(Courtesy of AMMEGA)
Almost all packaged goods move along conveyor belts during production, packaging, or distribution — and often, all three stages. This reliance on conveying makes the reliability of the belt an essential ingredient for operational efficiency and productivity. Beyond standard linear product movement, conveyors rotate, sort, reject, merge, and inspect products for a variety of industries. From food processing to cosmetics and household goods, to medical devices and pharmaceuticals, reliable, high-quality conveyor belting keeps business moving forward.
U.S. manufacturers especially cannot afford to stand idle. As companies continue to re-invest in state-side operations, they cannot afford the negative impacts of downtime, which erodes productivity, product supply, and eventually, consumer trust. Specific to packaging, manufacturers can encounter challenges in maintaining uptime, controlling noise levels, sustaining an efficient belt speed, and avoiding splice failures.
The challenge: There are no cookie-cutter solutions. However, there are some important considerations when it comes to specifying conveyor belts that keep packaging lines moving.
Package design, materials, and finishes are constantly changing. If the goal is to maximize uptime and efficiency, there are often no ‘one size fits all’ belting solutions. However, there are some good starting points. For example, process belts may be a better fit for corrugator machines, while modular belts – such as uni Modular Belts – are well-suited for stack transportation systems. Meanwhile, folder and carrier belts are better suited for carton and box folding for converters. All of these are sound categorical choices to start with.
However, customizing belts down to the details is the best approach to ensure reliability and prevent stoppages on the packaging line. So, it’s critical to work with experts who can trouble-shoot the more discreet potential challenges. Beyond considering the dimensions, weight, and shape of the product or packaging – like corrugated boxes – being handled, it’s important to consider the potential impact of coatings and finishes. Has a finish been added to the packaging for a smooth and shiny effect that can cause the product to slip at faster speeds? Or has a matte finish been added that could potentially create some friction? These factors can impact standard recommendations. Synthetic Belts, for example, have a wide product range and are able to fulfil the application needs for light to heavy processing and conveying applications while ensuring strength, stability and impact resistance.
Hygiene is another important factor, especially when dealing with products such as food and pharmaceuticals that must meet high quality standards and comply with a variety of regulations to ensure customer safety. Cleanliness and contamination prevention are critical to smart belting design. For example, blue belting is a good choice because the color is so uncommon among actual food products that it contrasts foreign particles, making them easier to spot for removal. Additionally, using anti-microbial materials in belting – as in the silver ions used in Ammeraal Beltech’s AntiMicrobial belting range, is another consideration to inhibit the growth of pathogenic organisms. Of course, crack-free food belts and metal detection capabilities also enhance safety by minimizing contamination risks.
It’s also important to design conveyor belts with materials that stand up against caustic cleaning solutions to maximize lifespan and minimize the downtime associated with replacement. The same consideration must be made for belts that run through high-temperature applications. The materials, components, and accessories of those belts must be optimized to withstand extreme temperatures, minimizing wear and tear and replacements over time. For example, Endless Woven belts are the right solution when higher belt strength and precision are required, or if a belt needs to absorb moisture.
Precision and speed are critical to packaging operations but not at the expense of human safety. Pinch points – areas where workers’ hands can get caught between moving components – should be minimized to prevent injuries. Noise levels should also be considered when assessing employee safety and comfort. Increasing accessibility of solutions that offer lower maintenance and lower energy usage, as well as choosing solutions that produce less noise pollution, all foster more comfortable environments for workers and actively contribute to sustainability goals.
Continuously, we see packaging industry professionals concerned with maximizing uptime, cost-savings, and reducing carbon footprint. Optimizing a belt’s longevity, durability and performance supports those goals. Additionally, working closely with a local partner that can design and manufacture customized conveying solutions serves to shorten lead times and drastically lower carbon footprint due to the shorter shipping distances!
Partnering with conveyor belting manufacturers with a commitment to eco-friendly practices and innovation in recyclable materials can help companies meet their own sustainability goals. Ecovadis Gold Certification, given to the top 5% of companies – including AMMEGA – affirms this relentless pursuit of eco-friendly and responsible operations and is a testament for manufacturers that minimize environmental impacts with CO₂ monitoring, assess waste generation and water use, and develop increasingly sustainable belting solutions.
As a global player with operations worldwide, Ammeraal Beltech – an AMMEGA company – has a long legacy rooted in meeting the highest standards for quality, performance, and regulatory compliance. With two manufacturing facilities in Buford, Ga., and Reading, Pa., and three fabrication sites in Skokie, Ill., Jefferson, Pa., and Torreon, Mexico (maquiladora), we are applying global expertise locally to help American companies grow.
To learn more about Ammeraal Beltech’s solutions, visit https://www.ammeraalbeltech.com.
Niels van den Boogert is Vice President/General Manager, Conveying Solutions, at AMMEGA.
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Expert Article: Conveying Solutions that Keep Packaging Lines Moving – Packaging Strategies
(Courtesy of AMMEGA)