Welcome to Package This — your guide to packaging machinery and materials. In this episode, we look at conveyors, essential for transporting materials, ingredients, and packages from point A to point B through packaging and processing operations. So, let’s get this video on conveyors rolling!
Conveyors come in all shapes, sizes, and configurations. They can be made of belts, plates, wires, and various other materials and can be flat or horizontal, or at an incline or decline.
One of the most common conveyors used in packaging and processing is the bucket conveyor.
Also referred to as bucket elevators, bucket conveyors vertically transport products through individual buckets that cycle in a continuous loop. Frequently used to handle finished food products prior to packaging, these conveyors feature buckets that remain secure during both horizontal and vertical movement, ensuring effective, gentle conveying with little to no product spilling.
Here we see a bucket elevator from Frazier & Son, engineered to elevate and gently convey products utilizing gradual transitions to minimize product degradation or damage. Frazier & Son’s range of configurations includes discharge designs that deliver products to multiple inline packaging machines through a single bucket elevator. Designed with sanitation requirements in mind, Frazier & Son bucket elevators have stainless steel framework, ground and polished welds, accessible doors and covers as well as wet-wash options to expedite the sanitation process.
Among the most encountered conveyors on packaging lines are tabletop conveyors. These conveyors feature a flat, continuous surface, typically composed of interconnected segments, slats, or plates. They are ideally suited for the movement of relatively small, flat, or stable-bottomed objects, such as boxes, cartons, bottles, cans, or other packaged goods, often arranged in single-file or inline style.
Modular conveyors, also known as modular belt conveyors, consist of easily attachable modules, usually made from plastic materials. These modules can be quickly interconnected, providing a high degree of versatility and adaptability to cater to various space and directional requirements in the facility.
Infeed & Discharge Conveyors
Infeed and discharge conveyors are specially designed for taking products and packages in and out of machines. Infeed conveyors introduce items into a particular machine, process, or system for further handling, assembly, processing, or packaging. Discharge or outfeed conveyors collect and move packages or products as they come out of a processing or packaging stage to another downstream operation.
Now let’s look at two conveyors designed to raise or lower products…
Flighted conveyors employ flights, also known as fin dividers or scrapers, to segregate and retain products during transportation, often at steep vertical angles. Unlike bucket conveyors which have individual buckets, flighted belt conveyors feature troughs embedded within the conveyor belt.
Incline conveyors encompass a variety of systems designed to move products from one elevation to another. Examples include adjustable conveyors, slider bed incline conveyors, roller bed incline conveyors, continuous and reciprocating vertical conveyors. Another type of incline conveyor is spiral conveyors, which are used for buffering packages as well as cooling baked goods in processing facilities.
Roller conveyors are a basic conveyor that consists of a series of cylindrical rollers that rotate freely on axles. They are often used to move larger heavier items, such as moving filled cases at the end of a line.
Now, let’s look at some specialty conveyors you may not have ever known existed…
Magnetic conveyors utilize embedded magnets within the belt to facilitate the movement of objects like metal parts, jar lids, and tin boxes downstream.
Vibratory conveyors move small or fine items, often ingredients in a processing line such as almonds or coffee beans, through a constant shaking motion.
Screw conveyors utilize a large screw shaped device to move bulk products that are loaded from an overhead hopper vertically. With each turn of the screw, a screw conveyor loads product, which then conveys product horizontally until it is eventually released into another tank for further processing or a package. They are mainly used for ingredients such as grains, seeds or powders and even some wet ingredients.
Cable conveyors are used primarily to move empty plastic bottles or cans via a cable that drags them single file into a cleaning or filling machine.
Another type of cable conveyor is the tubular drag cable conveyor, also called disc conveyors. These conveyors are used primarily in processing operations to gently move fine and fragile ingredients like coffee beans and corn flakes by gently dragging them at low speeds with a small disc through long tubes.
Air conveyors are another method of moving empty plastic bottles. Empty bottles are placed into the conveyor system, hanging by their necks. The system then moves the light bottles via an air chute.
Guides, Rails & Adjustment Systems
Guides and rail systems are added to conveyor lines to direct products to where they need to go, stabilizing and securing the product throughout the conveyance process. Adjustment systems raise or lower a conveyor track.
Related Components & Accessories
And if you have conveyors, you may also need replaceable components and accessories, such as belting, pins to secure belts, rollers and skate wheels that keep conveyors moving, motors and drives to power and control motion, and much more.
We hope this video has conveyed just how multifaceted this type of packaging and processing equipment is. For more videos on packaging machinery and materials, please subscribe to our full Package This series on YouTube. If you’re looking for companies who supply all of the conveying equipment we mentioned, explore PMMI ProSource, a searchable directory with 1,000 packaging and processing suppliers. Visit ProSource.org to search suppliers by package type, material, or features.
Thanks for watching!