This article originally appeared in Food Manufacturing's May/June 2015 print edition.
The Food Manufacturing Brainstorm features industry experts sharing their perspectives on issues critical to the overall food industry marketplace.
In the last part of this five-part series, we ask: What are the latest trends in conveying related to the food industry?
Stacy Johnson, Marketing Manager, Dorner Manufacturing, answered:
Generally speaking when it comes to food production, no two applications are alike. There’s always going to be differences, no matter how subtle, that will affect the supporting equipment, such as conveyors. And because of that, a trend we’re seeing more of in the food industry is the push toward custom conveying solutions. Food manufacturers are constantly pushing the envelope when it comes to production and packaging, and, as such, conveyor suppliers need to respond and provide them with equipment and technology that meets their goals. As their applications become more complex, we have to be ready to recommend and design conveyor systems that match that level of complexity. Conveyors today can do so much more than in years past. The days of moving product from Point A to Point B are long gone. A well-designed conveyor system can twist, turn, position and orientate a product to best satisfy a customer’s application.
We have many technologies available to us in designing conveyor systems for the food industry. For product flow conveyor systems, we can use diverters and gates, pushers and lane guiding to help control the continuous flow of products through the line. Product positioning when stopping, on the other hand, is often a necessity for processes such as inspection, or feeding into other production or packaging equipment. Servo drives, timing belts and shaft encoders are perfect for product position. These are just some of the techniques and methods we deploy in our conveyor systems.