News Subject: Rise of the monolithic belt.

Anyone monitoring food safety recalls will appreciate that there are still significant challenges relating to the contamination of food product by bacteria or the ingress of hard plastics.
Jeremy Byrne looks at the role that conveyors have to play.
While todays modular belt design has signifi cant advantages in many segments of general industry, it is becoming increasingly clear that the food industry is weary of the high labour and water costs, coupled with intense and complicated cleaning regimes required to ensure that modular belts remain hygienic.
To illustrate the risky nature of the modular belt, a 10m x 500mm, 1in pitch plastic modular belt could have in excess of three thousand individual plastic parts, all of which are full of voids gaps and holes. In fatty production processes, the pins frequently build up a scum that dipping into a bucket of cleaning fluid just cannot remove. The only way to thoroughly deep clean a modular belt is to completely disassemble it.
Another test was conducted in a pork plant on a conveyor carrying unpackaged pork. The test was to demonstrate the antimicrobial capability of a positively driven, polyurethane monolithic conveyor belt. The test ran over two and a half days with the belt being swabbed every two hours with a 50 x 50mm swab. The operational limit was 1500cfu/in2. The test revealed that the highest swab value was only 102cfu/in2 and the average over the two and a half days was 19.6cfu/in2.
 Jeremy Byrne is managing director at GB Belting.
News item provided by: GB Belting Ltd