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The Importance Of Conveying Systems For Processing Food

Every food processing plant needs a network of conveying systems to efficiently move material from area to another. Most people are familiar with the old belt setup that methodically transports product through a facility. The humble belt, though, has come a long way. To better serve the various industries that require these devices, they are often integrated with other pieces of technology that can further increase the efficiency of a processing plant. In food preparation facilities, it is paramount that all devices are configured for sanitary use and certified by the USDA or FDA.

Conveying systems, in their simplest form, transport material from one piece of equipment to another. When the product is processed and checked for safety, the device will send them to another machine for packaging. They operate like a network of roads in a city, and can be just as complex. In some facilities, there may be dozens of routes a product can take on its way from raw material to packaging. One of the most important things a company must do when setting up a processing plant is ensuring that this network is set up correctly.

The most common designs found in food processing are vibrating conveying systems. They are built with a trough on top instead of a flat belt. Not only does this move the product stream along, it also performs secondary sorting duties for bulk material, because it spreads out the material into an even layer. This is important for separation, washing or quality control, because every item must be accessible by factory workers or other machines. They can be configured for any angle, though they are usually designed for a 5 degree incline. Models that use vibration to transport material are extremely sturdy and thus are able to handle harsh or corrosive environments.

Another form of conveying systems the food industry uses is the pneumatic transporter. Pneumatics is the act of using pressurized air to perform mechanical functions. Pneumatic transports that most people are familiar with are the ones used to ferry money exchange tubes at banks. In food processing plants, these devices are usually much more complicated. They are used mainly to transport food powders or light bulk material to storage or packaging areas. However, in large facilities, pneumatic transports may be used to separate a product stream into multiple feeds that can be processed separately. This is most useful when bulk raw material contains several elements which must be processed separately. Grain processing plants, therefore, make extensive use of these devices.

As technology has improved, greater functionality has been integrated into conveying systems. When processing food, it is critical that all impurities be removed from the product before it is shipped to consumers. Quality control used to be a bottleneck that slowed factories down, but devices like metal detectors and weight checkers are now built into many transport designs. Metal detectors and weight checkers sit above or below the belt and analyze the product in a fraction of a second. If there are any problems detected, the detector can divert the flawed product to another stream or alert a worker to its presence. These devices can handle large loads of product easily, making them one of the most efficient quality control setups on the market.

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