Technological progress in beverage packaging equipment has, together with stricter standards for hygiene and environmental protection, resulted in increasingly stringent demands on the conveyors used in packaging plants and the need for improvements in their lubrication. At one time conveyors were lubricated with bars of soap, which were replaced by liquid soap in the early 1960s. Since then, although most conveyor lubricants are still based on soap chemistry, both they and the means of their application have undergone considerable development. Special additives are used to enhance lubricant performance on high speed conveyor chains. Sophisticated dispensing systems ensure that the need to apply large quantities of lubricant at certain specific points does not result in lubricant being wasted in other areas where so much is not needed. Measures can be taken to reduce the incidence of fouling caused by lubricants reacting with spilled products or by poor lubricant performance and consequent abrasion of metal. A variety of additives can be used to control microorganisms and prevent lubricant foaming. (Foam adhering to the bases of bottles can be mistaken for dirt inside the bottle by automatic bottle inspectors). Water softening is often used to prevent reactions between soap and hard water which can cause precipitation and thereby clog the lubricant dispensing nozzles. Improvements in storage and handling technology, in the interests of safety and economy, and the use of biodegradable low foam surfactants to facilitate effluent treatment are also increasingly important.
Keywords : conveyor economisation efficiency lubricant performance