The project took nearly two years to complete and required significant planning and engineering design input.
“If you’re a beer drinker you’ll understand that one of the most important production processes in a malthouse is the preparation of the barley for malting,” said Crouch.
On this customer’s site, they had a box feeder grain system on an upwards rolling chain conveyor system that turns and washes the barley in a big concrete bath that is about 40-50 metres in length and according to Crouch, the original design was underrated for the application.
“A malthouse bath is an environment with a lot of heat and moisture that gets very humid, and the conditions of this customer application were destroying the conveyor roller chains and incurring costly downtime,” he explained.
“The labour-intensive job of changing out the drive components was becoming very expensive for the malthouse and they reasoned that an overhaul to the system would be a worthwhile long-term investment.”
The customer had the team at CBC Geelong come in to assess the damage and develop a new conveyor system design that would better suit the application and improve the efficiency of the process.
Working alongside Michaelson and Motion Australia’s in-house engineering team, they developed a new drive design that would replace the conventional metal roller chain with a Gates Poly Chain Carbon Volt belt solution and proposed upgrades to the bearings, couplings, and sprockets used in the application.
The Gates Poly Chain Carbon Volt belt was introduced to the power transmission market by Gates as the first of its kind.
Designed to be an alternative to conventional roller chain, the Poly Chain is actually a toothed belt made from polyurethane and reinforced with the tensile carbon fibre cords that are a central feature of Gates’ high- performance belting range.
“The Gates Poly Chain Carbon Volt has a few standout features for food and beverage producers that make it an incredible power transmission solution for brewers looking to bolster their production targets,” Michaelson emphasised.
“Most notably, the belt requires zero maintenance – which means it doesn’t stretch or rust and requires no re-tensioning or lubrication. The polyurethane exterior is resistant to washdown cycles; and the carbon fibre reinforcement gives it impressive longevity on demanding applications.”
Conveniently, the Gates Poly Chain Carbon Volt, uses its own unique pulleys / sprockets, for a precision matched drive solution. Furthermore, Gates’ testing revealed that, on average, the belt is 97 percent lighter than standard metal chain and can carry up to 400 percent greater load capacity. This equates to a significant increase in productivity for food and beverage operations, according to Rob.
“From my perspective, the Gates Poly Chain solution is about increased efficiency surrounding all aspects of production,” said Michaelson.
“Where conventional metal chain is heavy and requires constant lubrication to prevent rust and the ingress of dust and contaminants, it also tends to be susceptible to loosening under stressors and requires frequent re-tensioning to maintain optimal performance.”
“If you can picture the metal chain on a bicycle you had as a kid, it works very similarly,” he continued.
“Then imagine that you could replace that rusted loose metal chain with a polyurethane belt that no longer requires oil to loosen the links and sprockets, holds its tension, and resists water and the elements. Ideal right? Well, that is exactly what customers are getting with the Gates Poly Chain Carbon Volt belt.”
After installation, he notes, the belt is pretty much “set-and-forget.”