Conveyors fulfill a very basic need: the transportation of items from one place to another. They come in all shapes, sizes, and materials, and they transport a great variety of items in the food processing and manufacturing industries – from produce and baked goods to meat, fish, and poultry. If new mandates have been issued by the USDA, FDA, NSF, or BISSC, you may need to purchase a new conveyor to meet the current standards. A new conveyor can also help you ramp up production, improve a system’s efficiency, minimize downtime, streamline your packaging process, or even reduce operating costs. When you’re ready to make the purchase, use the advice below to learn how to select a food-grade conveyor.
How to Select a Food-Grade Conveyor
Once you select the type of conveyor you need and determine your required product capacity, you can begin shopping. We encourage you to keep the following factors in mind if you’re wondering how to select a food-grade conveyor. In reviewing them and your top priorities, you can find the ideal belt conveyor for your needs.
The food industry operates under heavy regulations, so you must think about sanitation when selecting a conveyor. Simple designs with fewer moving parts, a limited number of horizontal surfaces, and seamless welds are less difficult to clean. They also reduce collection points for contaminants, like bacteria. To further reduce the risk of contamination issues, select a conveyor with self-draining locations and no liquid collection points. Finally, use a sanitary material like stainless steel.
Look for a conveyor that requires little maintenance to minimize downtime and increase production. As with cleaning, it helps to find a product without many moving parts; moving parts exposed to the elements of food processing will require more maintenance. Try to select a conveyor that doesn’t require tools in order to lift/remove the belt, and consider how quickly you can dismantle and clean the conveyor.
If your chosen conveyor system has effective safety features, you can avoid the high cost of employee injuries. Look for equipment with few moving parts and pinch points. In addition, consider options like ergonomic stands, guards, and shut-off switches.
If you’re wondering how to select a food-grade conveyor, you can’t ignore belting. Food will primarily come into contact with the belt surface, so it’s important that you choose the right belt material for your application. Consider the release characteristics, how easy it is to clean, its tolerance of extreme temperatures, its ability to resist wear, and how it will interact with the transported food. Your options include polyester, polyolefin, urethane, silicone, PVC, cotton, and metal mesh.
As you compare the prices of various conveyors, remember to consider the costs of operating and maintaining the systems. How much will you spend on the conveyor over its full lifespan? This will require you to investigate the durability of your options . . .
Conveyors must work hard in demanding environments, sometimes running for multiple shifts at a time. Your choice of material will greatly affect the lifespan of the equipment. You need a material that can withstand day-to-day operations as well as heavy-duty cleaning, which typically involves extremely high water pressure. Stainless steel lasts far longer than plastic, especially in tough industrial environments, but its durability comes with a higher cost.
How easily can you adapt the conveyor to your needs? Many conveyors offer flexibility by providing inclining/declining options, radius turns, or cleat/bucket styles as well as a variety of belting options.
Finally, remember that if you can’t find a conveyor that accomplishes everything you require, you can always order a custom design. This will ensure that your conveyor system not only meets but also exceeds your expectations.
Now that you know how to select a food-grade conveyor, are you ready to get started? Contact EnSight Solutions. With more than 100 years of combined experience in the food processing industry, we are committed to finding creative, effectual solutions to our clients’ equipment needs. We offer a variety of food-grade conveyors, including storage loader conveyors, spreading conveyors, screw conveyors, and belt conveyors. When you’re ready to get started, please send an e-mail to email@example.com, give us a call at 1-855-736-2195, or find your EnSight sales specialist through our contact page. We look forward to hearing from you!