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New PU conveyor belts for food processing and conveying applications

25 September 2019

Nitta has expanded its product line of PU conveyor belts. The thermoplastic polyurethane (PU) material is resistant to grease, oils and chemicals.

The PU belts are highly flexible, easy to clean and have an extremely long life. Thanks to a unique new production machine, Nitta can now manufacture a wider range of PU belts with widths exceeding 3m. The PU conveyor belts are ideal for food processing applications such as bakeries, confectionaries, sweets and chocolates manufacturing, but also for conveying tasks in recycling, logistics, agriculture and industrial applications.

In conveying food products, hygiene plays a very important role. The belt material must be chemically inert and there must be an option for fitting sealed edges. Nitta’s new thermoplastic polyurethane material excels through its resistance to grease, oils and chemicals. Favourable properties of the new PU belts are furthermore better wear resistance and a lower coefficient of friction, which is desirable for applications with accumulated products on the belt. In selecting the belt material, colour can also be an important parameter: the food product must be clearly differentiated from the belt material in order to detect any possible contamination. Nitta offers PU belts that meet FDA and European Union specifications in the main colours white, blue and transparent. 

The new machine in Nitta’s production facilities in Alkmaar in the Netherlands presses and homogenises the cover material with calendar rollers. This results in a constant and compact structure. The homogeneous structure is a significant advantage in operation because there is less contamination and easier cleaning. This is very important to reduce the downtime of conveyors and consequently the entire production line as well as facilitating the required approvals for contact with food.

With the new production machine, thinner PU belts can now also be made, which has the advantage that the belts can run over "knife-edges" with an even smaller diameter. For single ply belts such rollers can have diameters as small as 4mm. These thinner belts are more flexible, have a more favourable force-elongation ratio and the increased adhesion prevents delamination of the layers. Additionally, jointing will be much easier with this material. 

The market is expanding for PU belts, as Piet Vrieling, Technical Sales Manager at Nitta in Alkmaar, notes: “This is mainly because there is a trend towards materials that contain less phthalates, that is chlorine or plasticisers. Furthermore, there is a trend towards lighter construction with smaller roller diameters in food processing as well as in logistics and warehouse distribution.” 

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