Whether a product is of the everyday variety or on the cutting edge of technology, its creation relies on accurate, durable and ultra-clean equipment. That makes stainless steel a fabricator’s friend, and Belt Technologies, Inc. — specializing in the application-specific design and manufacture of metal conveyor belts, drive tapes and pulleys for more than 50 years — a leading source for solutions.

“What truly makes us unique, and what we do better than anybody else on the planet, is we’re able to weld that very thin strip of metal and make it flat, smooth and strong,” said Denis Gagnon, CEO at the Agawam, Massachusetts, company. “It's one of those things that's really more art than science.”

Figure 1: Belt’s solutions benefit a wide range of industries and work well in the most demanding production and quality control environments. Source: Belt TechnologiesFigure 1: Belt’s solutions benefit a wide range of industries and work well in the most demanding production and quality control environments. Source: Belt Technologies

Endless metal belts, like the ones in Belt Technologies’ signature PureSteel product line, are often preferable to other belt types for many reasons. For example, fabric and plastic belts — including those made of nylon, cotton, polyester or polymer — have several major drawbacks, including durability issues and inadequate hygiene. Both fabric and polymer belts are easily frayed and allow for bacterial buildup in crevices and small holes. This requires regular removal of the belts for cleaning, negatively impacting productivity.

Metal mesh belts may afford the inherent benefits of stainless steel, but they consist of many connected parts — so lubrication is required to avoid generating friction between the elements. This introduces another contaminant into an operation, presenting a risk to the cleanliness of products in the facility.

“It’s frequently the only design option,” Gagnon said of endless stainless steel belts. “And our climate-controlled facilities are equipped to manufacture these products in both prototype and high-volume quantities.”

Advantages of PureSteel

Produced using sophisticated technology and innovative manufacturing processes, Belt’s solutions benefit a wide range of industries and work well in the most demanding production and quality control environments. Here are just a few of the ways they outperform the alternatives:

  • Accuracy. To ensure the most accurate and reliable motion possible, PureSteel metal belts are manufactured to dimensions with very tight tolerances. Belt is able to fabricate metal belts with a pitch accuracy of ±0.0005 inches.
  • Durability. The metal’s nonporous surface resists damage, a benefit for applications where food bacteria or other germs could proliferate in grooves, marks or scratches.
  • Hygiene. Other conveyors can be very difficult to clean, requiring either periodic removal from the production equipment for immersion in chemical solutions or the installation of complex cleaning systems and brushes. In comparison, stainless steel belts can be cleaned in place with almost any cleaning or sterilization method.
  • High strength-to-weight ratio. Stainless steel has a tensile strength ranging from 180 KPSI to 300 KPSI, depending on the alloy and temper chosen. Relatively thin and lightweight belts can be designed to handle the stresses of almost any application.
  • Non-stretchable materials. Compared to belts made with other materials, metal belts made with spring steels have a high modulus of elasticity, so they don’t stretch.
  • Thermal conductivity. Metal belts are better at absorbing and transmitting energy in the form of heat, cold and electricity, which are often used in the manufacturing process.

Customization is the name of the game at Belt, where PureSteel products are available in a broad array of metal alloys, belt width and thickness combinations, perforation patterns, coatings and attachments for a highly tailored design. The company’s team works closely with every customer from the start to determine the right belt for the job.

“Virtually every new customer requires a brand-new belt solution, and our existing customers are also constantly improving their designs and creating new products, so we're constantly working on unique designs to meet those needs,” Gagnon said. “That's what truly separates us — a collaborative design approach leveraging our team’s decades of application experience, and then our ability to execute and manufacture to that design within tight standards.”

Enter TruPulleys

To continue its tradition of excellence in belt and conveyor solutions, Belt Technologies recently introduced TruPulleys, a new line of pulleys that work to monitor tension, reduce rotational inertia or precisely track a metal belt. All TruPulleys are available as standalone products or as parts of a conveyor system designed by Belt, and are manufactured in the U.S.

Products in the TruPulleys line include:

  • TruTension Pulley. Unique to the belt conveyor market, this proprietary and state-of-the-art product precisely measures belt tension on conveyor systems. Standard pulleys do not have any tension indicators. The TruTension Pulley, however, incorporates sensors to measure the tension of a steel belt, allowing users to optimize the belt’s performance and maximize its lifespan. Through a calibration process, the pulley measures the belt tension and displays it digitally on the controller display — making TruTension a first of its kind in the marketplace.
  • TruPace Pulley. Compared to standard pulley designs of similar diameter and width, the TruPace Pulley offers a significant decrease in inertia. This allows designers to specify smaller motors and gearboxes for their equipment, bringing reliability and synchronous operation to manufacturing or production floors.
  • TruTrack Pulley. The segmented design of the TruTrack Pulley will accurately track a metal belt to 0.008 inches. This design will also reduce side loads on the belt, preventing damage to its edge and improving belt life in ways standard edge guides or flanges cannot.

When selecting the appropriate pulley size and setup, it’s essential to consider its impact on both the conveyor belt’s durability and overall effectiveness. Belt Technologies’ team of engineers has the knowledge and skills to help users choose the ideal pulley style, diameter and material.

Metal belts everywhere: Real-world applications

Custom-designed PureSteel stainless steel metal belts, metal timing belts and game-changing pulleys provide engineers with a wide range of manufacturing options. Read about the invaluable roles these products have played for actual customers across critical industries:

Industrial automation

Metal Drive Tapes for Semiconductor Wafer Robotic Manufacturing

The successful production of small semiconductor devices requires sophisticated fabrication equipment capable of repeating a core set of processes that can include hundreds of complicated individual steps. Learn how Belt assisted a longstanding customer that specializes in developing and manufacturing advanced equipment used in the production of semiconductor wafers — in the face of short lead time and no room for error.

Food processing

Stainless Steel Belt for an Automated Spiral Drum Freezer

Belt Technologies had been working with OEMs specializing in the automated food processing industry for decades. When a new food industry customer requested Belt’s help in engineering a stainless steel conveyor belt for a system designed to freeze breaded meat products, the team went to work on a custom solution for a unique situation.

Medical manufacturing

A Critical Solution for Vaccine Processing and Packaging Conveyor

In 2021, a U.K.-based conveyor manufacturer was tasked with creating a turnkey, vaccine-packaging system that would facilitate a 17-fold increase in vaccine production. In need of a hygienic and durable solution for cleanroom environments and pharmaceutical production, they relied on Belt Technologies to deliver quickly.


Lending a Hand to Revolutionary Surgical Robotic Arms

As robot-assisted surgery continues transforming the medical field, there is one major hurdle toward widespread integration: cost. One company in India is trying to change that by developing new, technologically advanced yet cost-effective surgical systems that would benefit patients around the world. Discover why they chose Belt Technologies as a partner.


Creating an Out-Of-This-World Solution

In recent years, the production of solar panels has expanded significantly as the world adapts to an increased need for 21st-century infrastructure technology. When a customer required a faster method of assembly for panels in a satellite array, they turned to Belt Technologies for a solution.


Curtain Coating Method for More Efficient Battery Production

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s preeminent universities in the field of technical science and an educational leader in continental Europe. They turned to Belt for a stainless steel belt conveyor that could withstand caustic chemicals and high temperatures, while evenly applying a liquid “curtain coating”— achieving production-boosting, cost-saving results.


An Efficient, Hygienic, Long-Lasting Solution

Much like the food industry, tobacco and tobacco products need to remain sanitary throughout the production process before they come into contact with customers. Prior to their partnership with Belt Technologies, Molins (MPRD Ltd.), a leader in the tobacco industry for more than a century, was in the market for an efficient and hygienic solution to transport raw tobacco into the cigarette production line. Belt Technologies rolled out a solution that has served them for decades.

Driving productivity

From concept to completion, Belt Technologies provides industrial automation solutions with robust engineering support (including its free, downloadable Design Guide and Engineer’s Reference for Metal Belts). The team works closely with every customer to fix a problem, convert existing automation equipment to a metal belt conveyor operation, or design a whole new system — whatever it takes to improve that manufacturer’s efficiencies and reduce operating costs.

“We work on a lot of very interesting products, and we're solving a lot of unique challenges that are out there in the industrial manufacturing world,” Gagnon said, “one customer at a time.”