Bake oven belts, conveyor technologies and high power laser cleaning

IPCO is the world’s largest manufacturer of solid and perforated steel bake oven belts, supplying OEMs and end users alike.

The key qualities of an IPCO bake oven belt include outstanding thermal properties for efficient baking; the inherent ease of cleaning of a belt compared with mesh; and the attractive return on investment when considering overall lifetime cost.

Image Supplied: IPCO

Belts are available in widths from 800 mm to 3500 mm, and are suitable for products as diverse as bread, biscuits, brownies, crackers, pastries, sponges, all-butter cookies and pizza bases.

Steel belts offer a number of distinct advantages in terms of performance in the oven, primarily due to their excellent heat transfer and thermal conductivity. As the heated steel belt surface is in direct contact with the underside of the product, this delivers the crisp, chewy base that represents much of the appeal of many products.

A flat, smooth surface ensures clean release at the end of the oven with minimal risk of damage to fragile products.

Bake oven belts with built-in sustainability

A number of factors combine to make steel belts a more sustainable choice than other belt types. Their strength results in exceptional durability, which means a 20 year working life is not unusual. Secondly, solid steel belts are inherently lighter than mesh belts and perforated belts even more so. A belt has to be reheated every time it enters the oven and a lighter belt means less metal to heat. This means that significantly less energy is required – and these savings are continuous. This weight advantage also means less energy is needed to ‘drive’ the belt through the oven.

Upgraded belt tracking system with optical sensor

The quality of the belt – its straightness and flatness – is central to its long term performance but bake oven belts also require effective tracking systems. IPCO produces a range of belt alignment solutions, including an upgraded version of its widely used Compact Belt Tracker (CBT), a versatile, tilt roller tracking system that can be retrofitted to existing conveyors.

While the existing CBT uses a physical edge sensor, a new, contact-free model features an optical sensor that continuously monitors the belt edge. Any unwanted movement instantly triggers the necessary corrective action in the tilt roller, and smooth, straight running is immediately restored.

The new contact-free Compact Belt Tracker is just one of a comprehensive range of IPCO conveyor components. These include rolling supports, sliding supports (e.g. skid bars and graphite stations), frames, end stations, pulleys, cleaning devices and more.

Image Supplied: IPCO

High power laser cleaning – faster, cleaner, greener

Complementing the company’s expertise in belts, IPCO can also support bakeries with belt cleaning using an innovative system based on high power industrial laser technology.

The laser is installed above the belt and as the belt travels beneath the beam, deposits are burnt off and collected by a vacuum system. Once the strip has been cleaned, the laser head is moved across to the next section.

The key benefit is speed; depending on belt size and level of build-up, a typical bake oven belt can be cleaned in a day. It is an entirely contact-free cleaning process – the structure of the belt is unaffected by the laser. Laser cleaning is a completely dry treatment that uses no water, detergents or aggressive chemicals such as caustic soda (NaOH), making it a far more environmentally-friendly solution than traditional methods.

Customer support through service and special engineering

IPCO has been involved in bake oven conveyor design for decades, often working hand in hand with oven builders to ensure that an oven reaches its full potential. This extends to ongoing partnerships with bakeries and the company has a Special Engineering team who can provide expert technical support.

This experience has resulted in an in-depth understand of how a belt behaves in an oven and how it interacts with the many other component parts that make up the system. As a result, IPCO can deliver inspection and maintenance services that go beyond the belt, with investigations encompassing the entire line to understand how the system as a whole is performing.

IPCO recommends that customers take advantage of Preventative Maintenance Agreements (PMAs). In this way, risks of failure can be identified before they have chance to disrupt production.


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