Power Conveyor Systems - Conveyor Considerations

Power Conveyor Systems - Conveyor Considerations

Any automatic packaging system will require a power conveyor system.  The conveyors act as the circulation system for the various packaging machines on an automated line.  Unfortunately, often times the importance of the power conveyor system is overlooked, the focus instead on the liquid filler, the capping machine or other individual pieces of packaging equipment.  Packagers fail to realize, until it is too late, that when the circulation system goes down, so goes production and profitability.  There are several basic questions that should be analyzed before deciding on any given conveyor system for a packaging project.


This may seem like a common sense consideration when choosing a power conveyor system, and it may very well be, if you focus only on the present needs of your packaging system.  Of course you are going to purchase a conveyor system that is wide enough and long enough to handle your current containers as well as your packaging equipment.  It is the failure to consider the future that can lead to unnecessary and unwanted costs as well as delays in production.  For example, a company that is currently packaging only a sixteen ounce bottle will want to consider the fact that other, larger containers may be demanded by consumers in the future.  Purchasing a conveyor system with four inch belting at the outset leaves the company with no circulation system for a five gallon or even a one gallon container in the future.  The company must now spend the time and money to source a completely new conveyor system for the larger containers.  Keep in mind that simple rail adjustments on conveyor systems allow for easy width adjustments, in turn allowing conveyors to handle a wide range of containers.  In addition, the additional cost for a slightly wider conveyor at the outset would not come close to the money spent on an entirely new, and wider, conveyor system.  So when considering length and width for a conveyor system, look not at where your company is now, but where you see it in the future.


Problems with load support are directly related to the future planning noted above.  Again, any power conveyor system built for a packaging project will be manufactured with the correct tension and weight capacity to handle the products being run.  Again, imagine moving from sixteen ounce containers to a five gallon container.  Even if the packager planned for the future by allowing for extra width, the conveyor system may still fail due to the extra burden and weight of the larger, full containers.  Just like with the length and height, a packager must consider the future of their business when looking at the capacity of the conveyor system as to weight.  Allow for a higher top load than expected and avoid purchasing upgrades or entirely different power conveyors when the business or product changes in the future.


Conveyor belts come in a vast array of materials and types.  In most cases, there is probably more than one type of conveyor belt that will work for the specific project.  However, some time should always be spent assessing the product, the container and the environment in order to choose a belt material and type that will create efficient, productive movement without causing delays or downtime.  As an extreme example, a system that packages acids or bleach would probably want to stay away from stainless steel conveyors.  While stainless steel conveyors will work to move containers that are filled with corrosive materials, the long term effects will be detrimental.  Product spills, or possibly even product fumes will, over time, eat away at the stainless steel material, even on those packaging lines with the most diligent maintenance and cleaning crews.  In this situation, choosing a non-standard, all plastic conveyor system will prolong the life of the conveyors without sacrificing any productivity.  Similarly, using standard conveyor belting for a hot product will work - for awhile.  Spills and long-term heat exposure will eventually take their toll on the belting.  Using a heat resistant conveyor belt may cost a little more up front, but the added years on the back end will more than make up for the initial investment.

While there are many other factors to consider on a case-by-case basis, these basic questions should always be considered before purchasing a power conveyor system.  Keep in mind that the filling machine, capping machine and other automatic packaging machinery cannot perform to potential without the conveyor system and spend as much time preparing this component of your system as any other.