Material selection when using a plastic modular belt

Material selection when using a plastic modular belt

When selecting a conveyor belt for your application, it is really important to know which materials are suitable for optimal results. Beyond simply choosing the correct belt or chain type, there are many other factors to consider which I will discuss in today’s blog.

The three standard materials

The most commonly used material is Polypropylene (PP) which is the appropriate choice for many applications. It has a good cost/performance ratio and is suitable for high temperatures, or even hot water. It also offers a high chemical resistance. When the temperature drops below 5°C, Polypropylene (PP) however, it becomes brittle and may break more easily. In that case Polyethylene (PE) or Acetal (POM) can be a good alternative. These materials are suitable for very low temperatures and therefore offer a reliable solution. Although Polyethylene has good chemical and impact resistance, it is not suitable for abrasive conditions. If the belt needs to be resistant to abrasive or sharp products, then Acetal (POM) will be the best choice.

Below, the three standard (or most common) materials are given with their specifications.

 Abbreviation  PP  PE  POM
Chemical name Polypropylene Polyethene or polymethylene Polyoxymethylene
Common name Polypropylene Polyethylene Acetal, Polyacetal
Specific propertiesregarding belting application

+ Excellent chemical resistance to acids and alkaline+ Good cost/performance ratio

+ Rigidity, hardness and strength are higher than polyethylene

–  Rigidity, hardness and strength are lower than polyamide

–  High impact below 10 °C (50 °F) must be avoided

+ Excellent chemical resistance to acids and alkaline+ High impact resistance, even at low temperatures

+ Affordable material

– Low abrasion resistance

– Limited high temperature resistance

+ High rigidity, hardness and strength+ High impact, cut and abrasion resistance

+ Low coefficient of friction

+ Good chemical resistance to oil and alkalines

– Not suitable for long-term contact with a high concentration of acids and chlorine

Remarks Most common material for plastic modular belts Well-suited for very low temperatures and/or high impact applications Suitable for heavy load applications and low temperatures
Temperature range +5 to +105°C -70 to +65°C -40 to +93°C
(up to +60°C in wet conditions)

Environmental influences

It is important to know as many details about the application as possible. This must include, not only the configuration of the installation and the information about the product to be transported, but also the environmental influences, such as temperature and humidity which play an important role. For instance, polyamide rods can expand as a result of moisture absorption.

The presence of chemical substances, whether or not in cleaning agents, can have a strong effect on the material as well. Substances such as starch or sugars may cause wear. Additionally, the choice of material for the belt support is important since dirt can cause abrasion on the belt if it becomes embedded in the support material.

Based on the correct information about your application, our product specialists can select the best belt, as well as combination of surface and wear strip material. In case of questions and/or for additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

2017 August 22  |  Posted by

Marco Hollander joined the Habasit Netherlands team in September 2000 and works as a Technical Manager. He specializes in modular belts, chains and profiles in the food and material handling industries. He is also well-versed in general conveying and spiral applications. Hollander is always ready to answer questions from customers or Key Account Managers with any technical issues. He speaks Dutch, English and German and enjoys the challenge and variety of his work.