Conveyor belts and their role in the food industry
The conveyor belt has come a long way since its first inception.
Transport of bulk materials via conveyor belts dates back to around 1795, according to the Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association (MHEDA). Originally used in the agriculture industry to transport grain over short distances, these conveyor systems were very primitive and often made of leather belts travelling over flat wooden beds.
Fast forward over 200 years, conveyor systems have become a lot more sophisticated and are an integral part of a diverse range of industries. Not only are they an efficient and cost-effective way of transporting goods, conveyor belts can be integrated into the manufacturing process, dramatically improving their throughput.
Conveyor belts in the food industry
The food industry has been revolutionised by the application of conveyor systems. With the right belting material, food processing (such as cooking, freezing) can be facilitated almost entirely without human intervention.
Take the baking industry, for example. Conveyor belts are able to follow the goods from raw to cooked product through ovens on a single line, cutting production time and increasing throughput.
Choosing the right material in a conveyor system is key in determining its applicable functions. Below, we’ve outlined several products and their use in the food industry:
1. Spiral wire: This versatile product can be used for many applications, from heat treatment to food processing, thanks to the wide range of metal wire types the belts can be manufactured from.
2. Plastic hybrid: With the versatility of plastic and strength of stainless steel, plastic hybrid is particularly useful in cooler environments, such the transportation of seafood or frozen goods.
3. Rolmat: Airflow is important in the transportation of food, whether cooling a product down or preventing moisture buildup. Rolmat belts are flat with a maximum open area to facilitate the flow of air around a product.
4. Uniflex: This highly flexible belt is made made up of interlocking strands of high-tensile wire. Widely used in the confectionery and snack food industries, Uniflex is used in drying, washing, coating, cooking and cooling applications.
Part of what makes a conveyor system such a vital part of industry, not just food manufacturing, is the versatility it brings. With metal belts, Locker Group can manufacture systems to any width or length, withstanding temperatures as low as -250°C and as high as 1200°C.
To find out more about our range of products, get in touch with the team at Locker Group today.