Belting manufacturers continue to innovate and introduce systems and technologies.

For example, Ashworth Bros., Winchester, VA, increased the strength of its Omni-Pro line of belts through its patented button-less weld technology that uses a 360? -zero-tension- design, allowing a higher load bearing capacity. “Unlike a traditional bridge weld, the 360? bottomless weld is free from surface imperfections and crevices, which improve hygienic characteristics by eliminating the possibility of bacteria entrapments,” said Kenneth King, the company’s commercial support manager.

In recent years, Intralox, Harahan, LA, introduced several technologies for its plastic modular belting and found applications in the baking and snack industries.

For example, its Abrasion-Resistant Systems have been used by potato chip manufacturers, according to Don Osborne, the company’s snack team leader, Europe. Whole potatoes can carry plenty of dirt on them, which makes their cleaning operation a highly abrasive environment, he said. The Abrasion-Resistant System features a dual-rod technology that reduces wear in the hinge area, as well as belts moulded from a high-performance, abrasion-resistant nylon. Mr. Osborne said that these systems double, and in some cases triple, the life of belting compared with traditional belt designs.

Another new technology is its Activated Roller Belts, which use free-spinning angled rollers to sort and align products. These belts can move bread loaves 90° and feed slicers in high-speed bakeries without needing slats or pushers to transport the product, he said. The roller belts have proved successful in these environments, Mr. Osborne noted, adding that they help product orientation at the slicers.