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Central Conveyors are very experienced at producing conveyors of all types for food production, manufacture and processing; from initial processing of raw vegetables to manufacture of consumer end-products
Hygiene is of paramount consideration for a food conveyor. Our food conveyors can be made of 304-grade stainless steel, or of plastic. Either material is resistant to adherence of food fragments, and development of bacterial contamination. They are very easy to clean, merely requiring a wash-down with a pressure hose, or hand-cleaning with detergents.
We can supply high-IP (water resistant) motors and control panels to facilitiate washing down, including with pressure-hoses.
The picture shows a flighted PU belt on a brushed stainless steel frame. (click on it to see a larger picture)
These are not as food-safe as PU belts, but are suitable for transporting wrapped food produce (where there is limited contact between the produce and the belt).
They are not as flexible as PU belting, requiring larger end-rollers. However, it is significantly cheaper than any other food-safe belt !
Silicon is an unusual material. It's great benefit is its ability to operate at high temperatures; up to 250 degrees centigrade. Like the cotton belts (see below), it has excellent release characteristics. However, it lacks the moisture regain/absorbtion - and oil absorbtion - of the cotton belts (see below). It is also impermeable to air, so it lacks their cooling/ventilating properties. Unlike the steel belts, it does not leave an 'imprint' on the underside of the product.
Plastic Modular belting is a remarkable system for transporting produce. Originally designed in the 1970's in Louisiana, Plastic Modualar belting is a type of plastic chain, consisting of dozens of interlocked and hinged modules across the width of the belt.
The belt can be a solid-surface, like a tank track, or an open mesh. The former can bend vertically for swan-neck conveyors, typically used for elevanting produce up to a hopper. The latter, however, allows the conveyor belt to curve and bend both horizontaly and vertically, allowing it to form complex loops and curves. In the context of a food conveyor, it also allows air to circulate around the carried product to aid in cooling.
The system comes in different types of plastic, with the POM (Polyoxymethylene , also known as Acetal) varient being rated as fully food-safe. It has an operating temperature range between -40 and +60 degrees centigrade, making it ideal for working in refrigerated areas, but also able to take foodstuffs coming out of an oven (where it's air-cirdulcation feature comes into play to assist in cooling
The belting comes in a range of sizes and strengths, from lightweigt 0.5 inch pitch, to very heavy duty 2-inch pitch. This allows it to be used in anything from small produce such as biscuits etc, to heavy root vegetables and tubers.
The pictures to the left show a conveyor system we built for transporting raw carrots and potatoes from ground level up into into a processing machine. (click to see larger versions).
The pictures below show an egg sortation conveyor, in which boxes of eggs are pushed onto different conveyor lanes, based on the height of the boxes.
Traditionally, cotton belts where used for handling doughs. They have a high "moisture regain" factor, and absorbtion of oils, which make it perfect for biscuit production, as well as general baking doughs (breads etc). They also permit a degree of airflow through the belt, helping to keep the product dry, as well as assisting in cooling.
More modern versions of this belt are impregnated with Polyurethene to make them easier to clean. Both variations have good release properties, allowing the dough to transfer off the end of the conveyor without sticking.
CCL can make conveyors with stainless steel frames. However, we can also make them with a stainless steel carrying belt.
These come in a wide variety of designs, but most of them feature an open mesh. Their obvious benefit is that they can work under very high temperatures (several hundred degrees centigrade), making them suitable for carrying produce through ovens. Their open-mesh structure also allow excellent airflow around the product, helping in the baking process, but also allowing for the produce to cool evenly as it emerges from the oven.
A very popular design is the "honeycombe" mesh. This is very strong. Another common design is the lighter-weight "ladder belt". A variation of these is used in the confectionary industry for coating fillings with chocolate, and are traditionally known as "enrober belts".
One drawback on the mesh belts is that they can leave an imprint of the mesh on the underside of the product
Central Conveyors Ltd has extensive experience of combing all of the above techniques - along with sophisticated control and PLC boxes - to produce effective food handling/transporting systems.