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. 

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.

Other Industries we Serve...

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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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