There is little worse in an automated production line environment than a cessation of throughput
because of equipment failure, product spillage or product jam ups. The costs of the equipment repair,
product damage and clean up, and the lost employee time are marginal compared to the loss of
throughput. In high-volume manufacturing plants, interruption of throughput can exceed hundreds of
cases per hour not processed because of slowdowns, shutdowns and jam ups.
Corporations are increasingly viewing their product line operations from a performance versus cost
standpoint. Establishment and monitoring of key performance indicators for maintenance, safety and
system uptime within the production environment has taken on a whole new perspective with an eye
toward maximum output, optimum equipment utilization and system longevity.
This perspective is nowhere more critical than with the conveyor systems used to transport and index
products into the various production, filling and packaging automated systems along the line.
Minimizing conveyor line stoppages significantly decreases opportunities for product jam ups and
damage. By allowing the process to continue as close as possible to a steady state condition increases
line efficiency and throughput profitability.
Utilizing the most optimum conveyor system for an application is pivotal for the speed of throughput
and smooth performance of the line. Conveyors that are designed for use in industrial environments,
for example, may not be well suited for use in food processing, completely aside from wipe-down, washdown
and sanitation requirements. Yet this is frequently the reason why food processors experience
back-ups and jamming on their conveyors resulting in product spillage, damage and waste, and why
products get marred by making contact with conveyor side rails.
When shrink wrapping or flow wrapping goes awry, which many end-of-line packaging systems
experience, the culprit is too often that the conveyors are not designed to adequately stage the
products for precise registration for infeed. The same can be said for labeling, and particularly date
stamping, where the products may have to be rotated on the conveyor to a precise location to be
Equally important is maintaining the integrity of the products being conveyed. Whatever the product
and process may be – pastries or pizzas with delicate toppings being moved through a filling line, glass
pharmaceutical syringes being staged for feeding into a shrink wrapper, solar panels being conveyed for
end-of-line packing, or pages of a book being feed into a collator for binding – the need for transporting
finished products carefully from manufacturing through wrapping, labeling, packaging and cartoning
with high throughput and near-zero product damage is of critical importance. But too many
manufacturers are plagued with conveying equipment that is inadequate for moving delicate products
through these processes.
No matter how efficient the fillers, wrappers, labelers and cartoners may be, if the line does not use
conveyors specifically designed for the application then the product quality, speed of throughput and
cost-efficiency of the entire production and packaging line will be compromised