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A slat chain conveyor can be considered as a lightweight version of the Platelink belt. It has one advantage over its heavier-duty brethren, however, and that is the ability to form curves, loops, and spirals. This makes it as flexible as a plastic modular belt, but with the ability to withstand high temperatures, as well as withstanding heavier punishment.
A major benefit of slat chain conveyors over plate link conveyors lies in the ability of the platelets of a slat conveyor to ‘flex’, and hence turn corners, complex loops, and even spirals. This makes them very popular in continuous manufacturing processes, bottling plants, etc.
Whereas a plate link conveyor drives each platelet by means of a pair of chains, the slat conveyor adopts a different approach. Each platelet is bonded to the next by a hinge, making the entire belt length a chain in and off itself. Regularly spaced sprockets both support – and drive – the chain. The concept is similar to a cog-and-pinion railway (but with the locomotive remaining stationary, and the track being moved).
Because the platelets are joined at the centre of their span, rather than at both edges, they have the potential to rotate around the joint, hence producing the ability to flex.
As with plate link conveyors, the platelets can be metal, or composite plastic. The latter tend to be categorized with Plastic Modular conveyors. This can lead to some confusion, as the term “plastic modular” can cover a range of sins, and not all plastic modular conveyors are slat conveyors!
Don’t you just love industrial jargon? Speaking of which…