Engineered Solutions

Bottomless Conveyors

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    Flexible Packaging - Pinch Transfer

Bottomless conveyors provide a simple solution for accessing the underside of a product for a range of applications. These applications include inspection, printing, labeling and edge sealing.

Sometimes referred to as side gripping conveyors, bottomless conveyors are compatible with boxes and flexible pouches or packages. These conveyors are also called horizontal conveyors, or horizontal mounted conveyors, as they are mounted horizontally.

With bottomless conveyors, two conveyors—either sold with an adjustable option for a variety of product sizes or preset—are mounted on the edge. If using a conveyor with an adjustable option, once the conveyors are adjusted to the proper width, products are “locked” in place and can transfer to the next phase of your production line.

Bottomless conveyors can also be used in line over another conveyor to pace product.

How Do Bottomless Conveyors Work?

Dorner has created several solutions using bottomless conveyors to help our customers in a range of industries solve problems connected to the following:
  • Bottles
  • Boxes for adding labels or inspection
  • Product inspection
  • Product pacing
  • Box sealing
  • Inkjet coding for printers

Let’s explore these applications and how bottomless conveyors play a role in them.

Bottling Operations

One Dorner customer faced challenges in consistently sealing wine bottles its facility produced. This customer needed to evenly apply heat completely around the seal at the top of the bottle.

The Dorner team made use of a 2200 Series conveyor along with a mainline chain conveyor, with the 2200 Series conveyor mounted on its side and running parallel with the main line conveyor.

A high-friction Dorner Type 64 belt enabled the conveyor to spin the bottle a complete revolution as it moves through a heat tunnel. This full spin enables heat to be evenly applied around the whole seal.

Boxes for Adding Labels

Businesses needing to add labels to boxes or inspect boxes turn to Dorner and its bottomless conveyors to create ease and speed with these critical processes. Boxes can move along the line, with labels added to the tops and bottoms of boxes.

Product Inspection

Bottomless conveyors are beneficial during the product inspection process, with inspection cameras able to check for correct labeling, for example, on the bottom of bottles, containers, boxes and other product.
To improve your facility’s product inspection, the Dorner team can easily attach cameras and other equipment to your conveyors. Once the product inspection process is complete, product can drop back onto a horizontal conveyor.

Box Sealing

Box sealing is a function that is made easy when bottomless conveyors are utilized in a facility. Boxes can be conveyed with sealing tape applied to the tops and bottoms of boxes, helping ensure the production line moves along at an efficient rate.

Inkjet and Laser Printer Coding for Printers

Bottomless conveyors are ideal when businesses need to apply inkjet or laser printer coding on the underside of bottlers or containers, for example. Oftentimes, this coding involves product freshness dates, in the case of food products, beverages and pharmaceutical drugs.

Product Pacing

Dorner’s bottomless conveyors may be used with a Clamping Module on our FlexMove® conveyor systems to pace product as part of accumulating applications. The Clamping Module works well with totes, boxes, bottles and containers that are round, square or rectangular in shape.

As products pass through the Clamping Module, pre-programmed photo sensors trigger a pneumatic-clamping actuator mounted on each of the conveyor’s sides. The Clamping Module produces a gap of about a single product length. With this kind of setup, product must be able to withstand minimal back pressure and squeezing force.

Dorner’s 2200 Belted Conveyors are also used to pace product.

Additionally, our AquaGard 7200 Conveyors are used as part of a similar application: product stablization. When packaging product into boxes, it’s often critical to ensure the box is in the needed position, especially when a robot is taking care of packing. Our AquaGard 7100 Series sanitary conveyors are built with two conveyors on top that act as “squeezers” for various box sizes, helping ensure boxes are properly positioned before being filled.

The 7100 Series conveyors run alongside another conveyor that moves product, and a picking robot places product into the box as it travels down the line. This squeezing effect keeps the box in place as it travels along, and the robot can be certain of the box’s precise location.

The two “squeezing” conveyors are part of Dorner’s AquaGard 7200 Conveyor Series, comprising our low-profile sanitary conveyors.

Bottomless Conveyors Features and Benefits

Bottomless conveyors offer businesses the following features and benefits:
  • Holds product firmly, without damaging it, for inspection, printing or labeling.
  • Provides easy inspection access to the bottom and top of the product.
  • Manual and motorized adjustment options are available for flexibility in production.

Other Names for Bottomless Conveyors

In addition to bottle grip conveyors, bottomless conveyors are known by a few other names: gap transfer conveyors, hugger belt conveyors, and side belt conveyors.

Gap Transfer Conveyor

A gap transfer conveyor transfers either filled or empty containers from one conveyor to another. This kind of bottomless conveyor achieves this movement by gripping the container’s sides during the transfer process.

Hugger Belt Conveyor

A hugger belt conveyor controls the transfer and prevents tipping of a container as a lot or date code, for example, is applied to the bottom of a bottle or container. The hugger belt holds product from the sides while keeping the bottom exposed for application.

Side Belt Conveyor

Side belt conveyors, also referred to as side grip conveyors, utilize parallel belts that grip product securely by the sides, enabling product to be conveyed while providing access to tops and bottoms. Product is held firmly in place during transfer across steep inclines. Industries such as the packaged-food and pharmaceutical industries, among many others, have benefited from these solutions.