Have you experienced this too? Hardly have you got through the supermarket door before hunger strikes. Bread rolls, chocolate, orange juice – all manner of sweet temptations end up in the shopping cart. They all have one thing in common, without which they would not taste so good: sugar. Approximately 175 million metric tons of the sweet commodity is produced and processed worldwide every year from sugar cane or sugar beet. The global average consumption is 25 kilograms per person per year. This means huge quantities need to be transported safely and hygienically from the field all the way to your dining table. Strict requirements are therefore in place for the logistics chain as well as the transport systems and equipment – it is good that ContiTech products fulfill all of these.
Our white conveyor belts are the best example of this. These now run through the halls in the import and export terminal of the international Euroports Group at the port of Antwerp. Their task is to move the large quantities of sugar within one of the world’s biggest transshipment hubs with a storage capacity of 260,000 metric tons. And that’s not all, not by a long shot! Only recently, Euroports decided to invest €30 million in the installation of new facilities so that it can again increase its capacity for transshipment and can cater for the growth in export quantities.
Hygiene is everything
In doing so, like many other manufacturers and distributors worldwide, we are working in accordance with IFS standards (International Featured Standards), which ensure quality, transparency and efficiency in the supply chain. It quickly became clear that we had been selected. The reasons? We delivered within a very short space of time, met the high quality requirements, and had the necessary foodstuffs certificates for the new systems in Antwerp. This is because our company already adheres to strict hygiene standards in the manufacture of our conveyor belts. Production machines are meticulously cleaned, and protective clothing must always be worn to ensure a clean end product.
||Stephan Weisgerber is the Managing Director of ContiTech in Finland:
“We originally developed the conveyor belts with white cover plates for the wood and paper industry. Demand for our white belts from the different sectors of the foodstuffs industry has now significantly increased.”
This does not only apply to the special conveyor belts for sugar. Our products are also in high demand in other sensitive sectors such as meat, fruit, vegetables and salt. The reason: “We can develop special compounds depending on the requirements. We have also customized the conveyor belts for the sugar warehouse in Antwerp precisely to Euroports’ requirements,” explains Stephan Weisgerber, Managing Director of ContiTech in Finland, from where the conveyor belts are delivered. The conveyor belts are fire-retardant and anti-static in order to prevent the possible risk of explosion or fire. This is because organic materials such as flour and sugar can cause devastating dust explosions.
Despite a high degree of individuality, all the conveyor belts for foodstuffs processing have one thing in common: they cannot be damaged by grease, oils or chemicals. Conversely, the conveyor belts are completely harmless to the foodstuffs as the rubber compounds do not transfer any elements to the conveyed material. This means that the sugar travels cleanly through the terminal and ends up on supermarket shelves and your tables in the form of jam, cola, etc.