go to belt medium food production conveyor requirements due to it’s array of key features. These key features suit requirements from manufacturers around the form of the belt, having an ‘endless’ seam, long lifespan and high air permeability.

For baking biscuits and crackers, cotton belting is used as the sole solution for key areas within the biscuit production process (outlined further in this article). The key features of the cotton belt is it’s ability to be woven differently depending on the biscuit production requirements. This can compliment the moulding extraction process and the release process during the key stage of biscuit production whereby the dough pieces are moved from the moulding roller to the cooking belt.

Cotton belts are used in this area in particularly due to their ability to absorb moisture, and work well with the pull and release of doughs depending on their oil depth and density. 

Traditionally, cotton conveyor belts are deemed to provide moderate strength, and are high absorbing and high in bulk. The belt is plied on multiple occasions, and this increases the bulk of the belting on applications where resistance is key, but strength is not.

The cotton conveyor belt is typically spun by warp and weft (transverse weaving) cotton fibres. This particular type of weave is referred to within the industry as a ‘plain weave’ which is the standard weave within biscuit manufacturing as it provides the belting with balanced extraction and release features, along with providing a good level of air permeability.

Cotton belting is most suitable for shorter distances and lower transmission capacities. It is not a belt made for heavy duty conveying.

What is a Cotton Conveyor Belt Made of?

Cotton conveyor belts are made specifically from food grade standard (FDA) cotton yarn. Depending on the industry you are in, the type of cotton may be different. For example, synthetic woven cotton belts shouldn’t be used in food or hygienic industries as they are not naturally occurring and are generally made of petrochemicals.

Cotton belts use a specific cotton yarn that is farmed to perfection and operated under high-quality looms from Britain. The weaving process and further treatment helps in the extraction of oil and fat rendering it perfect for the bakery and bread industry.

The belt also uses a coating (usually PTFE) to ensure a robust, and hygienic conveyor belt system is crafted. Cotton belting are also traditionally coated on the surface traction side of the belt to ensure strength and long life span of the belt.

What are the Main Industries that Cotton Conveyor Belts are Used In?

Conveyor belting is usually made to order, and specific to industry. Cotton belts won’t be used in Chemical, Pharmaceutical, printing or hygiene industries due to their ability to absorb and collect materials. 

Within health and hygiene, thermoplastic and modular belts are used. These are lightweight, but strong, durable, and easy-to-maintain belts that use plastics such as; PU, PVC and PE, which are easy to clean, and work in both high and low temperatures. 

Major users of the webbing belt have always been concerned that in due course a few fibers from the web belt might break from the woven belt and get in contact with the food being produced. This was also one of the primary reasons that a lot of companies moved from woven cotton belts to PU Belts.

Cotton conveyor belting is, of course, perfect for specific stages of food production. Cotton belts make for great rotary moulder belts and cooling belts; they have to be FDA approved by the US food standards authority in order to be fit for manufacturing and this has alleviated the concerns businesses had around the hygiene of the cotton belt.

Due to the methods of which the cotton is harvested and manufactured into a conveying system, the coton belt is best suited to both food production and transportation.

As of now, the main uses for cotton conveyor belts are for the biscuit, cracker and bread production. They are fungus resistant due to the pre-treatment process and coating driven into the yarn weave.  This manufacturing process ensures oil absorbed from the dough.

Rotary Moulder Section (Pre-Oven Stage)

The Rotary Moulder stage of the biscuit development is the pre-oven stage. This stage uses cotton conveyor belts with multiple ply that have a strong pull and release capability. The reason for this is cottons absorption properties which are better than those of nylon and other woven conveyor belts.
 
The cotton belt used at rotary moulder stage has a 6% absorption profile, 3% higher than that of it’s sister belts. This higher absorption profile allows the cotton rotary moulder belt to achieve a better pull and release functionality across key stages of the biscuit development process.
 
During the moulder stage of the biscuit making process, the rotary moulder conveyor belt is used to pull shaped dough pieces from the roll, and release them from the knife edge onto the next oven/cooking belt ready for the biscuits next phase in its production life-cycle. 
 
Throughout this process, cotton web belting is preferred as the best media for the transfer of the dough pieces. Webbed belting provides the correct consistency and and density in order to effectively trigger the pull and release of the dough pieces throughout the rotary phase. 

The Cooling Section (Post Oven Stage)

During the post oven stage, the cotton conveyor belting is used to cool the cooked biscuits.

Cotton belting is known to have higher air permeability properties than those of Nylon, and Polyester. The biscuits are put into the cooling tunnel, and air is transferred from underneath the biscuit through the cotton belt to penetrate the underside of the biscuit, maintaining equal cooling throughout the cooling process.

How are Cotton Conveyor Belts Made?

Cotton yarn is sourced from quality controlled units traditionally from British cotton farms. The cotton is then woven into the belt form. This process uses automatic power machining to ensure that the cotton fibers are woven in ‘strength’ form. This further ensures that the fibers will not come out when used throughout the full life of the conveyor belt. Due to this, whether the cotton belt is used at angle, plain or horizontal on the conveyor line, the fibers will always stay in tact despite the product load, making the cotton conveyor belt one of the strongest conveyor belts around.

The threads for cotton belting transverse to create the ‘hatch’ or ‘twist’ weave you traditionally see within the belting weave. From here, the ply treatment is applied, using up to three layers of ply coating. The conveyor belt, can also be manufactured to varying sizes depending on its principle purpose and conveyor requirements.

The belt is then put through a steam pre-treatment process to ensure that minimum contraction during usage is achieved. This part of the belt manufacturing process also allows the belt to remain fungus free when coming into contact with liquid based materials and this is a key characteristic of why cotton belting is so popular across food manufacturing for hygienic purposes.

To finish the belt, a post-treatment synthetic coating is applied which helps create a high-grip material. This allows the conveyor belt to pick up the material that is required for transportation.

The weave itself can vary in type (plain, twill, broken twill etc.) and the purpose of this is to adhere to the characteristic requirements from the belt itself (such as pull and release strength, absorption of oils etc.) The main characteristic requirements of a cotton belt are; strength, friction resistance, durability. These characteristics are usually chosen to ensure maximum extraction.

The overall function of the belt is to transport food and absorb oil and fat from the dough. The dough is then transported to the oven to make biscuits, bread etc.

Choosing a Cotton Conveyor Belt Manufacturer

It is extremely important when manufacturing your conveyor belt solution, that you understand the characteristics and requirements you need before manufacturing of your cotton conveyor belt takes place.

Briefing your belt manufacturer is key to the success of the solution provided. The beauty of ClipOn conveyor belts is their seamless weave, and ability to create not only bespoke sizes but also altering technical characteristics to fulfill the product manager’s dream. Fundamentally, ensuring you communicate what kind of weave, purpose, and sizing you need will ensure the best solution for your conveying needs and requirements.

Furthermore, ClipOn Engineers can also visit your site to conduct a survey to understand your needs and propose a superior state of the art solution.

With a strong customer base world-wide, we know how to make your production efficient.

More information on cotton conveyor belts

5 key facts about cotton conveyor belts

Cotton belts can be used across many verticals and mediums. Discover more about cotton belting and how you might be able to use it in your manufacturing process.

A guide to rotary moulder belts

Cotton rotary moulder belts are one of the key conveyor belts in biscuit production. These can make or literally ‘break’ your biscuit. Learn what you need to know about rotary moulder belts to ensure your biscuit dough is always superb!

A guide to biscuit conveyor belting

Learn the intricacies of biscuit production and the types of conveyor belts used during each phase of the biscuit making process.

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