Conveyor belts are a staple feature in almost every form of factorial industry. These handy machines were invented in 1905 by Richard Sutcliffe in order to support coal miners in the mining industry. They finally began to pick up steam when the likes of Henry Ford began use them in order to mass produce products like cars. Companies recognised that conveyors are not only good for handling heavier equipment in a quicker and safer way, but they are also cheaper than the cost of manual labour. Consequently, it didn’t take long for the confectionery industry to hop on board with brands like Cadburys and Haribo’s relying on technological companies like Berndorf to supply them with belts, as they are a great financial investment for many companies. Since the rise of e-commerce, population sizes and consumer demand, conveyor belts are having to adapt to become more agile and comply with consumer needs and health and environmental standards. Consumer needs have risen unsurprisingly due to the growing population and ever-changing consumer culture which has seen people desiring more products, again meaning companies have had to keep up with these demands now more than ever. Especially since the impact of COVID-19, equipment is expected to be more hygienic than ever and worker interaction with this type of equipment has had to be minimised to reduce spread – meaning that conveyors have had to become more technically advanced and independent.
Before we can divulge into these new and exciting developments it is first important to establish what conveyors and belts are, how they function, and what they are made of. First of all, a conveyor belt is a part of a conveyor system, which is a form of mechanical handling equipment that moves materials from one location to another. As aforementioned, they are great for handling bulk and incredibly heavy items whilst transporting them in a fast yet safe manner. Conveyors are used all around us not just in the industrial markets like car or confectionery manufacturing, but they are also used in airports and supermarkets – making them a fixated and heavy relied upon feature in our lives.
There are also many types of conveyor systems that companies use! Including an aero-mechanical conveyor which is used to handle dry powders and granules, chain conveyors that are used mainly in the automotive industry, and finally conveyor belts which are common within the confectionery business. There are many types of conveyor belts such as a cleated belt conveyor which is great for when a product is being transported upwards, allowing for products maintain on the belt, and flat conveyor belts which are the classic form of conveyor belts used within the packaging industry. The confectionery industry utilises many types of conveyor belts depending on the product being used, be it handling food or packaged goods, and the mechanical process/direction occurring.
Read the full article in our Novmeber-December issue here: International Confectionery (pagesuite-professional.co.uk)
Editor, International Confectionery
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