Merging product flow with Converging Conveyors

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Apr 2, 2014

Time and space are important factors when bringing together lines of product flow to one main operational conveyor. Of course, these are aspects to efficiency in any operation, but especially when it comes to manipulating product in one coordinated line of flow for additional action. For example, products may need to be positioned and subsequently labeled after coming from different production lines.  Sometimes the product lines may consist of different sizes of packages. When this situation exists, it is referred to as chaotic packaging flow, and requires system flexibility to adjust to the requirements.

converging conveyor

Dual Indexers feeding a merging conveyor

Regardless of chaotic or consistent packaging operations, as things move along and lines are merged, various types of indexer methods may be employed to preclude traffic jams or collisions which could result in product damage or system down time. Neither of which is acceptable for efficient operations.  Indexers are designed to momentarily interrupt movement on one conveyor to provide for smooth transitions, separation, and commingling of product lines.

indexing conveyor

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

Some indexing or singulation is sometimes accomplished by multiple side-by side belts which are independently driven. They may even operate at different speeds due to packaging size or flow requirements. The start and stop operations often times are the result of timing relays or activated by photo cells as product  passes a light beam activation point. In some cases a momentary pop up abutment may be employed to accomplish needed spacing. Another option for moving product from one belt to another is an air activated thrust or divert arm which again may be actuated according to photo cell and respective product position. Subsequently, product is merged or moved from one location to another. Adjustable guides are often utilized in product positioning as well.

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