PVC, TPU or TPO conveyor belt – what material is the best choice?

PVC, TPU or TPO conveyor belt – what material is the best choice?

When should I choose a PVC conveyor belt and when is a TPU or TPO belt a better choice? People regularly ask me this question. As a rule of thumb, I always say that a standard PVC-coated conveyor belt can be used in any simple application without special requirements.

In most cases a PVC conveyor belt is a favorable choice in view of the costs. As soon as the belt must meet special requirements, such as small transfers, good release properties or high resistance against oils and greases, it is important to evaluate what other belt material might be more suitable for production needs.

For a general guideline, keep the following in mind:

PVC (Polyvinyl chloride)

+ Resistant to chlorine and hot water (steam)
+ Models with fire-retardant properties
+ Favorable price

– Low flexibility at low temperatures (applicable down to –10°C)
– Limited resistance to solvents, oils and greases
– Migration of plasticizers (with the exception of food-approved PVC)

Main applications:

Materials handling
Fruit and vegetables (food-approved PVC)

TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane)

+ High flexibility even at low temperatures (-30°C)
+ Best thermoplastic material in terms of abrasion resistance
+ Good resistance to vegetable/animal greases and oils
+ TPU based on Polyether is hydrolysis-resistant
+ No plasticizers

– TPU based on Polyester is not resistant to hot water (steam)
– Not resistant to most organic solvents

Main applications:

Food industry
Nosebar
Process belt
Abrasive environment

TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefin)

+ Excellent release and anti-sticking properties
+ Excellent chemical resistance
+ Excellent low temperature properties

– Standard TPO is not abrasion resistant

Main applications:

Tobacco industry
Food industry

Apart from these materials, process and conveyor belts with other coatings, such as PUR, NBR, EPDM and silicones, are available as well. Habasit has developed a convenient tool to help you select the correct belt: the Conveyor Belt Selector. The Conveyor Belt Selector advises on possible belt types based on a number of criteria.

Do you have any doubts about what material best suits your application? Contact us. We will be pleased to help you select the proper conveyor belt.

2017 June 1  |  Posted by

René Grevengoed is an Application Engineer who has worked at Habasit in the Netherlands since 1996. He speaks native Dutch and he is also fluent in English. Grevengoed specializes in general conveying, including fabric conveyor and power transmission belts. His expertise is applicable in several industries, including food, material handling, as well as printing and paper applications. Grevengoed’s experience began in workshops and onsite fittings where he was able to acquire the necessary special skills in order to progress to where he is today.