Plastic and modular chain conveyors may be more encompassing than you think. Usually best suited for the pharmaceutical, food production, packaging or manufacturing industries, they offer many advantages and benefits for material handling needs. What makes these belts a good fit for your system and when should you consider using them?
The plastic modular chains are constructed of smaller plastic segments linked together by metal pins. The pieces are extremely durable and can’t tear. While you might see smaller items run on the belts, they have a high load capacity of up to 200 pounds per linear foot.
The interlinked plastic segments allow only the damaged piece(s) to be replaced, unlike a fabric belt, where the entire belt must be replaced. Correcting the damaged section rather than the entire belt takes 10-15 minutes, reducing downtime and repair costs.
Belt tracking and product integrity
Plastic chain conveyors utilize sprockets instead of pulleys. That means there are no belt tracking issues to deal with, and products maintain their integrity and position throughout the system. Product integrity along the belt reduces issues with disorientation which could result in issues later in the production line.
Plastic chain conveyors are commonly used in pharmaceutical and food production which calls for high levels of cleanliness and sterilization. A plastic chain is easily cleaned and sanitized because it’s waterproof. These processes help reduce bacteria growth in the production area.
Plastic chain conveyors boast a flexible, modular design that can be easily modified to fit your facility's space--no welding required. It's simple to add, remove or rearrange portions to an already existing plastic chain system because of the variety of accessories available. If your business rotates product packaging frequently, a plastic chain conveyor can be a great fit.
Versatile heights and bends
The interlinked design of the plastic belt has great flexibility, and the conveyor can be configured in multiple ways based on your needs. Systems that include bends, steep inclines and/or declines or spirals work well with plastic belts and can easily be configured to work with your existing conveyor system.
Some products require an increase or decrease in temperature during production. Plastic chain are versatile and can withstand temperatures from negative 4 to 140 degrees F.
Helps with quality control
Side grip units help carry products along inclines and declines. If the packaging is not filled to determined standards, it won’t meet the tension width needed to continue on the conveyor and will fall off the conveyor line. This causes products not meeting quality standards to be filtered out before shipping and gives you a quick visual of how many items are not up to quality standards.
Wet or dry products
The plastic construction is suited for wet or dry items. Particularly in food manufacturing, products need to be washed and dried during production. The waterproofing that plastic provides make the plastic chain conveyor an ideal fit.
Plastic chain conveyors are a great solution for multiple material handling needs. Learn more about Hytrol’s plastic chain line.
About the Author
Chris Woodall is Product Manager for Hytrol's modular belt line, Connex. He has more than 20 years in the material handling industry. You can e-mail Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org.