A leading producer of fluid-filled gel capsules for a variety of pharmaceutical and food processing applications recently contacted Belt Technologies seeking a metal conveyor belt. The belt was to be used in the automated production of menthol gel capsules used in certain brands of cigarettes. The company’s manufacturing process required the capsules to be transported securely through an imaging system for quality inspection.

Challenging Design: Conveying Gel Capsules for Inspection

The system design called for a conveyor belt with perforations that could hold each individual menthol capsule as it is sent through a quality imaging system. In this system, defective capsules (those that are incorrectly size, have fluid leaks, etc.), are sucked out of the belt and disposed of. All production would be performed in a clean room environment to prevent contamination. Due to the small size of each capsule and the required degree of accuracy, the belt would need to have reliable tracking in order to ensure precise movement through the imaging system.

Stainless Steel Conveyors Are Sanitary and Precise

Our metal conveyor belts are highly sanitary, thanks to the unique properties of stainless steel. Studies have shown that microbes and bacteria do not adhere to the smooth surface of stainless steel as readily as plastic or other belt materials. It is highly resistant to corrosion and other forms of damage, minimizing the risk of particulates or other contaminants affecting product quality. This makes them ideal for medical and pharmaceutical applications. Because they demonstrate near-zero backlash and are non-stretchable, stainless steel conveyor belts are also highly accurate.

Automated Conveyor Solutions for Medical and Clean Room Applications

Our engineers worked directly with this customer to create a stainless steel conveyor belt that met all the needs of their application. We used 17-7 CH 900 stainless steel for its superior strength, which would prevent cupping and maximize the lifespan of the belt. We also designed and implemented a custom perforation pattern with a tight dimensional tolerance of +/0.05 mm to precisely hold the delicate gel capsules. To ensure the capsules would move through the imaging system with maximum precision, we added forced V-guide tracking. The belt was also given a dark coating to make it easier for the imaging equipment to take accurate measurements of each gel capsule.

The customer has installed the new conveyor belts and is more than satisfied with the performance results. We are developing a new set of belts for other production lines in the same company; these will be built to transport capsules of varying sizes.
For custom conveyor solutions for your medical or pharmaceutical application, contact the experts at Belt Technologies today.