What is a modular conveyor belt?

Plastic Modular conveyor belts are widely used within manufacturing and production due to having multiple properties and features which may be more suited to curves or bends. They're created by connecting lots of small and large pieces that are held together by a rod or hinge pin and made to any desired width and length. 

Available in various materials including PP (Polypropylene), Acetal (Polyoxymethylene), and PE (Polyethylene), each plastic have their own benefits and are suitable for various different applications. 

Differences between conventional belting and modular plastic belting for conveying

When Plastics modular conveyor belts were first introduced in the 1970's by Louisiana based Intralox, it transformed the manufacturing industry from predominantly using synthetic fabric based belting and offered an alternative modern solution, with many more manufacturers seeing the benefits and developing their own variations, styles and types of modular belting.

Key differences between fabric & plastic modular belting

Synthetic Fabric Belts  Plastic Modular Belts
Monofilament woven fabric Interlocking plastic bricks
Friction drive Positive drive
Lower cost Higher cost
Can change belt material post install Locked into belt series post installation
Cleats possible but not changeable Cleats possible and changeable
Replace entire belt if damaged Replace belt sections if damaged
Curved belts and conveyor are custom Curved belts and conveyors are standard


What plastics are used to make Modular conveyor belting?

Understanding the differences between synthetic fabric and plastic modular belting can help engineers plan and determine the most suitable conveyor for a given application.

 Abbreviation  PP  PE  POM
Chemical name Polypropylene Polyethene or polymethylene Polyoxymethylene
Common name Polypropylene Polyethylene Acetal, Polyacetal
Specific properties regarding belting application

+ Excellent chemical resistance to acids and alkaline+ Good cost/performance ratio

+ Rigidity, hardness and strength are higher than polyethylene

–  Rigidity, hardness and strength are lower than polyamide

–  High impact below 10 °C (50 °F) must be avoided

+ Excellent chemical resistance to acids and alkaline+ High impact resistance, even at low temperatures

+ Affordable material

– Low abrasion resistance

– Limited high temperature resistance

+ High rigidity, hardness and strength+ High impact, cut and abrasion resistance

+ Low coefficient of friction

+ Good chemical resistance to oil and alkalines

– Not suitable for long-term contact with a high concentration of acids and chlorine

Remarks Most common material for plastic modular belts Well-suited for very low temperatures and/or high impact applications Suitable for heavy load applications and low temperatures
Temperature range +5 to +105°C -70 to +65°C -40 to +93°C
(up to +60°C in wet conditions)


Modular conveyor belt surface styles and types

  • Flush grid
  • Flat top
  • Raised rib
  • Non skid
  • Roller top
  • Nub top
  • Grip/friction top
  • Embedded diamond top
  • Perforated/mesh top

Plastics Modular Conveyor Belt Fabrication Types 

  • Flights – cleats
  • Tracking tabs
  • Friction tops
  • Perforations
  • Side guards

Plastics Modular Conveyor Belt Accessories