Blake Svejkovsky, Product Handling Systems Manager,
Heat and Control, Inc.
Look for the latest technology in safe conveyors that are sanitation-friendly, reduce cross contamination,
maintain product quality, facilitate proportional product feeding, and reduce costs for operation and maintenance. In response to customers’ needs for gentler, more responsive conveyor systems, equipment manufacturers are developing new designs that move product quickly, cause less damage, and provide an operator-friendly workplace.
Horizontal motion: For many foods, particularly fragile snacks and coated products, horizontal motion has
become the conveyor of choice over vibratory models. Although better suited for grading, sizing, spreading, and moving sticky foods, the bouncing motion of vibratory conveyors causes breakage and stress fractures, and
shakes seasonings and coatings off foods. Horizontal motion eliminates these problems by sliding product in the conveyor pan. This prevents build-ups of oil and seasonings in the conveyor pan and the frequent downtime needed for
cleaning. Horizontal motion maintains pre-mixed blends. Some models can even convey up slight inclines. Horizontal
motion also transmits less vibration, allowing the use of less structurally complex support platforms. Even running with
product, horizontal motion conveyors operate far quieter than vibratory models, usually in the low 70 dB range.
Long runs for less breakage: The latest horizontal motion conveyors can handle heavier pans for runs up to 100 feet
long using a single drive. The lack of transfer points helps reduce product breakage. Users also benefit from lower
equipment purchase and maintenance costs since one drive can cover distances the previously required three or more.
Real-time full proportional product delivery: Rotary product distribution gates and direct communication between
weighers/packaging machines and conveyor systems now enable on incoming supply of product to be diverted to multiple locations with no starvation of downstream equipment. When used to feed multiple seasoning applicators, these
conveyor systems allow different flavors to be applied simultaneously. Less warehousing, faster order fulfillment, and
longer, more efficient machine run times are a few of the benefits.
The latest trends with conveyors in the food processing industry revolve around food safety and
saving processors' money. One of the quickest ways to save money is with equipment that has been
designed in a way that allows it to be efficiently and effectively cleaned to meet strict sanitation and
hygiene requirements, while using minimal resources and time.
The elimination of nooks and crannies — those places where water can collect and bacteria can
Stacy Johnson, Marketing Manager, Dorner Manufacturing
harbor — is one way to reduce cleaning time and resources. The elimination of nooks and crannies
are important on the frame of the conveyor, but also with the belting. One-hundred percent closed
surface belting offers a thermoplastic structure that eliminates bacterial harborage, facilitates effec-
tive cleaning, and enables achievement of zero-level microorganism counts, all while reducing belt cleaning time by up
to seventy-five percent. In addition to a conveyor system that doesn’t include bacterial catch-points, newer conveyor
technology offers straightforward designs which are intuitively simple to disassemble and reassemble. The operation of
assembly and disassembly occur without the use of tools. The removable components are large enough as not to get
misplaced or dropped and possibly lost inside other equipment or food product.
Generally speaking when it comes to food production, no two applications are alike. There’s always
going to be differences, no matter how subtle, that will affect the supporting equipment, such as convey-
ors. And because of that, a trend we’re seeing more of in the food industry is the push toward custom
conveying solutions. Food manufacturers are constantly pushing the envelope when it comes to produc-
tion and packaging, and, as such, conveyor suppliers need to respond and provide them with equipment
and technology that meets their goals. As their applications become more complex, we have to be ready
to recommend and design conveyor systems that match that level of complexity. Conveyors today can
do so much more than in years past. The days of moving product from Point A to Point B are long gone. A
We have many technologies available to us in designing conveyor systems for the food industry. For product flow
conveyor systems, we can use diverters and gates, pushers and lane guiding to help control the continuous flow of prod-
ucts through the line. Product positioning when stopping, on the other hand, is often a necessity for processes such as
inspection, or feeding into other production or packaging equipment. Servo drives, timing belts and shaft encoders are
perfect for product position. These are just some of the techniques and methods we deploy in our conveyor systems.