A major wholesale bakery recently upgraded the bun line in one of its most critical plants. The line, which produces 36,000 buns per hour, includes a 10-degree radius incline on the pan return line. A plastic chain belt with friction inserts had been causing problems in the area. Maintenance personnel had to repair or replace belt sections on a weekly basis; they also had to guard against the threat of product contamination from broken or worn belting. The friction inserts failed to maintain pan spacing and alignment. Pans slid backward at least once per hour, causing jams that had to be manually cleared and presented a safety hazard due to the height of the overhead conveyor.
Intralox developed a simple, one-piece belting solution that combines its Series 4090 Sideflexing Flat Top belt with Series 4030 ProTrax™ Flat Top modules every third row. ProTrax belting’s dual magnetic modules retain strength in hot, dry, and oily environments, reducing downtime and eliminating pan jams. Since its installation in June 2017, the ProTrax solution has maintained consistent pan spacing, thereby eliminating jams, maintenance, and related safety concerns in the area. Workers no longer need to replace belt modules or worry about contaminated product. The bakery expects to save more than $15,000 per year in associated maintenance costs and achieve payback in less than a year. Plant officials anticipate that the new solution will last at least 3-5 years, and plan to retrofit two more radius conveyors including an S-curve application in the near future.