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. 

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.

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.

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