It is hard to place value on automated systems just because they are based on an opportunity cost.
When you need an estimate for the value of an box indexing system, you need to know things like the box throughput that your system handles and the number of employees that it takes to do the spacing of your products.
Indexers act similarly to a set of photo eyes acting as a traffic cop.
Where the traffic cop setup can stop an in-feeding line to prevent product collision, an indexer can momentarily stop or delay a package to eliminate crowding on the line.
The difference is that using an indexer allows the conveyors to continue moving, which is of great importance for some operations.
The indexer works by dropping a portion of conveyor down slightly so that the package stops. The conveyor stays lowered until the system receives a signal that lets it know when the preceding product is far enough away.
When that signal comes in, the conveyor pops back up and the box continues onto the next conveyor. The conveyor then drops again to stop the next box if spacing is too close.
There are all many components that make this system work right. To avoid friction that can cause conveyor damage, the indexer uses a belt with embedded rollers that moves it forward when unhindered, but allows the conveyor to move freely beneath when the box is stopped.
You can also use a speed-up roller after the indexer to “grab” the boxes with a high friction surface and propel them ahead of the box behind them.
The fact that the indexer can perform such a repetitive motion with machine precision allows you to eliminate a highly menial labor task, increasing both your income and efficiency at the same time.