Here at CCL we know a thing or two about the best conveyors for the food industry. Having supplied this industry and worked with many customers who create the food that ends up on our plate, we wanted to share some of the most common conveyor systems (and things to consider) when planning your conveyor system for the food industry.
Any modern processing plant in 2022 will usually have a system in place, to either assist with the manufacturing, processesing or packaging of food. Clearly each environment will have their own needs, but it likely that there is some commonality in terms of the systems used. Food conveyors are the connectors, the conduit between the various different systems in place. Here at CCL we offer a full design, build and install package for conveyor systems in the food industry.
The food industry is one of the most active industries in the world, with a constant demand for new and innovative ways to increase production. The belt conveyor provides a way to do this. Belt conveyors are an efficient way to transport products because they can handle large amounts of weight and are capable of moving at high speeds. They are also used in industrial settings where there is a need for heavy-duty material handling.
The benefits of a conveyor system being used in the food industry, includes speed of production, safety of personnel and hygiene. Years ago operatives had to handle or use machinery to move products from A to B, but now that can all be handled by a conveyor belt system. Moving goods using people, tended to equal an increase in accidents and the potential for accidents. Also the handling of produce by humans and machinery increased to opportunity for infection and damage of the produce. Today it is a much improved situation.
There are many different types of belt conveyors available for the food industry, and there are different factors that need to be considered before purchasing one. For example, the material being transported, the distance it needs to go, and how much it weighs.
The first thing to consider is what type of material you will be transporting on your conveyor belt. If you will be transporting small packages of food like nuts or chocolate then you should get a small-sized conveyor belt as they are more cost-effective than larger ones. If you will be transporting heavier items like frozen meat or vegetables then a larger size would be better. Clearly the heavier the items the more consideration is required in regards to the systems maximum weight capacity.
Commonly you will find in food manufacturing environments, that a screw conveyor is used. These are a type of belt conveyor that uses rotary motion to move product from one location to another. It can be used in both high and low applications, with higher speeds for lower applications and lower speeds for high applications.
Also we often see what is known as an endless chain conveyor used, which is a type of belt conveyor that is made up of an endless chain with teeth on each link that engage with sprockets at. As the chain is made of metal it can be used in environments that are subject to hot and colder temperatures which is often a hard requirement for the food industry.
There are many types of materials that can be used on conveyor belts for the food industry. They include: plastic, woven mesh, rubber, metal, and stainless steel. It's important to know which material will work best for your process because each material has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Food approved material is a must for the flat belt, modular or slatted belting but sometimes choice is determined by your specific circumstances. CCL can of course advise on this.
Very commonly we will use stainless steel. The material of belt conveyors for the food industry is very important because it has to be resistant and easy to clean. Stainless steel is a very popular material because it meets these requirements.
Plastic of course is also up there in terms of being used as a material on belts, again as its durable, tough, and easy to make good in terms of hygiene ( when material has been damaged and leaves residue behind).
Clearly the best belt conveyors for the food industry are those that also have a durable material with a low friction coefficient. This ensures that products do not get stuck on the belt and that they move smoothly. This reduces blockages, and delays when issues occur.
Conveyors are an essential part of the food industry, as they are responsible for moving food products from one place to another. There are a variety of conveyor systems available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately the best conveyor system for your company will depend on a variety of factors, including the type of food you produce, the volume of production, and the budget.
If you would like help selecting the best conveyor system for your food production or packaging environment get in touch with CCL, we look forward to helping you.