Common Indexer Conveyor Problems & Solutions

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Oct 10, 2013

An indexing conveyor system is designed to keep product properly spaced so that labeling units, conveyor scales, product inspection stations, and even pack-off areas do not get jammed or overwhelmed.

When you find your indexing system failing to do its job, here are three common failure points and possible solutions.

indexing conveyor

Dual Indexers that feed product onto a merging conveyor

Slow Pop Up

Many indexing conveyor systems stop the forward progress of the product by suddenly dropping down, sending the product into a rigid abutment. When it is time for the product to resume its travel, the conveyor must pop up quickly enough for the product to take its proper place in the production line. When the pop-up stop is slow and lethargic, that product could miss its opening and the items behind that product could pile up as well.


Usually when the pop up is slow, it is due to insufficient air pressure in the line. Check the manual for the recommended amount of air pressure and make sure the line is getting an amount that is within range.

Failure To Stop Product

An indexing system must sense when a product is within range and that there is a need to interrupt its forward progress. Occasionally this operational point can fail and products proceed unhindered.


This problem is usually a photo eye alignment issue. It is easy for photo eyes to get bumped in the hustle and bustle of daily work activities. A small misalignment may not be obvious to the naked eye, but it could be enough to prevent the indexing system from detecting the presence of a product.

indexing conveyor

Two indexers that transfer product onto a merging conveyor for single file processing

Timing Errors

Sometimes the indexing systems drop down too early and sometimes it pops back up too late. When these symptoms are present it is almost always due to timing errors in the system controller.


This can be the most difficult area for most plant maintenance people to fix because timing errors usual reside in the programming. Unless you are reasonably certain that you can successfully tweak the program, chances are this is one error where a call to our service department is your best option.

Whether you need to replace an old, failing indexing system or build one for a whole new line, we’ve got the experience and knowledge to design it right and make sure it works as intended!

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