MPI Matco

1-800 975-8273

Introduction to PTFE Conveyor Belts in the Food Processing Industry

Introduction to PTFE Conveyor Belts in the Food Processing Industry

In 1913, Henry Ford introduced conveyor belt systems to the Ford Motor Company assembly line. Over the years, this revolutionary manufacturing method would have a major impact on many industries, including the food processing industry, with the advent of PTFE conveyor belts. Able to withstand higher temperatures, these belts made it possible to achieve high safety and hygiene standards, while adapting to the faster speeds of modern production lines. Let’s take a closer look at Teflon conveyor belts to understand how they can improve the speed, efficiency and productivity of today’s food processing operations.

But First of All, What is PTFE?

Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is a material with a wide range of applications. It is also known as Teflon, which is the brand name given to PTFE by DuPont, the company that discovered it in 1938. Governed by compliance standards and specifications such as USDA and protocols such as HACCP, food processing and manufacturing environments must follow smarter food safety initiatives. With the ease of deep cleaning, microbiological assessment, and pathological testing, PTFE helps minimize the risk of biological, chemical and physical hazards and allows you to maintain a sanitary space.

Although Teflon is best known for coating non-stick cookware, due to its high-heat resistance, it’s used in many other products, from musical instruments to wire insulation and electronics. PTFE is often used as an anti-friction device, such as on skis, and as a coating on fabrics to prevent stains. Medical devices may use PTFE as a coating for strength and heat-resistance. All these factors also make PTFE a good material choice for conveyor belts in the food processing industry.   

courroies en PTFE pour convoyeur - fabrication de tortillas

Types of PTFE Conveyor Belts

PTFE belts are custom-made for optimum performance and durability. They come in different widths and thicknesses to meet a variety of food processing needs. There are two main categories of PTFE conveyor belts used in drying, baking, grilling and freezing operations. 

PTFE Coated Fiberglass Belts

These belts are made of woven glass fibers coated with Teflon. The PTFE coating prevents food from sticking to the belt, while still being able to withstand the high temperatures associated with it. PTFE-coated fiberglass conveyor belts are particularly useful in the production of tortillas and pizzas. 

courroies en PTFE pour convoyeur

There are 4 types of PTFE belts in this category:

  1. PTFE Seamless Belt: These belts are designed for applications where a seamless joint is crucial to maintaining product integrity. This design minimizes the risk of belt breakage and product loss, making it ideal for delicate or precise operations.
  2. Non-stick Fabric Conveyor Belt: This type of PTFE conveyor belt features a PTFE coating formulated to offer exceptional non-stick performance, ideal for sticky or gooey products. Easy to clean, it guarantees smoother operations and increased productivity.
  3. Tortilla Press Belt: These PTFE coated fiberglass conveyor belts are specially designed for tortilla and flatbread production. Heat-resistant and with a non-stick surface, they are ideal for pressing applications requiring even baking and easy release from the mold.
  4. PTFE Sealing Belt: Technically, these PTFE belts are not conveyor belts and are not used to process a product. However, they play a very important role in the food processing industry. These belts improve the efficiency and reliability of sealing operations by minimizing sealing defects and product waste. 

PTFE-Mesh Glass Fiber Belts

Offering the same features as PTFE-mesh glass fiber belts, these belts are instead made from a PTFE-coated glass fiber mesh fabric. This makes them ideal for applications requiring drying, cooling or drainage, as the open-weave fabric allows good air distribution around the product.

Courroies maillées en fibre de verre et PTFE

There’s also a third PTFE belt category that combines the exceptional properties of PTFE with the high strength and thermal stability of Kevlar. This type of belt is useful for applications requiring the use of steam, or where greater durability is needed. It is not, however, a widespread option in the food processing industry, given the high costs associated with this type of product. 

Advantages of PTFE Conveyor Belts

PTFE conveyor belts offer a multitude of benefits that are essential to innovation in the food processing industry. These advantages include:

  • Non-stick surface: The non-stick surface of PTFE enables items to move seamlessly without getting stuck to the belt. This characteristic is crucial in applications like the baking of bread, pastries, and pizzas, where residues sticking to the belt can lead to contamination, reduced product quality, and increased cleaning requirements.
  • Easy to clean: The non-stick characteristic makes cleaning and sanitation processes much simpler, reducing downtime and maintaining hygiene standards in food production.
  • Non-toxic and odorless: Teflon-coated fiberglass belts are non-toxic, odorless, and tasteless, making them ideal for food processing, packaging, and handling.
  • High-temperature resistance: Teflon conveyor belts are non-flammable and can withstand temperatures from -200°C to +260°C.
  • Chemical resistance: The PTFE coating does not react with most chemicals or solvents. The belts can be cleaned and sanitized with various chemicals without degrading, ensuring a hygienic process environment and prolonging the belt’s life.
  • Wide temperature range: PTFE conveyor belts can handle both hot and cold temperatures.
  • Dimensional stability: PTFE belts are sturdy and can handle the fast-paced environment of a food processing facility. The material can stand up to the high tension required in any application.
  • Exceptional durability: PTFE conveyor belts are highly abrasion-resistant, which makes them ideal for use in facilities that cannot afford much downtime. These belts can withstand heavy use and abuse without showing signs of wear and tear.
  • Fire retardant properties: Reduce the risk of fire using a PTFE belt in an application susceptible to flames.
  • Permeability: When required, PTFE belts can be made of a mesh material with the properties listed above.
courroies transporteuses en PTFE pour la fabrication de pizzas surgelées

Applications of PTFE Conveyor Belts in the Food Processing Industry

PTFE conveyor belts are used in the manufacture of a wide variety of food products. Thanks to their unique properties such as high-temperature resistance, non-stick surface and compliance with food safety standards, they greatly facilitate food processing operations. Here are some specific types of food products that benefit from the use of Teflon conveyor belts in their production processes:
Baked Goods

The non-stick surface of PTFE belts is ideal for baking applications, where dough or finished products might otherwise stick to the conveyor. This includes bread, pastries, cookies, pizzas, tortillas and other baked goods. 

Confectionery

The manufacturing of chocolates, candies, and other sweets often requires non-stick surfaces for cooling and setting processes, making PTFE belts an excellent choice.

Dairy Products

In the production of cheese and other dairy products that may involve pressing, cutting, and drying processes at different temperatures, PTFE belts ensure non-contaminative handling and easy cleaning.  

Seafood

Similar to meat and poultry processing, seafood processing involves various temperature treatments for which PTFE conveyor belts are well-suited due to their durability and resistance to moisture.  

ptfe conveyor belt for meat processing (1)
Meat and Poultry

For processes involving the cooking, freezing, or drying of meat and poultry, PTFE belts can withstand the required temperatures and are easy to clean, maintaining hygiene standards  

Frozen Foods

PTFE belts are used in the freezing process of various foods, including vegetables, fruits, and prepared meals, due to their ability to operate at extremely low temperatures without losing flexibility. 

Dehydrated Foods

The dehydration process for fruits, vegetables, and herbs benefits from Teflon conveyor belts, as their heat resistance is crucial for drying food products efficiently without sticking. 

Snack Foods

For the production of chips, crisps, and other snack foods that require frying or baking at high temperatures, PTFE conveyor belts can handle the heat and are resistant to oil and grease. 

Prepared Meals

For assembling and packaging prepared meals that require movement through various temperature zones, PTFE belts provide a versatile solution.   

Choosing the Right PTFE Conveyor Belt

Finding the right PTFE belt for your application depends on many factors. You’ll need to think about:

  • Do you need a solid or mesh belt?
  • What are the characteristics of the products you process? You’ll want to consider the weight of the products, as well as their size and shape.
  • How hot or cold will the environment get?
  • How thick should the base material need to be?

Teflon conveyor belts are renowned for maintaining their shape under the weight of heavier items and offer exceptional durability. These belts remain flexible in cold conditions while also withstanding high temperatures effectively. Customizable to suit various applications, PTFE belts feature a non-stick coating that prevents materials from adhering, ensuring smooth and uninterrupted production. Consulting with a conveyor belt manufacturer is crucial to guarantee an optimal fit for your specific needs. 

Customize a PTFE Conveyor Belt to Fit Your Application

Compliance with food traceability rules and safety standards makes it imperative to use quality materials for your food processing operations. The PTFE coating allows for a release surface that facilitates high volume and high speed of production along with low risk of contamination, less wastage, greater resistance to chemicals and oils, ease of cleaning, durability, low dissipation, and a host of other benefits.
Minimize your production downtime and reduce costs by integrating PTFE conveyor belts in your food manufacturing operations.

MPI Matco manufactures custom PTFE conveyor belts for the food processing and manufacturing industry. Please contact us if you have any questions about PTFE belts. We are also a leading custom adhesive tape manufacturer and will be glad to assist you with your industrial tape requirements.

Other Articles That May Interest You

Scroll to Top