Conveyor belts are a vital part of manufacturing and today, offer varied roles in food production. International Confectionery explores their varying uses and important considerations.
Conveyors are vital for conveying raw materials and end products for confectionery during the production process, but there are a number of factors which need to be considered when picking what conveyor belts to implement. During the production process confectionery products like toffee or chocolate often have sticky textures, so the conveyor needs to be made from a material which is capable of handling sticky textures with easy release, to reduce the likelihood of the product sticking to the belt. Whether this is an end product or bulk raw materials that are being conveyed, the wide range of conveyor belts are able to handle this, as well as cooling conveyors and conveyors capable of metal detection which reflect the variety of roles they can provide in manufacturing.
Conveying systems don’t take just one shape in the food and beverage industry, as the processes themselves are varied. Common types used today include belt conveyors, vibratory conveyors and tubular cable drag conveyors. Basic conveyor belts work to transport confectionery products throughout the production process. Processes such as enrobing, cooling, packaging, coating, metal detection and check weighing can all be achieved thanks to the implementation of conveying systems.
Vibratory conveyors work well for transferring sticky confectionery products and any other difficult bulky products by using vertical motion. The conveyor moves upward at a particular angle and in doing so, lifts the product which is then moved forwards through each vibration. When determining which vibratory conveyor to use, this will depend on the kind of product being conveyed, how much of it will be conveyed, and at what speed it needs to be conveyed: all of this information will provide a better picture of the conveyor required. Tubular drag conveyors are commonly used in transporting bulk materials, as they use a chain and disc assembly to pull or drag material along in a sealed tube.
It goes without saying that the hygiene of conveying systems is imperative as they come into contact with food. Conveyors are designed based on criteria related to the overall hygiene required for the production facility, the products that will be processed, as well as a HACCP plan and hazard analysis. Considerations for the manufacturing of conveying systems need to focus on making the system easily accessible for inspection and maintenance, the materials need to be made with tension resistant, water-tight and non-absorbent materials to reduce the risk of contamination, and need to be smooth and resistant of any cracks and crevices to prevent microorganisms from growing in the cracks...
To read more see our latest issue here.