The food industry is moving towards higher hygiene levels, lower costs and top quality products while adopting green technologies.
New generation belts use less power, and require less maintenance and cleaning, keeping the environment safe by having less water to treat and dump.
In the beginning of the 20th century belting manufacturers introduced the plied flat belts . These belts have several layers composed of PU or PVC and fabric to reinforce the belt, and while they solved some problem, they also created other, more critical, issues.
Flat plied belts absorb fluids and moisture, causing the layers to easily separate and make the belt unusable. Furthermore, the fabric frays, which may get into the conveyed products. This is the reason why plied belts do not comply with international sanitation standards after a short operation time. A complicated, time-consuming finger splicing procedure is required when repairing and installing the belts and fabrications break easily since they are glued or welded onto a very thin belt base.
Volta flat homogenous belts are extruded in one piece and with no ply. This gives them the advantage of smooth sides and edges that are easily cleaned and have very low bacteria counts, since the material does not absorb liquids or moisture. These belts are easily repaired, installed on-site and made endless by using a simple welding procedure.
Flat homogenous belts have a long life service as they are extremely resistant to chemicals, water, oils and abrasion. The belts are a strong base for welding fabrications such as cleats and sidewalls, which are made of the same sturdy material that will not wear or break.
Introduced in the 1980s, modular belts have a different design from the traditional flat belts in that they are composed of rigid modular plastic components and are linked with pins. The main advantages of modular belts are that there is no belt slippage and no off-tracking. This solution is very reasonable when used correctly and where there is no direct contact with the food.
However, food industries have huge issues concerning sanitation and food safety when using modular belts since they require very long sanitation time, because food residue tends to collect and build up on belts’ inner pins and edges.
The belts go through a long soaking process and cleaning at high water pressure, which isn’t effective most of the times. Modular components also tend to break into pieces and may find their way into food products. Above all, sanitation of modular belts consumes large amounts of fresh water.
The next generation
Positive-drive flat homogenous belts are the new generation in the belting technology. The positive-drive belts are designed to solve the most crucial conveying problems in the food industry. These belts have integrated teeth on the drive-side to eliminate belt slippage and off-tracking and a smooth homogenous surface on the conveying side.
The smooth surfaces are easily and effectively cleaned, with no soaking required. The non-absorbent material also has significantly less bacteria. There are no fabric layers or modular component to contend with and the belt will therefore not fray nor brake into pieces.
After using two new SuperDrive belts, Vietnam’s Minh Phu Sea Food Plant director, Thai Hoang Hung, said that “in regards to hygiene, the Volta belt is very convenient in installation, easy to clean and, because, there is no space for bacteria to harbor on the belt, the belt does not leave the bad odour caused by bacteria.”
SuperDrive belts have integral teeth which function as a positive-drive and guide for the belt. This in turn, prevents slippage, belt tension and off-tracking. SuperDrive provides easy retrofit from modular conveyors, or on any new conveyor design. DualDrive generally replaces modular belts with no retrofit requirements, highly important to those who use modular belts and are interested in reducing running costs and eliminating HACCP points.
This belt, like all Volta belts, is extruded in one continuous process. The top and bottom of the belt are smooth and shiny with no further processing marks (scratches or cracks) that can lead to cracking of the belt. In addition, the belt has no production limitations, and even a 60 metre length conveyor belt can be supplied in one continuous length, without factory splicing. DualDrive SP is designed for light and relatively delicate applications in the food industry.