Conveyor Systems, Generally Speaking

Conveyor Systems, Generally Speaking

Conveyor systems play a crucial role in any automated packaging line.  Without the conveyor system, moving containers from packaging machine to packaging machine would take additional labor and time, effectively destroying the efficiency of the packaging system.  Different construction may be used for any given conveyor construction based on the products being run and the space available for the conveyors.  

Conveyors frames are commonly made of stainless steel or aluminum.  In certain situations, a conveyor frame may be constructed of plastic.  This is most common if corrosion resistance is a concern, that is, the conveyor system is moving a harsh chemical or other product that may not interact well with aluminum or stainless steel. The common “C-Frame” design refers to the C-shaped steel sides which form a frame for the belt, keeping the return of the conveyor belt more or less enclosed as it moves product.  Other conveyor systems are constructed with a raised belt for ease in cleaning. While almost any conveyor may be cleaned by wiping the system down with a damp cloth and a mild, non-abrasive cleaner, some may be manufactured as wash-down conveyor systems.  Wash down conveyors allow for quick and easy cleaning using a hose or similar manner to "wash-down" the packaging equipment.  Never wash-down a conveyor system with a hose unless you are certain that it, and the other packaging machinery on the line - liquid fillers, capping machines, etc. - are all wash down capable.  Otherwise, doing so can cause severe damage to motors, controllers and other facets of the packaging equipment.

Product is moved on a power conveyor system with a moving belt or chain.  Raised belt conveyor systems and automatic low-profile aluminum conveyors generally have polypropylene belts.  C-Frame conveyor systems will use a stainless steel or hard plastic chain.  Conveyor sprockets are controlled by the motor and allow the operator of the conveyor system to adjust speed.  The conveyor motor type will vary based on the type of conveyor being used as well as the specifications of the conveyor system itself.  Conveyor systems can be manufactured to perform in hazardous locations as well, by using, for example, explosion-proof housing around the motor.  

Depending on the packaging being used for a product, power conveyor systems will come equipped with a single or double rail guide system.  These guide rails stabilize and direct product as it moves along the conveyor system.  Double rail systems are normally used on conveyors that are moving tall or awkward shaped containers, adding extra support and stability when needed.  Conveyor guide rails are almost always adjustable by loosening simple knobs and sliding the rails in or out to accomodate different container types and sizes.

Of course, not all conveyors are power conveyors.  A conveyor not equipped with a motor or belting material is a manual, or non-power, conveyor.  Typically using rollers or skatewheels, non-power conveyors use gravity or manual labor to move product along the conveyor system.  Non-power conveyors are often used at the end of a packaging system to accumulate product or to assist in the packing of individual products into boxes, though they may be used anywhere on a packaging system.  

If you would like more details on the various conveyor systems available for your packaging line, contact a Packaging Specialist from Liquid Packaging Solutions toll free today at 1-888-393-3693.