A close-up of a metal industrial conveyor system with a segment of blue plastic modular belting on it.

When your manufacturing business relies on conveyor belts, you don’t have a one-size-fits-all solution. Various products and materials demand different belt materials to work efficiently and without hazards. Plastic and rubber conveyor belts are common, but what is best for your application? Consider the factors below to help narrow your decision.

Assess the Nature of Your Materials

The type of materials you’re moving plays a significant role in your choice between plastic and rubber conveyor belts. For instance, if you're handling sharp or abrasive materials, rubber belts offer superior resistance to cuts and abrasions. On the other hand, plastic belting, particularly modular plastic belting, is ideal for food production environments. This is due to its ease of cleaning and compliance with hygiene standards.

Evaluate Environmental Conditions

Various environmental conditions, such as temperature, exposure to chemicals, and moisture levels, can also influence your choice. Rubber belts are suitable for extremely hot and cold temperatures and can withstand exposure to oils and chemicals. Conversely, plastic conveyor belts offer excellent resistance to corrosion, making them the better option for damp or corrosive environments.

Consider Load Requirements

When it comes to load requirements, you should consider both the weight and the distribution of the load. Rubber conveyor belts are typically favorable for heavy-duty applications due to their strength and durability. However, modular plastic belting provides flexibility and can be more suitable for lighter loads or applications with even load distribution.

Analyze Speed and Efficiency Needs

Speed and efficiency are paramount in maintaining productivity. Plastic conveyor belts often offer lower friction and can facilitate a faster movement of goods, which is particularly beneficial in high-speed applications. Additionally, the reduced weight of plastic belts can lead to lower energy consumption, enhancing overall efficiency.

Review Maintenance and Durability Concerns

Maintenance and durability are critical considerations for any conveyor system. Rubber belts, while durable, can require more maintenance over time, especially in harsh conditions. Plastic belts are generally easier to repair and replace, with modular designs allowing for quick changes of individual sections without replacing the entire belt.

When pondering what's best for your applications between plastic and rubber conveyor belts, you must evaluate your operation’s specific demands. By carefully weighing your options, you can select a conveyor belt material that enhances your operation's productivity while minimizing costs and downtime.