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Precision Indexing with Stainless Steel Conveyor Belts in Freezing Operating Environments

Oct 22, 2019 | Case Studies

sample testing equipmentBelt Technologies has years of experience designing and producing custom conveyor systems for automated pharmaceutical equipment and medical manufacturing applications. Recently, a client approached us with a challenge. Their goal was to improve upon and modernize the design of a machine they have been producing for nearly a decade. 

Achieve Maximum Accuracy and Efficiency for Medical Applications

The equipment being updated was designed to sample vials as they are conveyed through the system for testing. In the original design, the vials were held in a tray system as they are moved through the machine. A needle is then lowered into each vial to take a sample for testing. The equipment was intended to allow producers of food, pharmaceuticals, chemical compounds, and more, to take samples of the materials being produced and perform quality testing directly on the production floor— instead of sending product samples to outside service providers for testing.

The customer wanted to increase the efficiency of the system and double product yield in a single batch. To do this, they needed to improve the positional accuracy of the vials as they were conveyed through the system. They recognized that a metal belt would be the best belt material option as the ambient temperature of the operating environment is kept below freezing. 

biological sample being removed from liquid nitrogenBelt Technologies has provided metal belts for a variety of applications in freezing temperatures, including cryogenic processes. Stainless steel has a high resistance to extreme temperatures, and can easily handle refrigerated operating environments. Metal belts are also highly accurate and repeatable, providing precise positioning of the vials with virtually no slippage.

Additionally, solid metal conveyor belts do not outgas or require lubrication, so there is no risk of contamination to the sensitive products being conveyed. They also will not fray or generate particulates that could contaminate medical products and potentially skew testing results. The flat, nonporous surface of stainless steel does not absorb bacteria and is easy to clean with virtually any cleaning method required, making it the ideal choice for this application. 

Custom Solutions Guarantee Optimal Processing Results

After working with the client to finalize their design, Belt Technologies provided the customer with a seamless belt made of 301 full hardened steel. It features custom vial holder attachments that are firmly attached to the metal belt.  We also added a custom perforation pattern in the belt for tracking and precision indexing. With the metal belt, secure attachments and timing features, the new equipment will be able to sample vials at a faster rate of speed without risking product quality or testing accuracy. 

For more information about custom stainless steel conveyor belts for medical and pharmaceutical applications, contact the experts at Belt Technologies, today. 

Design Guide and Engineer’s Reference for Metal Belts

Belt design guide

Industrial Automation MedPharma Infographic
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