Slipstick Sanitary Horizontal Motion Conveyor
Posted on December 6th, 2016 by vapro
Triple/S Dynamics pioneered horizontal motion conveying in the early 1970’s. In 1987, a breakthrough occurred. When a major cereal manufacturer watched as his product glided down the length of the Slipstick pan, with little or no product degradation, he commented “It doesn’t break our flakes.” The T/SD engineer asked “was that a good thing?” “Broken flakes are our #1 customer complaint.” To say it was a light bulb moment would be an understatement.
Triple/S took the Slipstick to the food industry, as the first horizontal motion conveyor. Today, this conveyor and its horizontal motion is the food industry standard – recognized for its gentle, non-impact conveying motion and enviable record of low maintenance, high reliability and performance. Maintaining food safety and quality is the primary benefit of using the Slipstick in food processing applications. Unlike conventional vibrating conveyors that use a vertical pitching motion to propel material with repeated impacts which can cause the food to break or stick, the Slipstick’s single-drive mechanism provides a unique motion that glides the product down the pan, eliminating breakage problems for fragile foods such as chips, cookies, or cereal.
Flash-forward forty years, the Slipstick Conveyor is at work in almost every industry around the globe. Every other horizontal motion conveyor on the planet today is an “adapted” version of the original. And the Slipstick just keeps gliding along.
Form and Function
The key to horizontal motion conveying is the action of the conveyor upon the inertia of the conveyed materials. During the slow advance of the conveyor’s cycle, material is at a relative rest on the conveying surface. The quick return segment of the cycle gently slides the conveying surface under the material bed. Repeating this cycle 200 – 300 times per minute serves to smoothly convey the material up to forty feet per minute along the length of the conveying surface. This gliding of the product along the seamless one-piece formed conveyor pan discourages build-up of materials on the surface and typically scours the pan clean so there’s less time required between production cycles for cleaning. At the same time, the horizontal motion conveyor offers a much higher level of mechanical simplicity than either screw or drag conveyors. This mechanical simplicity offers a conveyor that requires significantly less maintenance. In addition, with no chains, screws, sprockets, rollers, idlers, or other moving parts located outside of the sealed and guarded drive unit, the horizontal motion conveyor is intrinsically safer for operating and maintenance personnel.
Because the Slipstick consists of a one-piece formed trough (or pan) section with suspension points spaced periodically along the conveyor pan length both the interior and exterior surfaces of the conveyor can be easily accessed for wipe down cleaning. Cleaning under the conveyor is easier because typically there are no support frames or springs. Based on its unique design that features a self-contained drive unit that has no outbound moving parts, the horizontal motion conveyor is virtually maintenance-free. And based on its relatively slow rotational speed, a typical drive unit will usually deliver more than ten years of life between service intervals, with only periodic lubrication required. Finally, since these conveyors utilize no springs or counterweights, they do not require the periodic tuning that is part of an ongoing maintenance program for conventional vibrating systems.
This horizontal motion conveyor design offers a number of advantages over conventional vibrating conveyors, screw conveyors, and drag conveyors often used in bulk handling applications. Compared to conventional vibrating conveyors, which are usually powered by springs and convey material through the impact on the conveyed material, the horizontal motion conveyor provides gentle transportation.
For materials that require transportation without compaction or segregation, the horizontal motion conveyor provides an ideal system. The “en masse” conveying method provided by the horizontal motion assures that mixtures will be delivered as originally blended, and fine particles will remain evenly distributed throughout the entire product bed – meaning retention of seasonings, coatings and breadings; prevention of oily fines build-up; and elimination of food product segregation.