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What Are The Types Of Food Processing Conveyors Available?

There are several popular food processing conveyors used by plants in the industry. Which transport is best, though, depends on what kind of product the plant is handling. There’s nothing these devices can’t carry, from huge slabs of meat to fine powders and liquids. However, there is a huge difference in design between a transport that handles solids and one that handles liquids. Also, devices designed for bulk material usually rely on nontraditional methods of transport, like ultrafast vibrations. This preserves the integrity of the product while keeping spill to a minimum.

The one thing all food processing conveyors have in common, though, is that they must be designed with food grade safety measures in mind. For example, all of these devices must come with contact surfaces that are antimicrobial. Some material is naturally porous and allows bacteria and other pathogens to grow unchecked even after the contact surface is cleaned. This represents a huge safety hazard that can result in dangerous illnesses if not addressed. For this reason, the FDA has set up a number of regulations that determine what contact surfaces are safe to use. Stainless steel and some high density polymers are the materials of choice when it comes to these devices.

Many facilities stick with simple belt-driven food processing conveyors in their plants. Belt transports consists of a pair of rotating drums and a contact surface stretched around both of them. The entire device is powered by a motor that drives the belt in a continual cycle. Belt transports are simple, low maintenance machines that can be easily customized and fit into nearly any space. They can also be connected to other machines, like separators or metal detectors, without any trouble. Belt transport machines are best for large solid items like meats, fruits or breads.

Belt food processing conveyors don’t work for powders, liquids or bulk material, though. For these substances, a vibratory, drag or vacuum transport will be needed. A vibratory transport is shaped like a trough, and is ideal for carrying bulk grains and other small particles. The trough shape keeps the bulk material from spilling over the side. The entire device is driven using a powerful motor that makes the transport oscillate quickly and rhythmically. These steady oscillations are nearly imperceptible to the human eye, but they are enough to propel the bulk product down the other end of the trough. The oscillations are slight enough that they don’t cause damage.

Drag food processing conveyors consist of several panels attached to a heavy duty chain. The chain is spooled over two rotating drums, much like a belt transport. When in operation, the chain drags the panels through the material, picking up fine solids and liquids with ease and pushing them to the other end of the drag transport. Vacuum transports are only frequently used for powders and solids that are so light they can’t be moved in any other way. These machines use huge differences in air pressure to carry material, usually through intricate networks of piping. This is similar to the vacuum tubes that banks use to move money around the building.

Each of these machines has a purpose and they are reliable at what they do. For this reason, they are found in facilities around the country.

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