While plastic belts are used mostly in factories, warehouses and plants, plastic conveyor belts are also seen in airports, at post offices, packaging facilities, mills and bottling plants. They transport raw materials, finished products, packages or parts, and they are the number-one choice in the food and beverage processing industry because they are easy to clean and sanitize and are non-contaminating.
Most plastic conveyor belts are FDA or USDA food grade approved and can handle light to medium duty weights. The meat processing, dairy, vineyard, fruit and vegetable and chocolate industries use plastic for all or most of their conveying needs. These belts come in many different configurations, but most are flexible and easy to install.
They exhibit a high resistance to abrasion, cracking, wicking and edge fraying and can handle oils and fats well. Thermoplastics are known for their high resistance to extreme temperatures; plastic belts are fully operational at a temperature range of anywhere from 34ºF to 200ºF.
Like most conveyor belts, plastic belts are commonly run by an electric motor. They are ideal for continuous conveying and come in many different forms. For loose materials, flat, fabric-reinforced belts are used because they are non-porous, watertight and do not contain any holes. This conveyor type is most likely welded together, and like all plastic belts it does not require the use of any adhesives. Other flat top plastic belts are composed of uniform, interlocking plastic pieces.
They increase the belt’s flexibility and are easy to install and alter if necessary. Other types may be woven, perforated, a grid, ribbed or mesh. These all have holes and are used mainly for larger objects like packages. While plastic conveyor belts are anti-static and non conductive, meaning static electricity sparks are rare, it is best not to convey especially flammable or combustible materials in order to reduce the possibility of a fire. In comparison to metal or rubber conveyor belts, those made from thermoplastics are inexpensive, long-lasting and easy to install.