Conveyor Innovation Bolsters Progress

Conveyors in food production are used to move products from one station to another during the processing operation. They are considered fundamental equipment in any industrial bakery, and their selection primarily depends upon the production stage and food product type.

The growing complexity of supply chains and business processes and increasing demand from consumers have encouraged bakeries to incorporate industrial automation solutions such as conveyor systems to facilitate inline operation and production. 

Conveying systems possess features and designs which contribute towards line efficiency, equipment reliability and maximizing sanitation. Line automation leads to benefits such as diminishing production time as well as overall cost of manufacturing. Moreover, factors, such as stringent regulations and change in consumer demands to make better sanitation a key priority have been the main innovation drivers in recent years.

Faced with harsh economic conditions, many equipment manufacturing companies are focusing their R&D efforts towards developing efficient market products that can reduce energy costs for their clients and, in turn, limit their carbon emissions. In order to produce energy efficient conveyor systems, leading market players are collaborating with others to develop optimized machine drives, cooling systems, or lighter and more durable belt alternatives. This is expected to further drive the global market expansion of conveyor systems, according to Future Market Insights.

Tensionless Belt Milestone

One of the biggest advancements in monolithic belted conveyance – the elimination of tension – has become a reality ever since Intralox patented the technology that provides users with a choice: Tensioned belts or Tensionless belts. 

Nowhere is that choice more glaring than in the growing field of “blue belts” that are often chosen for the hygienic benefit they bring. Each one is made up of a slightly different belt design or construction. Some offer a drive lug or full width drive bar design while others offer a material that is either homogenous or reinforced with yarns. These “blue belts” are commonly classified as positive drive belt systems. While there are nuances in each belt design, they all have one thing in common – they rely on tension for belt drive engagement. The belt must be tensioned against the drive sprocket or it will disengage under load.

The user must manage and maintain these tension levels. If tension levels are too low engagement is lost. If tension is too high, belt life is dramatically reduced. The frustrating complexity of tensioning compromises the reliability and operational efficiency of the positive drive system.  

Intralox’s ThermoDrive Technology, combines flat, homogeneous, thermoplastic material and the positive drive feature of modular plastic belting with a unique, patented belt drive engagement solution. This patented combination creates a one of a kind tensionless belt system which eliminates the costs and complexities associated with managing and maintaining a tensioned belt system. 

ThermoDrive Tensionless Belt Systems provide reliable, predictable belt drive performance throughout their operating range regardless of changing loads, friction factors, and temperatures while at the same time reducing costs, with unparalleled belt life, minimal component wear, and improved yield. 

ThermoDrive tensionless belt technology also impacts conveyor design creating new opportunities to optimize the conveyor for operational and hygienic performance delivering additional value to the customer. 

Tight-space Solution

Dorner’s recently introduced AquaGard LP conveyor is designed to fit in tight spaces, making it the ideal sanitary conveyor for dry or wipedown applications within the packaging, pharmaceutical, confectionary, bakery and other packaged food industries. 

The AquaGard LP (low profile) is the latest reiteration in the AquaGard sanitary conveyor platform. This updated version features a low-profile stainless steel frame with compact 1.25” diameter end-roller pulleys, enabling the conveyor to fit in tight spaces in and around other machinery, as well as safely operate in close proximity to employees. The pulleys also aide in the efficient transfer of small- to medium-sized products on and off the conveyor. 

The AquaGard LP’s standard tip-up tail design provides operators complete, easy access to the frame and under the belt for cleaning. Dorner’s reliable V-guided belting ensures precise belt and product tracking along with the enclosed tensioning system keeps the belt to the proper tension and provides smooth snag-free cleaning. 

Engineered to meet high sanitary standards, the AquaGard LP has earned the coveted Baking Industry Sanitary Standards Committee (BISSC) certification, which is recognized as the definitive sanitation and safety standards for equipment used in the baking industry. 
Features and benefits of the new AquaGard LP conveyor include:
•Widths between 70 mm to 457 mm (2.75 inch to 18 inches)
•Lengths between 700 mm and 5,500 mm (27.5 inches to 18 feet)
•Load capacity up to 22.7 kg (50 lbs.)
•Available in straight configurations; FDA approved belt types: cleated, flat, high friction and others
•Toolless, flexible guiding options
•10-day lead time

You can read the rest of this article in the Fall issue of Asia Pacific Baker & Biscuit magazine, which you can access by clicking here

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