Conveyors can handle anything
Advancements in conveyor technology solve a variety of packaging challenges.
Accumulation conveyor dynamically balances production flow
Multi-Conveyor (multi-conveyor.com) recently built a stainless steel constructed plastic belt conveyor designed for accumulating flat or low in height product. This particular project was designed for raw foods but the concept can be used for many applications. When the downstream process pauses, the accumulation system is activated and receives product from the upstream transport conveyor to allow the upstream machines to empty, or to continue their process for a limited time. The initial decline noser of the upstream conveyor transfers product onto the shuttle accumulation conveyor which extends to absorb the flow of product even though its belt is not running. Once the downstream is again ready to receive product, the shuttle accumulation conveyor retracts and its belt is powered on to discharge product off of the accumulation conveyor, onto the downstream transport conveyor. The shuttle accumulation design was made for accumulating mass flow or single file product by extending and retracting a secondary accumulation conveyor located between transportation conveyors.
Control product flow and routing “smart” pallet systems
Dorner Mfg. (dornerconveyors.com) has introduced new pallet system components for use on its 2200 SmartFlex® flexible chain conveyor platform that provides accurate positioning and routing of parts for assembly, robotic and inspection applications. The components, sold as completed assemblies or as kits, allow users to implement easy design changes to their conveyor systems, and offer versatile layout flexibility. Introduced in 2013, the 2200 SmartFlex reduces costs, saves time and offers simple configuration and acquisition options to Dorner’s customers within the food, medical, life sciences, industrial automation and packaging industries. The new pallet systems provide users with greater customization capabilities to benefit assembly and other similar processes. Pallet system components include merge and divert kits, a lift and locate station and pallet stops.
Low-noise conveyor system is easy to configure
VarioFlow plus is ideal for achieving a fast time-to-market. With the Rexroth (boschrexroth-us.com) flexible chain conveyor system, users can easily configure individual, space-saving solutions for versatile, complex transportation tasks, even for difficult environments. Rexroth’s VarioFlow plus offers a number of standardized modules covering different application requirements with maximum interchangeability and modularity. To simplify selection and combination of the modules, Rexroth offers its MTpro planning software with Layout Designer. Users can design conveyors and even complex multi-conveyor and workstation systems, select components and output the results to CAD. Additionally, valuable time can be saved during commissioning. The clever drive solution provides a great degree of planning freedom, and the motor mounting position can be chosen on-site.
Conveyor chain introduces FDA-friendly dry conveying option for food packaging
Emerson’s Power Transmission Solutions business (emerson-ept.com) introduces its new System Plast NG™ Evo conveyor chain, featuring a proprietary, low-friction FDA-approved material for dry conveying in food packaging applications. System Plast NG Evo chain is an advanced, low-friction concept that can eliminate or greatly reduce wasteful water-and-soap lubrication typically used on food and beverage conveyors. It also reduces the costs and energy for water reclamation/treatment, and eliminates the wear paste buildup, noise pulsation and hygiene issues caused by mineral-oil-based dry lubricants. NG Evo chain is made of a proprietary thermoplastic resin that is suitable for high-speed and dry-running applications, where it lowers power consumption and noise, and increases the belt’s wear life. The companion Nolu®-S wear strips and guides enable reduced-lubrication or lubrication-free, high-speed conveyor operation. They are made of a unique resin with a solid lubricant that dramatically reduces the coefficient of friction. Nolu-S helps reduce noise, energy consumption, squeaking and chain pull/belt fatigue. The combination of NG Evo chain and Nolu-S wear strips can reduce a conveyor’s energy requirements by up to 30%, with service life as much as five times greater.
New sanitary belt conveyor debuts for bulk foods
Key Technology’s (key.net) new Sanitary Belt Conveyor for transporting bulk foods on processing and packaging distribution lines features a positive drive urethane (PDU) belt, stainless steel frame and components, open construction and other sanitary features. Key’s new belt conveyor eases the sanitation routine to reduce labor, speed changeover and increase uptime while improving equipment hygiene to maximize food safety. Key’s versatile Sanitary Belt Conveyor comes in “dog leg,” flat, and inclined configurations that can be mounted to the floor, on casters or suspended. Belts can be designed with a flat surface or a variety of shaped flights and/or flexible side walls to contain the product in pockets while elevating. The USDA-approved belting is thermoformed to meet the needs of the application, providing a seamless belt. Compared to fabric belts that can fray and promote bacteria buildup and plastic interlocking belts with crevices that can harbor bacteria, the smooth PDU belt avoids these problems. Compared to traditional bucket conveyors, which run on two chains that challenge sanitation, food processors can achieve the same rise in elevation with Key’s belt conveyor and improve sanitation.
Clean, accurate weigh-conveying solution launches
WeighBack from Heat and Control (heatandcontrol.com) is the cleaner alternative to weigh belts. This horizontal motion continuous weighing conveyor is designed for weigh-convey applications such as product delivery to seasoning applicators and inline weighing. WeighBack utilizes multiple load cells to precisely weigh dry and frozen foods at up to 40 feet per minute. Features include easy access to load cells, manual and auto-tare functions, displays of instant weight, product throughput, and cumulative data for each hour or shift, and construction for IP65 dust resistance and wet washdown. Proven reliable in hundreds of installations, its FastBack drive requires no preventive maintenance, can be reused with different pans when line layouts change, and is covered by a 5-year drive train warranty.
New conveyor system for metal detector line designed to maximize efficiency
A new conveyor system for metal detectors has been designed to improve reliability, decrease maintenance and reduce the total cost of ownership for processors of dairy, snacks, meat, poultry, seafood, bakery and prepared foods. The Thermo Scientific (thermofisher.com) Quickfit conveyor was engineered to integrate seamlessly with the Thermo Scientific APEX metal detectors. Each Quickfit unit is tested to eliminate problems food processors can experience when relying on third-party material handling, fabrication and integration with high-performance metal detectors. The modular design uses common components to reduce total ownership costs over the typical 10-plus year metal detector conveyor lifetime. This helps customers better utilize their capital and maintenance budgets.
Flexible screw conveyor system performs in extreme operating environments
National Bulk Equipment, Inc. (NBE, nbe-inc.com), recognizing a void in the marketplace for process-critical flexible screw conveyor systems, introduces its line of application-specific flexible screw conveyors and hoppers built for harsh applications and demanding environments. NBE flexible screw conveyor gear drives and motors are specified to ensure optimal output torque and motor horsepower; this combination brings maximum power and conveying efficiency to the application. The conveyor discharge head design eliminates the gaps, joints, bolts, and resulting material accumulation common with the bolt-together, sheet metal construction of commodity products. NBE flexible screw materials of construction and application-specific flight designs enable sustained conveying, at designed capacities, of even the most rugged materials and rigorous bulk densities.
New transfer devices smooth product transitions
Modular Conveyor Express (MCE, modularconveyor.com) is adding MicroPitch Transfer Modules to its line of modular conveyor systems. The new transfer devices replace fixed deadplates by providing smooth product transitions between conveyors and other equipment for a wide range of product handling applications. They are especially effective with unstable or irregularly shaped products that can get stuck when transferring between conveyor sections and other packaging machinery. MCE’s MicroPitch Transfers can be powered independently to provide precise speed control. In addition, kits are available that allow customers to power the transfers from adjacent conveyors using chains and sprockets. The MicroPitch Transfer can be easily incorporated into existing production lines, helping eliminate production bottlenecks and improving line efficiency with minimal investment. Manufactured in both mild steel and stainless steel, MicroPitch Transfers are available for use with a wide range of standard conveyor widths, from 3 ¼” to 24” wide. Designed with flexibility in mind, they allow for adjustable lengths to make installation quick and simple.