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Conveyor considerations

11 January 2021

Jeremy Byrne, managing director of GB Belting, offers specification advice for conveying solutions for food industry applications. 

Will it comply with hygiene regulations? Safety is a priority in all aspects of food manufacturing, guidance related to food conveyors are provided by the FDA, USDA, EHEDG, HACCP and EU regulations. Belts approved for use with food products will come with compliance certificates, confirming they meet the required standards. If no certificates are available for the belt you considering using, then in all probability you shouldn’t be using it.

What is the specification? A defined specification is vital. Ideally the conveyor should be designed around the belt, as the belt is the main contact point between the product and the factory. The parameters of the belt should control the mechanical specification of the conveyor. For example, if a small transfer point is needed, then the belt should be capable of going around small rollers. Reducing product waste, operating with existing machinery and space available are also major considerations.

What might the future hold for the line? Changes in production practices mean that sometimes perfectly good machinery becomes obsolete. So, adaptability and the possibility of a multi-use conveyor should be considered – modular systems which could be mobile and could be adjusted to other uses – could offer greater value, extend the life of a conveyor, and save future expenditure.

How easy is it to maintain? Over time a conveyor will need maintenance. Parts that wear should be readily accessible for ease of replacement. The belt is probably the largest component that will need replacing sooner or later, a conveyor designed to allow the fitting of endless belts has major benefits, such as saving time and maintenance costs.

Can it be easily cleaned? Features that offer easy maintenance are often the same features that offer best-practice when cleaning the conveyor. Easily removable guards, rollers and belts can add to the cost of the conveyor, but this investment will be quickly recouped through a reduction in labour costs and much lower water consumption.

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