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As Belt Materials are evolving your choices have expanded from the time tested Metal to Plastic, Metal/Plastic Hybrids.
Your belting choices are expanding, however your choices need to correspond with your application and your environmental demands.
The most open metal belts have better vertical air flow than the most open plastic belts, but most air flow patterns used today are horizontal, so review your application to see if this will have any effect one way or the other.
All other things being equal, the least expensive metal belt is less expensive than the least expensive plastic belt. Metal belts have an advantage overall because they are not petroleum based, making belt prices per linear foot less expensive in many cases. Costs vary daily, Contact an I.J. White Belt Specialist Today.
The standard plastic belts in the industry are made from various plastic materials and will normally burn. If you are using plastic it is imperative and your responsibility as a buyer to build in safety measures which prevent loss of property and personal injury. To discuss, Contact an I.J. White Belt Specialist Today.
Metal belts are the best choice here for applications requiring high heat, due to plastic material compositions and costing associated with high temperature materials. Oven belts are still best suited by metal belting, all infeeds and discharges are best suited by plastic. Check with your local belt manufacture for all applications over 250F to see if plastic is suitable.
The most open area metal belts (rod type) have more open area than the most open plastic belts. Metal belts are better here, given all else equal.
The most open area metal belts (rod type) are easier to clean than the most open area plastic belts. Detailed documentation on cleaning comparisons between the 2 materials should be reviewed by the belt manufacture you are reviewing.
Metal belts are generally less complicated on the frame construction primarily due to the belt support system used.
Metal belts have better thermal conductivity than plastic belts. We are finding that there is a 1 degree difference in temperature when freezing a product with a 1 hour dwell time basis.
Advantages of Both Plastic & Metal Belts
Since plastic belts have been in use over 20 years in spirals, we can now safely say that expected life is 3:1 times plastic over metal in a given application.
Both plastic and metal belts have as small as a 1:1 to 1 ratio of belt width to inside radius collapse factor, so they are equal. This reduced radius gives you the ability for a smaller footprint spiral diameter, but must be evaluated in processing items as the height requirements increase for the same dwell times.