There are as many applications as products to produce and it can be difficult to determine the right belt for each process. In today’s blog I will discuss the special materials utilized for plastic modular belts in specific applications.
Do you need a more resistant plastic modular belt?
For 80% of applications, standard materials like PP, PE or POM are sufficient. But there are also some applications with special demands, such as oven processes which requires a belt with high temperature resistance. Another example would be a car assembly line which requires electrostatic discharge (ESD) properties to protect the electronic components.
Some belts have to convey heavy trucks, while others convey delicate bakery goods. All these applications require special properties which you will find in the Habasit portfolio. Below you will read about some of the special plastic materials along with examples of their applications.
Electrically conductive material (+EC or +FC) to avoid electrostatic discharge (ESD)
When handling electronic components, it is necesary to avoid electrostatic discharge (ESD) which can cause damage to the product. Have you seen any modern car without electronics? Unlikely. So you can easily imagine how necessary a good +EC material is in any car assembly line. In some cases, it is also beneficial to use a flame retardant and conductive +FC belt material, especially if you have long conveyors which connect one building to another. Some fire insurances even recommend having such belt materials to prevent the flame from moving from one fire zone to another.
Preventing the spread of fire with flame retardant material (+FR, +FC, +ST)
Most materials used for plastic modular belts burn easily. If it burns, it emits toxic gases and dense smoke. Other plastics will burn with a nearly invisible flame. A fire may cause significant damage and production loss. Each year, several fires are started by burning products on conveyor belts. One critical point would be the first belt that is contacted after a product comes out of an oven. If the product gets stuck in the oven, it could happen that it catches fire and is delivered in flames onto the belt. Therefore, the first surface after the oven should be fire retardant so that it does not cause further damage by igniting the belt. For non- food products, the +FR or the +FC would be the material of choice. If the belt is in direct food contact, the +ST would be the best option.
Detectable plastic material (+DE or +DX)
The worst thing that can happen in the food industry is a product being recalled because of contamination. This can be caused by broken machinery, or in some cases, the contamination can actually be the cause of the breakdown. Critical production lines are equipped with metal or x-ray detectors. To make the plastic material of a conveyor belt detectable, we have developed +DE and +DX materials with special fillers which make the surface easily visible. Made especially for lines with x-ray detectors, we have the +DX filler which will consistenly provide the best results.
Preventing early belt failure with fatigue resistant material (+JM)
Demanding applications like radius belts or high loaded straight conveyor belts require long-lasting fatigue resistant materials. Every cycle of a belt is cause for wear and fatigue of the material. The higher the load on the belt, the higher the fatigue effect. For such applications we have a tough, very fatigue resistant +JM material which has proven durable over many years of demanding applications.
High impact and cut resistant material increases the belt service life (+IM)
Have you seen the working conditions in a meat deboning line? It is difficult to imagine a rougher impact or harsher mechanical action on the surface of a belt. The meat is cut and deboned with knives, meat axes or rotating knives directly on the belt. The belt surface acts as a deboning table. If the wrong material is used, the lifetime of the belt can be quite short. +IM materials are modified to withstand the wear so that the lifetime can be extended for month, or even years. The balance between impact and cut resistance offers an optimum lifetime at a reasonable cost.
Habasit has a large selection of modular belts that can be used for many applications. You can download our Plastic Modular Belts Product Guide or contact us, and we will tell you more!