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.

 

Emission Board Regulations and Their Impact on Dust Extraction

What are the Environment Emission Board Regulations?

The Environmental Emission Board Regulations are a set of dust extraction and emission regulations, set out by a number of pollution control boards (for example, the Central Pollution Control Boards) and emission regulatory authorities that outlines the threshold from which any dust extraction and emission into the environment must be met.

As a result, the impact this has on businesses with large dust collection and filtration units requires them to reconsider how they filter and collect dust through their current dust collection systems.

These regulations are of particular interest for companies operating in, or working with companies operating in Indian territories, due to the new legislation outline by the emissions control governing body.

The key regulations for businesses to comply when dealing with dust emissions are:

  1. Manufacturing units should not emit dusts into the atmosphere above a certain threshold (this can be anything under 7.5mg per Nm3  or 10 mg per Nm3 depending on the location of the site any conservation site nearby, local cities etc.)
  2. Certain gases need to be contained or filtered before being thrown out. Gases such as SO2, SO3, HF — METALS (Cadmium, Hg, Arsenic, Chromium) etc.
  3. Limits on the total particle emitted based on type; such as ‘fine’ and ultra fine particles.
  4. Oil and Gas Industries particulates need to be captured at the time of emission, not after or post-production. This is due to their serious impact on the atmosphere.
  5. Boiler-based applications need dust collectors built in-situ and installed so that high temperature particles can be caught and addressed on site.

How these Emission Regulations Impact Development

The new regulations are extremely important, especially in locations such as India and central Asian countries. Recently, India has seen a rapid increase in property development across the country, including core cities such as Delhi, Goa and Mumbai, along with the other rural towns around the country.

This has led to an increase in the amount of dust created and emitted into the air across these areas, leading to the above stricter regulations being enforced to ensure control over the level of dust emission across the country.

This new direction is to create a more sustainable development and manufacturing approach across the country, forcing manufacturers and construction workers to think differently about how they operate.

Calculating PPM to M3 for Emissions

Seeing the acryonyms ‘Nm’ and ‘PPM’ might be somewhat unfamiliar to the untrained eye. But in dust emission terms, these terms are standard for understanding and calculating dust emission within the local air. 

Mg of course stands for ‘milligram’ and is used to measure the amount of grams per liters. The calculation for this is 1Mg or 1L = 1 PPM.

Nm stands for ‘normal cubic meter’ and is used to measure the normal gas flow rate. The term ‘Normal’ refers to  the normal conditions of 0degC and 1 atmosphere at 101.325 kPa, however, for practicality in measurements, this is rounded to 1 bar. 

PPM stands for ‘parts per million’. The conversion from mg/Nm3 to ppm is done as so (mg/Nm3) x (22.4/MW) = ppm where MW is the molecular weight of the gas.

Depending on the interpretation of the regulation, some may state that the total emission allowed is 10 mg/Nm3 (remember 10 Mg is to 10 PPM, so in a volume of 1 Nm3 the max emission allowed is 10 mg, it can be also treated as ppm).
 
Other manufacturing units emitting dust will have a limit of 5 mg/Nm3 (5 Mg is 5 PPM), etc. This varies from country to country and place to place. However, in India, the threshold is very much 10Mg/Nm3 = 10 PPM .
 
To better understand how you would need to calculate PPM, a thorough guide on the emission conversion measurement is your best place to start.

How the Emission Board Regulations Impacts Dust Extraction

Due to the fast increase in growth for industries operating in India that create and extract dust and other granular particles, opportunities have arisen to improve the current operations and technologies deployed.

Traditional methods of dust collection and filtration are being reconsidered and redesigned, with baghouses, filter bags, dust extractor units and filtration systems being redesigned during the process. 

This has led to suppliers re-thinking how the media used, the types of materials best suited to filter media (such as filter bags, and press cloth), along with the maximum dust extraction and emission levels any of their manufacturing units produce.

Additionally, this has led filtration unit manufacturers that produce the dust extractor systems to work closer with their clients to gather the data from the factory’s output to better inform manufactures of the exact measurements the dust collector should ensure to meet the local emission criteria.

Changing Filter Media to Improve Emissions

For the manufacturers of units and filter media themselves, considerations around the casing tightness and suction has yielded innovative types of filter bags and cartridges to allow for cleaner air flow and more stringent dust collection without leakage. 

Additionally, the dust collection bags are increasing their contact to surface areas which is allowing for higher collection and less room for missing any dust through the filter. Furthermore, the pressure of the bag collar on drawn edges are increased to allow for higher pressure across the system.

When considering filter cages, the life-cycle of the dust collection bag has been considered further. The fitting of the bag-to-cage is being re-designed to ensure that there is no pressure during removal and cleaning of the bag, resisting the increased wear and tear of traditional filter bag cages and filter bag operations. This activity has lead to the increase in reducing stress on the machinery, while also reducing power consumption and increasing efficiency.

From an internal process and innovation standpoint ClipOn’s activity to improve bag lifespan, filter performance and emission efficiency has resulted in the regular pulsating of the bags to ensure the captured dust is collected at the hopper, so it can be reused to have the dual purpose of emission and re-usability of raw materials, adhering to the recycling standards of the EU and Asian communities. This helps cost-to-production for industries in the cement and limestone industries.

Additionally, the installed a pre-filter with dust pre-separation now reduces the load on the main dust collector. This ensures not only a longer life span but also double protects the environment from emissions and pollutants.

How to Ensure You are Compliant with the EMB Regulations

To ensure as a business that you are compliant with your locations emission standards, you should research and understand your local emission regulations per your city, region and county.

Additionally, working closer with your dust extraction unit manufacturer will help you both to configure a system that is extremely efficient in the process of dust collection and filtration. 

Better understanding of the type of solution you require, whether that be pleated filter bags or non-pleated filter bags to cartridge filters will yield the most efficient results in reducing your emission levels to maximum dust collection.

Furthermore, you should also consider 6-monthly to yearly reviews of your extraction system from your unit manufacturer to ensure the machinery is working to maximum efficiency. Naturally, you can do this using the collection data from your system and calculate the PPM to see if you’re exceeding your emission levels. This will allow you to act fast in rectifying any issues derived from the unit.

Your Complete Guide to Transmission Belting

What Are Transmission Belts?

Transmission belts are a continuous loop belt, set between two ‘pulleys’ to transmit power through the transmission belting into the machinery the belting is situated.

Transmission belting is used across an array of industries from automotive manufacturing and performance through to industrial belting production and manufacturing as well as a source of motion 

Positive Drive vs Friction Drive Transmission

Fundamentally there are two forms of transmission belting for power transmission. These are either friction drive or positive drive. Friction drive belts utilize the friction between the belt and pulley to transmit power. The friction drive belting requires balanced tension to maintain the right levels of friction. These are traditionally flat belts.

Positive drive belts will rely on the engagement of what is referred to as ‘teeth’ on the belt within the grooves on the pulley(s). There is no slippage with this transmission belt unless the teeth between the grooves ‘jump’.

Different Types of Friction Drive Transmission Belting

Depending on the requirement for power transmission, the type of belt will be fundamental to either friction or positive drive belts. 

Outside of plastic or rubber drive belts, woven transmission belting is used specifically for friction drive belts. The types of friction drive belts are typically drop stamp, flat nylon belts or hair belting.

Drop Stamp Belts

Used specifically in the forging industry, drop stamp belts (also referred to as ‘hammer belts’), are a type of heavy duty lifting transmission belt.

The belt drop hammer one is of many drop forging machine tools used within the industry. How the drop stamp belt is used, is by rollers that grip the belt connecting it to the ‘ram’. The rollers allow the belt to raise the hammer which causes the belt to slack. The next stage of the process is the pulling apart of the rollers which releases the belt – this allows the hammer to fall using gravitated force to hammer the metal sheet in place.

The drop stamp belt is made from polyester multi-filament and ply yarn, covered by play layers of cotton on both the top and bottom of they polyester core layer.

To increase durability, and avoidance of abrasion during lifting, the drop stamp belt is treated with a temperature resistant coating. By treating the media this way, this gives the drop stamp belt an increased friction property.

The key components of a drop stamp belt are:

Long Lifespan 

Due to the multi-filament yarn, weave construction and temperature resistance coating, a drop stamp belt is extremely durable with high-levels of strength. This makes for a longer living belt solution perfect for the lifting and forging industries.

Special Impregnation

The temperature resistance impregnation of the polyester filament layer means that the drop stamp belt can perform in much tougher temperature than other transmission belting.

High Friction Coefficient

The frictional force  derived from the drop stamp belt is greater than that of say rubber or PVC transmission belts. This allows for no sticking and smoother transition between the rollers of the drop stamp machine.

Hair Belting

Unlike drop stamp belts, hair transmission belts are used within power transmission. Made from a combination of nylon and wool hair woven into the ‘wrap’ ply of the belt before cotton is added to the loom and is then treated with bitumen impregnated into the cotton for additional strength, power and a the prevention of fungus properties. 

These transmission belts are woven using the traditional ‘warp and weft’ technique which ensures a robust and highly durable power transmission belt. Hair belting uses a ‘twisted cord’ edge to avoid any fraying from the belt which provides a longer lifespan to the belt.

Hair belting is used across all industries powering the drive shaft and is preferred to other belting due to the belts ability to bite on the pulley which avoids slippage and losses of power. In hotter climates, hair belting performs at a much higher capacity to its compatriot transmission belts.

Flat Nylon Belting

Flat transmission belts are a form of friction drive belt relying on the friction between the belt and pulley to transmit power across the machinery. These belts are particularly used in high performance areas with smaller pulleys in central areas.

The belt comes in both endless and connected forms depending on the requirements of the pulley and powers transmission required. Flat belts use tension to maintain the correct level of friction across the belting – this allows for a balanced friction coefficient and transmission of power from the drive shaft through to the pulley. 

Flat belts are traditionally manufactured using nylon material for both short and high ratio drives; performing better when crowning one pulley that is larger than the other.

The flat transmission belt relies heavily on alignment and when aligned correctly, the belts lifespan increases ten fold. Due to the belting’s lack of grooves, energy loss and wear and tear is at a minimum.

Flat Belt Drive vs V-Belt Drive

Often, there is a common misconception between flat belt drives and v-belt drives. While both belts are used in friction transmission, ultimately, there are substantial differences in how the belts are executed and perform within the pulley.

Flat Belt DriveV-Belt Drive
Flat belts only maintain surface contact on one side with the pulleyV-belts maintain contact surface with the pulley on both sides
Flat belts are preferred for long distance transmissionV-belt drives are preferred for short-medium distance transmission
The rectangular cross-section allows for a thicker belt widthThe trapezoidal cross-section allows for balanced belt width
Cheaper in construction and easier to configureCostlier to construct and more complex to configure
Can be utilized and configured for stepped pulley systemCannot be utilized, nor configured for stepped pulley system
Power transmission is lower, making flat belts more efficient (3% more than v-belts)More power transmission, but less efficient
Can be used in dirty environmentsMust be treated and cased before being used in dirty environment

Woven Transmission Belts vs Other Transmission Belting

Across transmission belting there are multiple materials used in the execution of friction transmission. These range from woven materials such as nylon, cotton etc. and thermoplastic such as PVC, or rubber belting materials. 

A true transmission belt manufacturer needs to understand the nuances and differences in performance between both positive drive and friction drive transmission belting while also understanding the material best suited to the machinery, drive solution and pulleys. 

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.

Modular Conveyor Belts – Everything You Need to Know

What are Modular Conveyor Belts?

Modular conveyor belts are a belting solution that is used in applications and industries where curves are needed within the belting.

This is traditionally a logistical requirement to ensure efficient use of space and facilities around the conveyor belt.

Furthermore, the modular belt uses positive drive to move the conveyor forward rather than using friction as a means of pulling the belt, like traditional conveyor belts use.

The modular conveyor belt uses sprockets underneath the belt to help it move forward. The key here is in the design of the belt to ensure the right number of sprockets are used to fit the belts requirements and ensure optimal performance.

What are Modular Conveyor Belts Made from?

Modular belts (often referred to as ‘Radius belts’, are made using segmented pieces of treated plastics that are connected together with hinges and rods.

The purpose of this is to allow the conveyor belt to run smoothly around corners without collapsing along the curves of the belt.

Modular conveyor belts are made this way for food and chemical industries. This belt material is easy to maintain and clean, making it very low maintenance.

Due to the construction of the modular belt, should a segment of the belt break, it is extremely efficient in fixing. The broken segment is removed from the belt, and a new segment added. This ensures the belt is low cost to maintain and does not need to be fully replaced should a piece of it break.

Modular Belt Plastic Types

As with any conveyor belt, the environment and requirements from the belt itself will determine the material used. Plastic module belts are no different. For example, the requirement for a post-oven biscuit production modular belt will be different to that of a plastic modular belt that is needed for cold chemical production and conveying.

Therefore, it’s important as the customer that you known your true requirements prior to engaging a modular belting designer. The types of plastic and material traditional used in modular conveyor belting is:

Polyproplene

This material is used for belts that may be used in extremely hot temperatures of up to 100’C. The hardness of this material creates a strong pulling force, which is great for conveying heavier loads as it drives the belt forward.

Additionally, the Polyproplene belt has a strong resistance to chemicals, so cleaning and wipe down should be relatively easy to the belt operator.

Polycetal

This is the ‘all-rounder’ of plastic belt types. Typically strong, and can work in extreme temperatures at both ends of the spectrum; be it super cold, or extremely hot. 

This material is again, typically hard, and has great pulling force, but it also has a reduced friction characteristic, which provides support to the rest of the conveyor belt and the product conveyed.

However, this belt is traditionally sensitive to impact, and can be damaged easier than other plastic module belts.

Polyethylene

As a belt that is used in colder temperatures, this belting material also has a strength resistance to impact and blows. The belt can be used in areas of up to -75’C, and due to it’s strength resistance to impact, the belt has a much longer life-span to it’s counter parts.

What Industries Use Modular Conveyor Belts?

Modular conveyor belts are used in an array of industries due to their ability to be used in a range of temperatures, climates and manufacturing units. Typically modular belts are used in:

Biscuit Manufacturing

Towards the end of the cooling phase of biscuit production, where the biscuits have been packaged and are being distributed to lorries etc. to be shipped to customers, modular belting is used to move the heavy boxes to their final destination.

Cooling Systems

Across all industries that require cooling belts, the modular belting solution can be used in tandem with woven belting to help cool elements manufactured. Typically Polycetal and polyproplene belts are used in cooling systems as they posses a much higher performance in extremely cold temperatures.

Chemical Production

Again, due to their ability to perform in extreme environments, and their resistance to chemical contamination, and abrasion, modular belting is seen as the ideal solution for chemical and medical production. The belt is often used in conveyor systems within pharmaceutical, and chemical industries.

Food Production

Plastic module belts have to be FDA approved in order to be used in food production. This is to ensure there is no contamination when the food is being processed and manufactured through the conveyor line.

Polyethylene, and Polyproplene belting is traditionally the go-to plastic module belt for food production due to their ability to not contaminate the food, however, polycetal is not usually recommended.

Nylon material can be used in modular conveyor belts, too, and is FDA approved.

Nylon can be used in both warm and cold areas as it performs in temperatures ranging from -45’C to 160’C.

Nylon is a soft material with a good pulling force, and a high impact strength as well as great chemical resistance.

Key Characteristics of Modular Conveyor Belts

Pulling Force

The pulling force is the force distribution throughout the belt and how power is shifted between curves to maintain an even force throughout the belt. This ensures there are no problems throughout the conveyor belt during production. 

Impact Strength

Belts that have a high impact strength are preferred due to their ability to absorb impact. A belt that can absorb blunt force or impact from materials traditionally has a longer lifespan than belts with a low impact strength. Modular belts that have a high impact strength tend to be used ahead of modular conveyor belts that do not posses high impact strength.

Strength

Strength is different to impact strength. By strength, this is meant as the strength by which the belt can use the force to conveyor heavy loads around the conveyor effectively and efficiently without causing collapses, or stoppages.

Resistance to Temperature

Modular conveyor belts can perform in very hot and cold temperatures due to the materials used, making them a first choice for both hot and cold installations.

Traditionally, modular conveyor belts use a combination of these our key characteristics with the materials they use to produce the conveyor belts that can perform in harsh environments to maximum capacity.

What Does Pulling Force Mean?

There is a serious science behind the design of a modular belt. 

In a traditionally straight conveyor, the pulling force will be equally distributed throughout the entire belt ensuring no transversal force occurs along the belt.

In modular conveyor belts this is an entirely different prospect due to the belts curvature. In a radius belt, when the belt is pulled through a curve, the rows of the belt can come together causing a collapse of the transfer of force isn’t shifted correctly. If this were to happen, the traction force of the belt would need to be shifted to the outer curve to counteract the collapse of the inner curve.

The timing of this shift of force is key to ensuring a smooth conveyor solution and typically, the shift has started before the curve has begun to further safeguard the curve from collapsing.

The outer links of the modular belt carry the tangential force, this causes the radial force to take place along the curved section of the belting.  As the belt weight and carry load (product being conveyed) must be pulled, the highest traction force occurs at the the end of the belt. 

The strength of the modular belt will always be in the ‘straight pull’, therefore a conveyor designed with curves earlier on in the belt solution finalized with a straight track is always the preferred solution for the most effective radius belts.

Pro's of Using Modular Conveyor Belts

The use of positive drive means the modular belt is a more ‘user-friendly’ and flexible conveyor solution. Plastic modular belting is a low-tension solution, allowing the use of less pulley’s throughout the belt.

Furthermore, there is much more freedom in the design of a modular conveyor belt. For engineers and belting designers, the freedom of the modular belt is that it can, in theory, be wider than it is long and can maintain tracking in the process.

Historically, this belting type has been used to navigate curves and corners, and does so well when designed correctly; there isn’t another belting solution that can do this as well, for the same price. Woven belting can be manufactured to navigate curves similarly to Modular conveyors, however, this is cost-prohibitive in relation to the modular belt solution.

Finally, the belt is easy to maintain, clean and fix. This makes the belt an agile proposition and one many industry experts recommend given the requirements of the solution.

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.

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