Posted at 31-Oct-2018

The Great Baking Belt Off

Paul Skade
By Gareth Lenton
General Manager, Power Transmission

I joined WYKO in January of 2000, the dawn of a new millennium and a completely new start for me after spending 2 years backpacking through South East Asia and Au...

Read full bio

What sticks to a conveyor belt even more persistently than Paul Hollywood sticks to the Great British Bake Off? Bread dough. At least that’s what one industrial baker found. But fortunately ERIKS found a non-stick solution.  

Bakery

 

The two side-by-side conveyor belts causing the sticky issue are used to convey bread dough up a 60° incline, at the same time as the dough is compressed and spread out across them. At the top of the slope, a horizontal length of belting then conveys the dough to another horizontal conveyor that drops the dough into a hopper. 

Or, as the bakery discovered: doesn’t. 

Instead, the dough often sticks to the PVC belting and even tries to wrap around it. The belts also tend to mistrack, meaning they last only 3-4 months each before needing replacement – which means extensive downtime. And the slippage and pulsation of the PVC belts also stretches and compresses the dough, making it uneven. 

All in all, a tricky, sticky problem. 

Using their loaf

ERIKS engineers applied their know-how to find a replacement belt which would solve all the customer’s problems at once. Their answer was the Ammeraal Beltech uni M-QNB NS (Non-Stick) Modular Belt. 

With a non-stick surface and reduced contact area, the belt is less easy for the dough to cling to in the first place. But it also incorporates pivoting belt hinges and a 0.5” pitch. This means the belt curves easily around the small idler rollers on the centre-driven conveyor, and is a perfect fit with the tight turns and with the scraper on the bottom of the centre-driven conveyor. 

In fact, the pivoting belt hinges actually help to force the dough off the belt surface. 

But while the dough slips off easily, the belts slips less. 

A thicker tooth profile and deeper pockets underneath than competitive PVC belts help create better sprocket engagement and a positive sprocket drive. This reduces belt slippage, which creates a steady and consistent drive. And this in turn means there’s less stretching and compressing of the dough, for more consistent product quality. 

Rising to the occasion 

The precise and positive sprocket engagement, combined with effective tracking, also helps to prolong the life of the Ammeraal Belt. Compared with a PVC belt, it lasts 4-6 times longer. 

And then, when it eventually does need maintenance or replacement, the locking pin on the belt makes it quick and easy – unlike the extensive downtime required to replace a one-piece PVC belt. 

With easier product release from the non-stick surface, and a longer service life, the Ammeraal Beltech uni M-QNB NS Modular Belt has increased production line uptime and saved the customer’s dough, in more ways than one. 

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