The food industry is evolving every day – integrating automation and machinery to make the processing and handling system efficient, safe, and sanitary.

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With the ongoing change and competition prevalent in the industry, food processors must work towards improving daily operations with the right conveyor belt system to guarantee repeatable results.

When it comes to choosing the type of conveyor belt necessary for certain food applications, decision-makers are often left stumped between two options: PVC Belts or TPU Belts.

Choosing between PVC and TPU Conveyor Belts

The food processing industry is constantly working to package and produce all sorts of meat, dairy, fruit, and vegetable products.

There is a growing need for food processing belts to enhance industry applications such as water separating, deboning, descaling, slicing, and more.

Choosing the right belting solution can help maintain a level of efficiency during processing and packaging leading industry manufacturers to perform at high success levels.

However, doing so entails understanding the difference between the two major belt classifications in the industry: Polyvinyl Chloride vs. Thermoplastic Polyurethane.

PVC Belts

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) conveyor belts are standard belts in the food industry that can be used for basic applications across food processing and handling.

PVC has grown to become the third most widely produced plastic, known for its durability and ease of use.

A PVC-coated conveyor belt is best suitable for materials handling, bakery production applications, and meat, fish, and dairy processing.

These antistatic belts provide good chemical resistance and are resistant to hot water and steam, as well. Based on specific needs and conveyor belt manufacturers, there are also flame-retardant models available.

With limited abrasion resistance and limited resistance to solvents, oil, and grease, PVC belts are best suited for processing of fruits and vegetables and simpler operations with limited special requirements.

For those unaware of specifications for their food processing, PVC belts are a reliable choice and favorable in price compared to other conveyor belts.

TPU Belts

The other category of material for food industry conveyor belts is Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU).  TPU can be extremely useful for high-performance applications as it provides essential properties that many other types of similar polymers do not possess.

Although TPU conveyor belts are classified into different categories based on their nature, their general features include high resistance to wear and abrasion and high resistance to vegetable, animal, and mineral oils and fats.

These key factors make TPU Conveyor belts ideal for food industry use with highly demanding applications such as in the confectionary industry, requiring adaptability to temperature changes, superior abrasion, and easy-to-clean surfaces.

There are also different TPU options available based on needs such as belts with better resistance to hydrolysis and improved flexibility at lower temperature or belts with higher resistance to thermal oxidation.

TPU belts offer smooth surfaces to reduce bacterial deposits and ease the belt cleaning process. Although the material is relatively expensive for TPU conveyor belts, it is highly suitable for a range of modern food processes that have special requirements for direct food to belt contact.

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There are a number of specialty food processing belts, each suitable for a specific application or point in the food process. From accurate material selection to unique belt customization, industry-leading belting solutions are available to create a safe and efficient workplace for any line of business.

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