Flat Conveyor Belting targets food processing applications.

Press Release Summary:

ThermoDrive(TM) Sprocket-Driven, Hygienic Belting is 100% homogenous thermoplastic, minimizing chance of micro-organism contamination. Smooth hingeless top surface and radial profile drive design facilitate product release. Belts run on existing modular conveyor systems but have no modules or crevices that can harbor bacteria. Non-chordal sprocket wrap is scraper-friendly and allows smooth running, surge-free operation.

Original Press Release:

Mol Industries Introduces Innovative Flat Belt: ThermoDrive(TM) Sprocket Driven Hygienic Belting

Grand Rapids, Michigan USA, August 2004 - "How can the food industry be satisfied with modular belting that is so difficult to clean? What if we developed and introduced a product that could allow users to reduce HACCP thresholds and cleaning protocols?" Those were the original questions driving Mol Industries' latest product development initiative: ThermoDrive(TM) Sprocket Driven Hygienic Belting, a flat hygienic belting product with the capability of minimizing in-process aerobic bacteria counts while reducing processors' cleaning time and costs.

"Food processors have made huge sacrifices using a product that offers only a single benefit," says Mol Industries' Market Development Manager, Barry Whitman. "While modular belting has resolved tension problems facing processors over the past 20 years, the cracks and crevices defined by pins, hinges and link joints on modulars cause innumerable other issues in food processing environments." Issues including requiring elaborate HACCP cleaning protocols, broken link incidents, wear on conveyor systems, and unnecessary product waste.

ThermoDrive belting also far out-performs laminated flat belt options on the market today. "This new belt is a 100% homogenous thermoplastic belt, minimizing the chance of micro-organism contamination," says Whitman.

Product waste is significantly reduced given ThermoDrive's smooth hingeless top surface and radial profile drive design, features that allow superb product release. ThermoDrive belts can also be scraped at any discharge point resulting in less conveyor pollution. No hinged parts means processors can eliminate costly shutdowns required to search for broken pieces that contaminate product.

ThermoDrive belting beta test participants confirm that cleaning and controlling bacteria levels on modular belting is
difficult. ThermoDrive belts have approximately 40 percent less surface area than modular belting and weigh about 60 percent less. Plant Managers at some of the ThermoDrive belt beta test sites have shared that dedicated maintenance crews (2 to 3 people) spend 6-8 hours per day removing, cleaning and sanitizing modular belt conveyor equipment. Comparatively, "ThermoDrive's design allows our belts to be easily and quickly cleaned in place, which can help plants reduce excessive labor costs," says Whitman. Cleaning times can be reduced by as much as 65 percent. In one "clean-in-place" application, cleaning time was accelerated from 20 minutes on modular to just under two minutes on ThermoDrive's flat surface.

Designed to replace modular belting, ThermoDrive belts run on existing modular conveyors. "Our new belt doesn't rely on the friction-based drive concept of conventional belting (pre-tension and drive drum contact). Instead, ThermoDrive belts work on the same positive drive theory as modular belting driven by existing sprockets," says Jim Honeycutt, vice president of sales at the Midwestern United States-based Company.

"Based on early responses from leading meat processors, we are enthusiastic about the ThermoDrive belt's future," says Honeycutt. "Plant and quality managers in traditional plant environments, as well as processors upgrading or building new plants, are looking closely at our product because it will save on conveyor system maintenance costs, eliminate space-consuming cleaning tanks and other elaborate cleaning devices demanded by modular belting design, and reduce conveyor downtime."

ThermoDrive is engineered from a solid extruded plastic with product features and benefits including

o No modules, hinges, crevices - 40% less surface to harbor bacteria
- Reduces excessive wash-down times
- Eliminates elaborate cleaning methods
- Eliminates broken links
- Minimizes micro-organism contamination

o Sprocket-driven
- Runs on existing modular conveyor systems
- No belt tension required

o Flat surface, radius drive teeth
- Excellent product release
- Quick clean in place

o 40-60% less weight than modular
- Quick, easy installation
- Reduced noise
- Decreased wear on conveyor systems

o Non-chordal sprocket wrap
- Scraper-friendly
- Smoother running conveyors, surge-free

o Lateral stability
- Swan-neck/goose-neck conveyor capabilities

o Blue or white color selection
- Custom fabrication (cleats, pace bone lines, etc)
- Supports specific conveyor functions

The Mol Industries Companies, providers of conveyor belt products and other innovative material handling solutions,
are headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA. Mol Industries belting products are sold worldwide. Today, Mol
Industries' operations include regional sales engineers, customer support, fabrication, installation, quality control,
distribution, and research and development. Mol Belting Company, a division of Mol Industries, was founded in 1986
to provide process and conveyor belt development and fabrication for lightweight and medium weight belting.

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