At Belt Technologies, many of the conveyor belts we produce are made using stainless steel. However, there are several different grades of stainless steel to choose from, as well as specialty materials including Inconel® and Invar®. When optimizing your conveyor belt’s performance, choosing the correct material is extremely important; different applications require different materials.
To get started, we recommend checking out our reference materials chart to understand the properties of stainless steel and other materials we use.
Matching Material Properties to Application Requirements
The first step in choosing the right material for your conveyor belt is to consider what will be required of it during service. These requirements include:
- Strength and Durability
For many applications, rubber conveyor belts simply aren’t durable enough to get the job done. For these applications, steel conveyor belts present the perfect solution and ideal strength-to-weight ratio. Choosing a stainless steel alloy with high strength and durability allows you to produce a conveyor belt well-suited for the task. For maximum strength and durability, consider steels with a high tensile strength and yield strength such as 301HY or 17-7 CH-900.
- Corrosion Resistance
If your conveyor belt is going to be exposed to corrosive substances such as strong cleaning chemicals, you will want to choose a material that has a high resistance to corrosion in order to ensure the longevity of your conveyor belt. For maximum corrosion resistance, consider alloys such as Titanium 15V-3CR-3AI-3SN, 316 Full Hard, or 304 FH.
- Operating Temperature Compatibility
For most temperature ranges, stainless steel belts of any alloy will operate perfectly fine. For extreme temperature ranges, (both to the high and low extremes), you may want to consider a more suitable material with a lower thermal expansion coefficient, such as Invar® 36, Inconel®, or 17-7 CH900.
Optimizing Belt Performance with Surface Treatments
Our highly trained engineers can work with you to determine the ideal stainless steel grade for your application. Once the perfect material has been selected, you have the option to further optimize its performance with surface treatments. At Belt Technologies, we offer a variety of surface treatments and coatings including GATORCOAT®, Teflon®, silicone, hard coat anodization, urethane, and neoprene.
These surface treatments provide a number of advantages by altering the properties of the working surface of the belt. Depending on the treatment you choose, these advantages include:
- Increased wear resistance
- Increased friction
- Increased temperature resistance
- Increased release properties
- Increased lubrication and abrasion resistance
- Increased protection for delicate parts
- Increased hardness
- Increased stain resistance
Surface treatments give you even more flexibility in designing a belt to meet the needs of your application. Since they are able to amplify certain desired characteristics, these surface treatments give you the ability to design the perfect conveyor belt. For a complete guide to the various surface treatments we offer, check out this guide to surface treatments.
Get Expert Guidance from an Experienced Engineering Team
Depending on your intended application, certain material properties can work together to make a conveyor belt that is ideal for your specific application. For example, a stainless steel with high thermal conductivity and a surface treatment with improved release properties would allow you to have a conveyor belt that cooks food as it is transported.
When determining how a material’s properties will come together to provide you the most functional belt possible, we recommend you speak to one of the engineers at Belt Technologies. These experts have years of experience in designing conveyor belts for a wide range of applications and will help you choose the material best suited to your needs.
If you would like to learn more about the various materials and surface treatments we offer and then discuss the best options for your project, contact us today.