Iwate Nokyo Chicken Foods Corporation, based in Iwate Prefecture, Japan, sells poultry products to wholesale distributors and large-volume meat resellers across Japan. Iwate Nokyo Chicken Foods' Ken Oh plant operates on a single shift to process 63,000 chickens each day.
The high-tensioned, traditional PVC flat belting that the Ken Oh plant utilized along its processing lines was the source of many challenges. The belts were prone to meandering, mistracking, belt fray, cracking, and slippage. This led to belt damage, shortened belt life, and conveyor frame distortion. Resolving these challenges required frequent repair and maintenance. When undertaken, repair work lasted two hours.
Because the flat belts were hard to clean, sanitizing them required workers to wash the belts with cloths and chemical cleaning solutions. Nevertheless, hygiene was a concern because of mold that grew on the back side of the belting, as well as extant risks of contamination and bacteria harborage.
Seeking a belting solution that would be efficient, hygienic, easy to use, and easy to clean, Iwate Nokyo Chicken Foods chose to install Intralox ThermoDrive® belting. With ThermoDrive belting, the Ken Oh plant was able to install both horizontal and incline belting; equip conveyors with flights as needed; use both blue and white belts; and build a thirty-meter-long cutting-and-trimming line, which was previously impossible.
Iwate Nokyo Chicken Foods has been thoroughly satisfied with the results of the ThermoDrive installation. All of the problems that the company experienced with high-tensioned traditional PVC flat belting have been eliminated. Also, the ThermoDrive technology has enabled efficiency increases and reduced electricity usage.
Mr. Shigemi Tanooka, Plant Manager for the Ken Oh plant, comprehensively praised the improvements that ThermoDrive technology has enabled: “ThermoDrive belting has no mistracking, fraying, or cracking; it is easy to clean, maintain, and repair. Because ThermoDrive belts operate at low tension, we have no belt wear or conveyor frame distortion.
“Previously, our PVC flat belts required two-hour repairing periods, but splicing ThermoDrive belts takes only a few minutes. We plan to retrofit our remaining lines with ThermoDrive belting, which will ease our visual inspections and contamination-prevention efforts.
“Our plant has the longest conveyor line in Japan. Typical conveyor lines are no more than thirteen meters long, so our line is three times longer than a typical line, thanks to ThermoDrive. It would have been impossible to build a line this long using PVC flat belting.”