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X-ray transparent belt boosts performance on contaminant detection lines

By Rory Harrington , 03-Jun-2010

X-ray transparency and added durability are benefits of a new conveyor belt that helps improve performance for contaminant detection in glass containers on food and pharmaceutical lines, said Mettler Toledo Safeline.

The company said its new belt incorporates a slat band modular design to facilitate high-speed handling of glass containers of various sizes.

The walls and bases of glass jars and bottles can vary by as much as 20 per cent – which makes the detection of foreign bodies in the containers challenging. One issue is that previously-used polyurethane (PU) conveyor belts, while x-ray transparent, wear out quickly when handling heavy glass containers at high speeds, said the company. Heavier belts with higher weight capacities are more durable but hinder the flow of X-ray beams and reduce the sensitivity of detection.

The new patented modular plastic belt combines the the benefits of both belt types by boasting a “low absorption but durable material that does not result in any loss in sensitivity of detection”, company product development and sales manager Niall McRory told FoodProductionDaily.com. The design also ensures that slat thickness is uniform and no metal is in the path of X-ray beam as the joining pins are external.

“We believe this is a big step forward, as it combines the X-ray transparency of PU belts with the durability of heavier materials,” said McRory. “The new 10mm belt will typically last for around two years - -four times that of a PU belt - and is ideal for high-speed glass container lines with speeds of up to 150m per minute.”

The belt also allows smaller gaps for smoother transfers and easier integration with existing modular conveyors. The proprietary material has a lower coefficient of friction which makes for easier rejection or diversion of defect glass containers. Downtime caused by glass breakages are minimised as the belt is tougher than PU counterparts and easier to remove because of its slat band modular design, added McRory. The ease of removal also simplifies and speeds up maintenance and cleaning.

“We believe its durability and product enhancement capabilities makes our machines much more fit for purpose,” he added.

The company said the belt is a product upgrade that now comes as standard on new GlassCheK Quad x-ray inspection system. It can also be retrofitted to existing machines.

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