Thermo-Tech Conveyor Belt Heater vs. Deicing Chemicals – Antifreeze

Thermo-Tech Heating Devices patented conveyor belt heater provides the most cost effective method of de-icing conveyor belts to eliminate material slideback. These heaters operate at a fraction of the cost of spraying a chemical deicer, such as the various antifreeze solutions, onto the belt surface. De-icing conveyor belts using heat is totally effective in stopping material slideback whereas antifreeze deicing chemicals are advertised as “helping or stopping material slide back”. 
Thermo-Tech belt heaters are so economical to operate that they are typically set to operate when the temperature falls below freezing and allowed to run continuously until the temperature rises above the set point on the thermostat or the belt is stopped.  
Antifreeze liquid deicer solutions are normally sprayed on the belt during startup – leaving the belt unprotected otherwise. Ice or frost can form long after startup and lead to the material sliding back at any time the belt is operating after the liquid deicer has dissipated from the belt surface. Periodic spraying of antifreeze deicing chemicals after the belt has started is anyone’s guess and very expensive. Belt heaters operate continuously eliminating any monitoring or oversight from operations personnel.

Liquid Deicer Operating Costs

A typical application of antifreeze liquid deicer for one revolution of a belt that takes 2 minutes to cycle and costs about $30.00 dollars, to heat the same belt using diesel fuel, propane or natural gas costs about 15 cents, electrical units approx. 25 cents. Overall operating costs for antifreeze chemical deicer application can top $50,000 for one belt per season, the cost to operate a belt heater in the same application will run about $9,720(based on 90 operating days, 24 hrs/day) in addition to the savings the heater is operating at all times eliminating the possibility that there could be a material slideback. Furthermore the length of the belt is irrelevant when heating as opposed to the longer the belt the more antifreeze required to de-ice it. Additional benefits include the ability to use escaping  heat  to de-ice or heat adjacent drive rolls, idler rolls, belt scrapers, chute work, or other enclosures at no additional operating cost.

Conveyor Belt Heater Effects on the Belt

There are no adverse effects whatsoever to the surface of the belt as it passes over the heat generated by the belt heater. The temperature rise of the belt surface is directly related to the moisture (ice) present. When moisture is present the temperature rise can be as much as 100 deg. (depending on the heat output setting on the heater). If there is no moisture present the same belt at the same ambient temperature will only see about 10 deg. rise in surface temperature. This is due to the fact that the moisture absorbs heat at a much faster rate than the rubber surface. 
Antifreeze liquid deicer can be detrimental to rubber surfaces and in some instances actually creates a slippery surface that will cause material to slide back. Antifreeze deicing chemicals can also harm skirtboard rubber and some belt scraper materials.

Deicing Chemicals Environmental Issues

The small amount of co2 generated by a belt heater is insignificant and is not restricted by MSHA , OSHA or the EPA. Antifreeze liquid deicer has enviromental issues with all of these agencies and can contaminate the product being conveyed causing problems in processing.

Antifreeze Liquid Deicer Systems vs. Thermo-Tech Belt Heaters

  • Antifreeze will not melt excessive accumulations of ice
  • Deteriorates belts
  • More expensive to operate
  • Product contamination in some cases
  • Cannot be used to stop drive roll slippage