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Photo: Dorner Conveyor[/caption]
Conveyor systems are most critical in the food processing and manufacturing industry to reach high efficiency and profitability. The answer to which style of food grade conveyor
can be a difficult decision. Conveyor technology
is changing rapidly, and it’s always beneficial to study what is available in today's market before making a decision to settle on yesterday's offerings.
Below is a short list of items to consider when making a food grade conveyor selection.
- Ease of Cleaning: This is likely the most important topic to consider. A good, simple, design will help with the ease of cleaning. Less moving parts, absence of liquid collection points, and self-draining locations will greatly reduce contamination issues.
- Ease of Maintenance: Uptime and maintenance downtime can greatly affect the cycle time. Again, the less moving parts the better in this area. Consider the amount of moving parts exposed to the elements of food processing.
- Investment: Investment in food grade conveyor stretches beyond the initial purchase over the lifespan of the system. Remember to consider the cost of operating and maintaining the system. Plastic and stainless steel conveyors each have advantages, but again, remember that less moving parts is always better in food processing. (Yes, there is a reoccurring theme here.)
- Life Span: The decision of plastic versus stainless is another decision. Stainless will last longer than plastic in a rough environment, but with that longevity comes a premium. Plastic would be cost effective in a replacement scenario, but your stainless will withstand more of the potential elements / cleaning agents. In a perfect world, we are not rough on our food processing equipment, and plastic would take the prize.
- Configuration Flexibility: A conveyor system that is easily adaptable to your needs is highly valuable in the long run. Conveyors capable of inclining/declining, radius turns, and cleat/bucket styles are common. Belting options to suit your product's ability to convey is a plus.
- Safety: Keeping moving parts and pinch points to a minimum is ideal in conveyor safety. The less moving parts the better safety outlook.
- Support: It is important to partner with a supplier that will assist with after-sale support. Ease of ordering spare parts, ease of access to documentation, short lead times, and a strong web presence are extremely valuable for supporting a system.
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