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Drag conveyors, pneumatic conveyors, portable conveyors: Learn about the pros and cons of each and how to pick what you need for your packaging operation.


In short, conveyors move something from one place to another. That something can be a product, a package or a packaged product.

Conveyors are essential in transporting products and material from one packaging machine or operation to another. Yet they are more than a connection between machines; they can be functionally useful to optimize not only inter-machine performance, but collectively that of the entire line. When components like photoelectric sensors and variable speed drives are used, conveyors can be transformed into efficient and intelligent systems.

Conveyors come in all sizes, shapes and styles; depending on the task, conveyors can be defined as: accumulation, air, bucket, chain, gravity flow, incline, infeed, mass flow, modular, outfeed, roller, sanitary, screw, singulating, spiral, transfer, vibratory, washdown…the list captures much of the alphabet.

Conveyor selection is an undertaking that requires careful thought and planning because the right conveyor can make things flow smoothly while the wrong one can mess things up by contributing to product damage and other avoidable problems.

Conveyors are a market on the move: a 2014 report pegs the value of the Conveyor Systems Market at more than $6bn by 2018. While the report covers all markets, it identifies the food and beverage segment as the second largest market behind retail. The report notes that, while traditional conveyor systems account for a high market share, going forward overhead and pallet conveyor systems will see growth due to increasingly limited floor space.

For further information, you can read these recent examples of conveyor applications:


New positioning technology eases changeovers on high-speed conveyor lines

This beverage distributor selected a low-profile conveyor. With pallets traveling just 4 inches above the floor, this meant pallet jacks did not have to negotiate space-hogging ramps to place or remove pallets on or from the conveyor.

This sophisticated conveying system merges more than 100 products per minute from two lines into a single line to effectively double the product/minute production rate to feed an automated case packer.

A pneumatic conveyor saved this premium powdered egg manufacturer $150,000 yearly after it installed one conveying system and then added five more.