Wherever there is a lot of moving parts, the role of power transmission is centre stage. For choosing the right PT system for a food and beverage operation where health safety is paramount, it is good to call upon the experts for advice— Motion Australia’s resident power transmission aficionado, Steve Hittmann weighs in on PT solutions for food and beverage producers. 

“Food safety has become a relatively niche field of industrial solutions in recent years,” says Steve. “We have seen an uptick in food safe solutions in the effort to better align with NSF H1 regulations and overall, a greater awareness and understanding of the implications of incidental contamination on global health.” 

In a food production plant, managing the risk of incidental contamination is top priority for operators, according to Steve. 

“Many of our customers operate wineries, bakeries, sugar refineries, or deal in fresh produce so they need their entire system to perform in conditions where there are regular maintenance cycles,” he explains. “Typically, all equipment will be power washed and decontaminated every few hours and at the end of shifts so resistance to corrosion is particularly important.”

The chains, sprockets, and pulleys are subject to accumulation of slick off or loose ingredients which poses a challenge for maintenance workers to stay on top of. 

“Traditional metal chain solutions are prone to corrosion and wear at high speeds in food and beverage production,” says Steve. “It is in this case that I defer to key suppliers of advanced power transmission technology like Gates® who have innovated chain solutions for such purposes with their Poly Chain® range.”

He recommends the Gates® Poly Chain GT® Carbon™ Synchronous Belt with Stainless Steel Sprockets and a Taper Lock, as a complete system for the food and beverage sector. 

“The system is corrosion resistant which significantly reduces concerns about cross contamination,” explains Steve. 

“To talk shop for a moment: The sprocket is synchronous with the teeth on the belt and corresponding grooves on the wheels of the pulley,” he explains. “The meshing teeth provide positive angular location, hence there is no relative motion or slipping between the two elements that are in mesh, which ensures a constant speed ratio between the driving and driven shafts.” 

The Poly Chain GT® is essentially a metal roller chain replacement constructed from polyurethane, reinforced with carbon fibre cords and outfitted with laser precision teeth to eliminate the need for chain lubrication, oil and grease run off, slippage and chain jump, or shutting down drives to retention. 

“The Poly Chain GT® has been shown to outlast traditional roller chain by up to four times and the sprockets by up to ten times,” says Steve. “When you think about the energy and downtime saved on maintenance and loss of production, the implications are huge for the cost of an operation.” 

“There is a lot of great innovation happening in the area of Power Transmission for food and beverage manufacturing right now,” he concludes. “At Motion Australia, it is our job to look for opportunities to assist customers in moving from antiquated solutions to newer technology in the interest of increasing their productivity and improving their food safety practices.” 

Gates® Poly Chain GT® Carbon Synchronous Belt

Features and Benefits

• Maintenance free 

• 99% efficiency for life of the drive 

• Reduce downtime 

• Reduce weight and overhung loads 

• Over 120,000 possible drive combinations 

• Inert to most acids, chemicals, and water 

• Stainless steel sprockets and taper locks available

• Width-for-width roller chain conversions        

• No stretch, no lubrication, no re-tensioning