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A plastic chain conveyor is a piece of industrial equipment used to transport materials or goods across a track. The system uses a plastic belt or chain system on which items can be placed; the chain will then move along a slotted track, thereby facilitating transportation of goods. This chain or belt will revolve around the track so the belt forms a continuous loop. The plastic chain conveyor belt features interlocking plastic pieces that allow bending, making the track more versatile and able to move in various directions as needed.
The length and course of the plastic chain conveyor can vary according to its intended application, and it can be built in such a way that items or materials are transported across a flat surface, up an incline, down a slope, or even around corners. The plastic chain itself is powered by a motor that is usually fitted with one or more pulleys or cogs. The cogs will press against teeth on the bottom of the chain to propel the entire chain system forward. In order to keep the chain on track, the plastic chain conveyor will be fitted with tracks in which the teeth of the chain will fit.
Like other conveyor systems, the plastic chain conveyor is intended for use with certain types of materials or items, while other types of materials or items may not be suitable for the system. Fine, granular or particulate matter, for example, may fall through the individual cogs of the plastic chain, leading to damage to the machine and a loss of materials. Auger conveyors are usually used in place of a plastic chain conveyor if fine particulate matter must be moved. The plastic conveyor system is popular in light industrial settings, as well as in food processing settings, whereas heavy-duty metal chain conveyors or belt conveyors are used in heavy industrial settings.
One of the benefits of a plastic chain conveyor is the lower cost of parts should repairs be necessary. Plastic is easily malleable during production, which means production costs tend to be lower in general. The repair of the belt will also generally be easy, since plastic tends to have some flexibility to it. Some types of plastic can be brittle, however, which means cracking may be inevitable over time, especially if the items or materials being hauled are exceptionally heavy or oddly shaped. Most belts are made from high quality plastic, however, to avoid cracking or warping.