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Belt Conveyors

Technical information bulletin the effects of ozone on rubber conveyor belts

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The effects of exposure to ozone

Ozone occurs naturally in the upper atmosphere. At high altitude, it acts as a protective shield by absorbing harmful ultraviolet rays. However, at low altitude, the ozone itself becomes a pollutant. Exposure to ozone increases the acidity of carbon black surfaces and causes reactions to take place within the molecular structure of the rubber. This has several consequences such as a surface cracking and a decrease in the tensile strength of the rubber. The actual level of ozone concentrations at ground level, and therefore the level of

exposure, can differ greatly from one location to another depending on geographical and climatic conditions. The general concentration of ozone is from 0 to 6 parts per hundred million parts of air. Coastal areas have particularly high levels of ozone pollution. Ozone also occurs in cities and industrialised areas, when it is formed by the photolysis of nitrogen dioxide from automobile exhaust and industrial discharges, where ozone levels can range from 5 to 25 parts per hundred million parts of air.

Environmental and safety concerns 

Belts that do not operate under shelter are especially prone to surface cracking, which can be extremely detrimental in terms of the performance of the belt and its working life.

Even more significant are the environmental and health and safety consequences of the damage caused by ozone exposure because dust particles from the materials being conveyed penetrate the surface cracks and are then discharged (shaken out) on the return (underside) run of the belt.

At first glance, fine cracks in the surface rubber may not seem to be a major problem but over a period the rubber becomes increasingly brittle. Transversal cracks deepen under the repeated stress of passing over the pulleys and drums and, if the conveyor has a relatively short transition distance, longitudinal cracks can also begin to appear.

Again, surface cracking may not initially seem to be a cause of concern but there are often hidden long-term effects.

One of those hidden effects is that moisture and other fluids seep into the cracks and penetrate through the belt covers

down to the carcass of the belt. If the belt is carrying product such as household waste, grain, wood/waste or biomass then the oils and resins that penetrate through to the carcass will cause the belt to swell and distort very badly.

The effects of ultra violet radiation

Ultraviolet radiation causes chemical reactions to take place within rubber and the rapid decline in the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere over the past several decades is allowing an increasing level of UV radiation to reach the earth’s surface. Ultraviolet light from sunlight and fluorescent lighting accelerates deterioration because it produces photochemical reactions that promote the oxidation of the surface of the rubber resulting in a loss in mechanical strength.

EN/ISO 1431 International standards

To scientifically measure resistance to ozone, samples are placed under tension (20% elongation) inside the ozone testing cabinet and exposed to highly concentrated levels of ozone for a period up to 96 hours. At Dunlop the pass criteria is that the rubber sample does not show any signs of cracking after 96 hours (@ 20°C, 50 pphm and 20% strain) inside the ozone cabinet. Every sample is closely examined for evidence of cracking at two-hourly intervals and the results carefully measured and recorded. As a general rule, based on experience, failure to exceed more than 8 hours under test without surface cracking will most certainly mean that the belt will start to deteriorate in less than 2 years. In many cases, particularly in coastal locations, deterioration will begin within a matter of months.

At Dunlop Conveyor Belting we were amongst the very first to introduce mandatory testing to EN/ISO 1431 international standards. As a direct result, special anti-oxidant additives that act as highly efficient anti-ozonants were introduced into all of our rubber compound recipes to provide protection against the damaging effects of ozone and ultra violet.

Always insist that your belt supplier provides written verification that their belts undergo stringent conditional

Seek advice

As often as not, the quality of a belt (including its ability to resist wear) is reflected in its price. It is always worth the effort to check the original manufacturers specifications very carefully and ask for documented evidence of tested performance compared to the relevant international standard before placing your order.

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Genel

Mondi partners with Heiber + Schröder to launch the new high-performance machine eComPack for automated packaging of its EnvelopeMailer for eCommerce

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Heiber + Schröder’s mechanical engineering combined with Mondi’s packaging and paper expertise enables eCommerce companies to automate the erecting, filling and closing packaging process using the EnvelopeMailer solution he state-of-the-art eComPack doubles output per hour, responding to demand for the automation of paper-based packaging solutions in eCommerce operations

The state-of-the-art eComPack doubles output per hour, responding to demand for the automation of paper-based packaging solutions in eCommerce operations

The new machine perfectly complements Mondi’s universal and fully recyclable corrugated EnvelopeMailer for maximum performance

Mondi, a global leader in packaging and paper, has worked on an innovative collaboration with German machine producer Heiber + Schröder to create a high-speed automated packaging machine that meets the process, efficiency and safety requirements of eCommerce fulfilment operations. The new eComPack machine is designed for mid to large size eCommerce operations seeking efficiency and reliability. It can process up to 500 parcels per hour thanks to an automated erecting, filling and closing process.

The technological expertise of paper and board packaging automation expert Heiber + Schröder forms a perfect synergy with Mondi’s innovative packaging solutions. The resulting high-output eComPack can automatically process a wide scope of goods using one height-adaptable packaging design that is available in different sizes. The equipment stands out for its compact floor space requirement and simplicity in operation and maintenance.

In the rapidly growing world of eCommerce, the combination of an excellent paper-based product and an efficient and economic automated packaging machine is a key differentiator for our customers. The successful introduction of Mondi’s EnvelopeMailer solution increased manual packaging output by 8% compared to standard C-folder packaging. With eComPack, we are now enabling our customers to double their output and optimise packing operations in fulfilment centres handling high volumes,

Tarik Aniba, Sales & Marketing Director, Mondi Corrugated Solutions

The eCommerce market has grown significantly in recent years, accounting for approximately 20% of global retail sales in 2021¹. This means a wider variety of goods is being distributed, which increases packing complexity and requires versatile packaging solutions of different sizes and shapes. At the same time, with the rising cost of labour, the desire for packing machines in eCommerce is more prominent than ever before. To help customers tackle these challenges, eComPack provides a solution dedicated to the automated packaging of Mondi’s corrugated eCommerce solution EnvelopeMailer.

Made to safely fit single or multiple items and rectangular as well as irregular shapes up to 7 cm in height, the EnvelopeMailer’s flexibility in the fulfilment process, efficiency in handling, and economical use of material and space have made it an all-around new standard in the market since its launch in 2020.

André Garmer, Managing Director Heiber + Schröder, adds: “Together with Mondi we developed the machine in a very dynamic co-creation process. The result is a robust, user-friendly machine with top-class usability. Through clever and responsible creation, we were able to synchronise packaging design and machine functionality into a solution that offers tremendous potential if combined with the right packaging solution.”

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Packaging

What kind of automation do you need for your packaging line?

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One of the primary factors in determining your approach to packaging line automation is to take a look at your existing warehouse environment. Packaging environments differ based on many variables such as the type of business, warehouse layout, and the number and sizes of products to be shipped. As examples, a manufacturing facility may produce products in batches, while an e-commerce fulfillment center may require shipments of single- and multi-item orders. Other facilities may require packaging of small or similar-sized items, while others may have large, heavy and/or odd-shaped products to ship. Each would benefit from automation, but each requires a different automatic packaging solution to achieve the best results.

Since packaging processes can be carried out in a number of different ways based on operational requirements, the best way to optimize your warehouse is to fully assess and understand your existing workflow. With the assistance of an Automated Packaging Professional, you can look at your packaging line holistically to design a customizable solution that matches your product flow, from shelves to shipping.

Although no two packaging environments are alike, every packaging process includes some form of data integration, product transport, carton production, product protection, carton erect, carton packing, sealing, marking, sortation, and business intelligence. See our previous blog post to learn more about this.On Demand Packaging® solutions can enhance processes and flow by integrating with one or more of these 10 features, depending on the workflow environment. The following examples illustrate different packaging environments and the benefits of a customized Packsize system in each.

Automated Box Last

“Box Last” is a highly-automated packaging flow designed for manufacturing or distribution facilities that need to pick and package single- or multi-item orders. While utilizing three Packsize machine systems and an integrated software platform, this packaging process produces a right-sized box-last, for the right product, in the right sequence, every time. All 10 features of the packaging process are integrated in this solution.

This process employs conveyance automation (and also works for non-conveyable or oversized items, from the picking of products). Each product is scanned for dimensional data and placed on warehouse racking. Sortation occurs at the scanner placed on the conveyor before the three shipping trucks.

In this example, the M1 packages large, non-conveyable orders, the X4 handles medium conveyable single- or multi-item orders, and the X7 packages smaller, conveyable, single- or multi-item orders.

A large outdoor retailer has taken big steps to fine-tune packaging in its distribution centers by employing the Right-sized Packaging on Demand “box last” process, integrating several automated, small-footprint packaging machines to produce custom boxes for every order. Prior to utilizing this process, the company stocked an inventory of boxes, in varying sizes, at several pack stations, wasting time, money, and efficiency. Right-sized packaging lowered their dimensional charges, reduced the cost of materials and labor, all while increasing throughput.

  • Customize your solution to match your product flow from shelves to shipping
  • Right-sized box is produced last for the right product in the right sequence, every time
  • Integration points across your facility will know where to route the order
  • Packsize equipment will package products based on key attributes, cut times, and delivery methods

Automated Box First

“Box First” is another highly-automated packaging solution that pairs boxes automatically with an order ready to be packed. Each product is scanned for dimensional data and placed on warehouse racking. Items are packed in the box as the box is conveyed through the warehouse racking. Sortation occurs at the scanner placed on the conveyor before the three shipping trucks.

Customize your On Demand Packaging solution to enhance processes and flow

  • Packsize equipment enables a right-sized box to be created and routed to the appropriate areas of your distribution center
  • Boxes are automatically paired with an order ready to be packed
  • Seamless communication built on the PackNet® software foundation enhances flow and provides order analytics

Leading cake decoration supplier DecoPack utilizes a box-first On Demand Packaging solution after realizing the need to increase automation to support higher shipping volumes to its customers. Prior to automating, the company would pick orders into a tote, transport the tote to packing stations and then take the items out to pack into a pre-selected carton chosen from a large box inventory. This process required several workers in pick lines and large amounts of corrugated and void fill. Right-sized packaging provided the automation solution they needed, while reducing time, touch, and travel in their packaging and shipping process.

Automated Manufacturing / Assembly Environment

In a manufacturing environment products may be produced in batches (the same item is produced for a certain production run), or by a purchase order, down to a single unit at a time. Products may be large, oddly-shaped, or heavy. This process illustrates a Packsize machine accommodating either production environment. Depending on the variation of products produced, packaging needs, takt time required, and other variables, On Demand Packaging solutions can be customized to improve throughput and reduce costs.

For customers seeking higher automation for large, odd-shaped, and/or heavy products

  • Integrates seamlessly into your existing assembly line
  • Deliver the perfect fitting box to your packstation
  • Automation helps to reduce labor and improve consistency in your packaging process

Forward-thinking furniture manufacturer Legacy Cabinets sought to reduce empty space and improve protection when shipping its cabinetry. However, the initial attempt at right-sizing required a substantially large box inventory. This required significant time, costs, and management of 500 box SKUs. Legacy Cabinet’s inventory now consists of only five different sizes of z-Fold®.

Multi-Machine Manufacturing Flow

This packaging solution features less automation and integration than the other manufacturing environment references. Products are transported to Packsize machines for custom box production then packed and shipped by an employee. This process can be integrated with packaging software to scan a product for dimensional data as it is unpackaged and placed on warehouse racking.

Can be customized for any workflow

  • Product dimensions are entered into the machine either with a barcode scan, manual scan, or your WMS
  • z-Fold® will be fed into the machine and cut into a right-sized box
  • Equipped for various box sizes and designs
  • PackNet coordinates all elements of the manufacturing flow

For more than 20 years, Central Carolina Products relied on a traditional store-and-retrieve box inventory system to ship custom auto parts and other injection-molded products. Waiting for box vendor quotes and orders added several days to its lead time. After incorporating an On Demand Packaging solution, they can now create 100 custom boxes for 100 different parts at no extra cost and with no additional lead time.

Custom Batch Production

In batch production, an automated packaging machine creates batches of boxes, eliminating the need for a box inventory. In the illustration below, it is assumed that the production run is generated by an integrated software system, which means that this is higher on the integration scale, even though the packaging process flow is lower on the automation scale.

Eliminate the dependency on box vendors for stock boxes and custom orders

  • Quickly produce the exact number of boxes you need in the right size and design
  • Optimized to produce any custom box for your operations—either in batch or single-piece flow productions

Packaging is typically the final part of any manufacturing or order fulfillment process, and often, the last to be optimized. The process solutions above emphasize the role a packaging line plays in achieving business objectives, increased throughput, reduced labor, and cost savings. Just as no two warehouse environments are alike, automation is not a one-size-fits-all remedy, but rather a customizable and flexible solution designed to streamline warehouse operations, increase sustainability, reduce costs, and increase customer satisfaction.

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