Food Industry Insight –
A stitch in time removed to improve the customer’s production line

When a well known bakery company was experiencing material handling issues they enlisted the market leading industry and application know-how of Habasit to implement a process improvement by replacing a feltwool belt that was prone to wearing and difficult to stitch by an in-house maintenance team to that of a hygienic Habasit vulcanised belt.

This UK based bakery company approached Habasit for technical assistance with two of their non Habasit solid woven feltwool belts. The belts were located on an inner and outer drum which transports biscuits from the outfeed of an oven to a high level cooling conveyor. The belt originally installed on the client’s equipment was of a solid woven salved edge feltwool type - supplied open ended for the customer to hand stitch themselves.

Due to using the incorrect type of belt material and poor tracking, the customer was experiencing product contamination issues generated from fibre loss from the edge of the belt resulting in the build up of fibres around drives and rollers. To change and hand sew a set of belts was taking the client approximately 12 hours per machine and accordingly resulting in too high an amount of valuable machine downtime.

One of the client’s challenges, that is also now faced by many other end users, was the bridging of the skills gap within their in-house maintenance and repair team as experienced staff who used to carry out the hand stitching of the belt on site had left the business and accordingly, the skill set required to do this function had been lost over time. Where an accurate fit-for-purpose in-house hand stitched joint had historically been made, the joint was no longer straight and would pull the belt out of place leading to tracking issues.

Due to the client’s unique process conditions, the characteristics of the ideal application-specific belt were the ability to lie down flat, be flexible in all directions and oil & fat resistant. In order to prevent damage to the product being conveyed, reduce fray and eliminate fibre loss, the correct choice of belt also needed to have a smooth joint. Therefore, from within Habasit’s market leading range of Fibre, Plastic and Monolithic belting technology, a member of Habasit UK’s Technical Sales Team introduced the customer to the idea of a vulcanised belt.

Accordingly, a Habasit T22 Fibre Belt was recommended due to its flexibility in all directions, flat laying characteristics and ease of joining method. Habasit were able to offer a reliable and consistent joining method that reduced product breakage, fraying and tracking issues and was oil & fat resistant.

Habasit helped the customer reduce the need for hand sewn joints with our expert team now able to vulcanise on site in a lot less time leading to reduction in machine down time and a 50% reduction in belt replacement costs.

Habasit provided the customer with a long term solution for their joining method which is recommended for this application. The customer also engineered the fitting of auto trackers to aid tracking of the belts. Combined with the Habasit knowledge and the customer’s willingness to accept change this will also lead to other savings on another 6 lines within the plant.

For more details relating to this application and further information regarding how you can harness Habasit’s industry and application knowledge for the benefit of your Company, please do not hesitate to contact Habasit UK.

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