What Industries Use Conveyor Belt Systems?

What Industries Use Conveyor Belt Systems?

Conveyor belt systems are used all over the world. Different conveyor belt types are used depending on the industry they’re used. Each belt type may also use various types of material depending on the belt functional requirements.

Conveyor belts are manufactured mainly in India are are sourced to factories and manufactural units globally, with main uses in China, and African countries. This is due to where the mass productions of products take place. 

Biscuit conveyor belts, for example, may be manufactured on-site in say, the UK, but the rotary moulder conveyor belt may have in fact been manufactured by an Indian conveyor belting manufacturing company.

Industries that Use Conveyor Belts

Mining Industries

Mining industries benefit from using conveyor belt systems to improve efficiency and long-term performance of the mining of materials. 

Depending on the specific mining trade, the conveyor belt solution they use may vary. For example, the mining of bulk powder materials uses pneumatic conveyor systems that use fan pressured air to lift the bulk power and allow it to pass through the conveyor system in a fluid, liquid like motion 

This particular system uses an air slide conveyor belt made from cotton and nylon to help transport the mined materials from one area to another. 

For heavier, larger materials, chain-link conveyor belt systems are used due to the iron being stronger. Using metal allows the transportation of heavier stone or wood chips to their destination.

Biscuit Manufacturing

In 2018 £3bn worth of biscuits were sold in the UK alone – clearly, there’s a market for it. Therefore, biscuit production requires constant efficiency monitoring during production. This is where the cotton conveyor belt is used. 

To decrease labour and streamline production processes/costs, conveyor belts are used at nearly all stages of the biscuit production. 

However, cotton belting is used for more than just operational efficiency. The rotary moulder conveyor belt, which is made from predominantly cotton is used to safely transport dough pieces between belts and towards the oven for cooking. There is a refined process for this that ensures the dough pieces do not break during this phase. 

Goods Handling

Purely for the basis of efficiency, conveyor belt systems are used for transporting goods across a site. This can be from packaging through to delivery, speeding up how goods are delivered to the logistical team. 

In these instances, thermoplastic conveyor belt systems are likely to be used due to their high propensity for strength. These conveyor belts rarely tear and use an easy to maintain polymer.

Pharmaceutical Production

Like goods handling, pharmaceutical production and handling requires the use of thermoplastic conveyor belting. The properties not only make for a strong and durable conveyor belt, but a system that can perform in harsher conditions. 

During medical production, temperatures may drop below zero or ramp up beyond heat bearable to human touch. Therefore, a plastic belting is needed that can perform under these harsh conditions. This is a conveyor belt material than can repel liquid and is extremely easy-to-maintain. 

Airport Baggage

Airport baggage claims uses a rotary conveyor belt system that uses polyester and nylon or rubber to transport passengers luggage from the aircraft to the baggage claim section of the airport. 

These conveyor belts are robust and highly durable. There is a need for this due to constant impact from suitcases hitting the conveyor belt at various angles and forces. Therefore, these materials make for the best conveyor transportation systems for airport baggage claims. 

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.

Biscuit Conveyor Belts – Everything You Need to Know

What is a Biscuit Conveyor Belt?

Biscuit conveyor belts are a form of conveyor belt that is used in the manufacturing and production of biscuits and crackers. 

There are two forms of biscuit conveyor belts; the woven conveyor belt; which is used pre-oven and post-oven, and the modular conveyor belt; which is used for transportation and tracking.

What are Biscuit Conveyor Belts Made from?

Modular conveyor belts that are used solely in transporting the packaging of the biscuit are made from modular plastic blocks. The modular conveyor belt is a fantastic solution, because should a block break, the belt is constructed in a way that means only the block needs to be replaced, and not the whole conveyor belt. This makes the modular conveyor belt an extreely cost-effective solution.

Woven conveyor belts that are used for the production of biscuits and crackers are made using either one of three materials, or a blend of each. This depends on the requirement from the belt. 

Examples of requirements for biscuit conveyor belting may be:

Moisture Retention

Depending on the moisture regain reqired from the belt, the conveyor belt will vary from cotton to polyester. Cotton has a stronger moisture regain than both polyester and nylon belting. This makes cotton a better conveyor belt material for biscuits and crackers with a denser base. 

Durability

Nylon conveyor belting is known to be more durable, as it can be chemically manipulated. However, in food manufacturing this ‘coating’ treatment must be done in accordance with FDA approval to ensure the belting doesn’t contaminate the biscuit. 

Polyester when treated with a coating, is also a very durable conveyor belt solution, which is highly durable against abrasion and tear. The problem lies with polyester in it’s inability to absorb vegetable fats, which makes the material a more suitable belt for less dense biscuits. 

Air Permeability

Air permeability is about as much the material as it is the weave, do a degree. However, it is known that cotton belting provides a smoother air transition through the weave. This allows for more efficient cooling of the base of the biscuit/cracker, which positively impacts the quality of the biscuit delivered.

Lifespan

Both cotton, nylon and even polyester have strong lifespans, especially when maintained well, and in the right working environment. 

The longest lifespan is the nylon based industrial belt, closely followed by cotton. 

A strong conveyor belt system that is looked after correctly will last around 18+ months, and sometimes even longer. 

The Process of Manufacturing Biscuits Using Conveyor Belts

Biscuits all over the world are made using biscuit conveyor belts. Shortbreads, crackers, bourbons, custard creams and more. The biscuit you might be eating while reading this article with your cup of tea or coffee has a high possibility of being manufactured using a conveyor belt system.

Depending on the stage of the biscuit manufacturing process, various conveyor belting systems are used. In fact, the biscuit manufacturing process can be broken down into four key stages of production:

1) Pre-Oven stage – Rotary Moulder section.
2) Oven Stage – Here due to sever heating only wire mesh belts are used
3) Post Oven – The Cooling Section
4) Packing Section.

Stage One - Pre-Oven Stage

Most biscuits are made using a soft-dough. During stage one of the biscuit production process rotary mouldar belting, and cotton belts are used. 

During this stage, the steamed or boiled dough (referred to as ‘kibbled dough’) is put through a dough-hopper. The machine usually determines the piece weight per biscuit. 

This process usually a castellated forcing roll and molding roll to press the dough together with the engraved molding roll, giving the biscuit it’s famous engraved design (think Oreo, Malted Milk’s, McVities etc.)

Next, the woven endless extraction web is pressed against the molding using a rubber covered roll, and the  dough biscuits are removed from the engraved impressions in the molding roll.

The dough pieces are then passed onto a panning web with a nose form from the molder roll, and move on to the next stage of the biscuit production process.

Traditionally, cotton conveyor belts have been used throughout this process due to their effective ply. The cotton belting is used in both stage one and stage three of the biscuit conveyor belt solution. 

Stage Two - Oven/Baking Stage

During the the baking stage of the biscuit production process, different biscuits will be cooked at varying temperatures inside a ‘tunnel oven’. These temperatures are set based on desired softness, color and texture of biscuit depending on the grain used to create the dough. Depending on the type of oven, and amount of zones used, the number of extraction points and biscuit size can also vary.

During this process the dough may go through a number of heating methods, to facilitate baking, and the ovens will manage the moisture removal internally, before passing the cookies and biscuits onto metal wire mesh for the next stage of the biscuit manufacturing process.

By the end of the bake the biscuit produced will have changed it’s moisture content, density, shape, color.

Stage Three Post-Oven - The Cooling Section

As the biscuit is finished baking, it needs to cool, and be ready for handling. Therefore, it is placed back onto a cotton conveyor belt, or, in some cases, a woven air slide belt

These types of woven conveyor belts are typically used as they help aid the cooling process of the biscuit manufacturing much quicker than other conveyor belts would. This is due to their air permeability (the ability the belt has to use it’s ply to allow air to pass through the bottom of the belt, cooling the bottom of the biscuit as well as the revealed top of the biscuit being subject to fan air within a convection tunnel. 

Later on in the cooling stage of biscuit production, the hardened, yet still hot biscuit is moved onto a modular conveyor belt and the process of removing burnt and broken biscuits is formed before moving into the final stage of biscuit production, the packaging section. 

Stage Four - Packing Section

The packing stage of biscuit production needn’t require a cotton conveyor belt, and usually further utilises the modular conveyor belt.
 
As the biscuits are moved into the packaging phase trained staff then take the biscuits and move them into the required packaging based on the production and customer needs. 
 
The biscuits are boxed and stored away, ready for delivery to supermarkets, and online buyers.

Biscuit Conveyor Belt Manufacturers

Biscuit conveyor belt manufacturers in India will usually source materials such as British cotton, and manufacture in Asia before moving the belt to the required location. This is not an uncommon practice, and any conveyor belt manufacturer worth their grain of salt will have a robust and efficient logistics and delivery plan for their belting. 

Conveyor belt manufacturers, like ClipOn ship to biscuit manufacturing companies in Egypt, Africa, India, China, the UK and America. 

When dealing with a biscuit belt manufacturer, ensure you receive first-in-class consultation and analysis of your current situation before engaging in a conveyor belt solution. Again, the best conveyor belt manufacturers provide consultation, analysis of your work area, and conveyor belt solution, and requirements before providing a final solution.

Biscuit Conveyor Belts to Choose from...

Cotton Conveyor Belts are our specialty, and can be used across all food production verticals due to their durability and long-life span.

Air Slide Belts are used specifically in the cooling section of the biscuit manufacturing processes as air travels through the underneath ply.

Modular belts are robust belting solutions that are traditionally used during advanced cooling and packaging stages.

Solid Heavy Duty Belt

Our in house specialty renders us the unique ability to form heavy conveyor belts. Belts from 6mm to 16mm, and in 4000 GSM to 14000 GSM . These belts can endure pressure upto 75 Mpa with  coeffecicient of friction greater than 0.4. Our belts can be made with blended yarns that we would design to ensure your material would be transported seamlessly.

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