September 2016 • in Tech Talk
As a PTFE coated material is used over time, you may see contaminants on the belt that you want to remove. There are a variety of reasons that this may occur, such as static build up or worn cracks in the belt. Because PTFE is a chemically inert plastic, it is resistant to virtually every known cleaning agent and solvent. The cleaning agent or solvent being selected depends on the contaminant that is being removed. A mild cleaning agent that AFC recommends for belt cleaning is Simple Green. One potential hazard to watch for while using a solvent a worn material is any surface cracks. These cracks could allow the solvent to absorbed by the underlying fiberglass fabric. This is a potential hazard for processes where heat is involved.
Once the cleaning agent or solvent has been selected, it should be placed onto the belts and a cleaning tool should be used. PTFE is a very soft plastic, and any abrasive cleaning are strongly discouraged. An abrasive tool will destroy the PTFE coating and expose the bare fiberglass backing, causing a drastic loss of belt life. A cleaning tool such as a soft bristle brush, sponge, or rag is a good option for cleaning the material without damaging the PTFE coating.
As the belt wears, there is the possibility for embedded contaminants. This is caused by surface cracks or splits on the PTFE coating. A coated material that has embedded contaminant is much more difficult to clean. Because of the embedded contaminant, the belt will gradually lose its non-stick properties.Cleaning is usually ineffective for this type of contaminant. To get more life out of a belt with embedded contaminant, try flipping the belt over to use the backside.
These are just some of the ways to clean a PTFE coated material. Interested in seeing them all? Download our Technical Bulletin.