Stainless steel belts pack a punch
08 November 2010
The diverse and complex nature of the Packing industry opens up a multitude of design applications for the stainless steel belt range supplied by Belt Technologies Europe. Steel belts provide machine builders and engineers with many advantages beyond the scope of regular rubber, link and chain belts. Made of high-modulus spring steels, they are strong, light and essentially non-stretchable.
A key requirement in certain packaging fields is cleanliness, and in this area stainless steel belts are second to none. Clean room compatible, they are easy to clean and can stand up against most aggressive cleaning agents. Steel belts also do not particulate thus avoiding any potential contamination problems. Furthermore, the need for belt lubrication is not present as steel belts run smoothly and with very little noise. Current applications in packaging are numerous but include:
Aseptic lines - PET plastic bottle manufacturing and conveying. The cleanliness and excellent repeatability of perforated steel belts give them a valuable role in the Beverage industry. Very tight pitch to pitch tolerances can be offered by perforating the belts with advanced tool technologies.
Heat sealing/laminating – Steel belts can be coated with various grades of Teflon to provide a heat resistant surface with excellent release characteristics. The sealing of plastic bags and tubes - such as those containing toothpaste - using steel belts is now very widely spread. Other coating options include silicone, urethane and neoprene.
Die cutting, printing and application of labels to cylindrical containers - the precision and repeatability characteristics of steel belts in this field play a vital role. Steel belts will repeat back to the same spot with an accuracy of 0.05 –0.127 mm, making them ideal for certain pick and place applications.
The custom perforating of steel belts to match the applications’ exact requirements is helpful in vacuum transfer of product in certain packaging applications.
The use of steel belts in the packaging of pharmaceutical products has increased dramatically. Their sterile properties and accuracy enable manufacturers to produce machinery to produce and fill medical vials speedily and in volume.
High speed wrapping in the confectionary industry takes advantage of the durability and high strength to weight ratio steel belts can offer. On the other hand, the high temperature resistance of steel belts of up to 420° C can provide precise, controllable and thorough cooking of food.
The addition of precisely located attachments on steel belts – be they welded, screwed or riveted to the belt – offers many other opportunities in packaging applications.
Designers across Europe are realising that steel belt technology can offer them real solutions to problems they have tried unsuccessfully to resolve with other belt types. Most belts are designed to match a customer’s exact requirements and can provide a cost effective solution that can increase productivity by introducing efficiencies into a particular application. As more demanding applications appear, the frequency of use of this unique range of products is definitely on the increase.
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