sanitary conveyor design

7 Design Features You Need to Have on a Sanitary Conveyor


Sanitary conveyor design is a huge concern for most food processing companies — especially when it comes to conveyors that move unpackaged product from one workstation to the next.

Ensuring the conveyor purchased is designed to eliminate bacteria harboring points, is easy to clean, and reduces the risk of product contamination reduces the risk of a costly product recall and keeps customers safe.

Sanitary Conveyor Design Features

But how do you know if a sanitary conveyor really is sanitary? We put together a list of the top 7 features that need to be included on a conveyor in order for it to be considered sanitary.

When purchasing a food processing conveyor, make sure it includes these 7 sanitary design features.Click To Tweet

tig welds

TIG Welds

TIG welds are required on all food processing equipment as they prevent bacteria from harboring in weldment areas.

TIG welding has a tighter bead, is more controllable, and results in a smaller weld. Bulkier welds can produce nooks, crannies, and fractures where bacteria can grow and fester during use and pose a food safety issue.

When sanitation is a concern, the goal is to create welds that are smooth — without any buildup, undercuts, burrs, nooks, crannies, or fractures.

stand offs

Stand-Offs and Spacers

Bacteria loves to hide where metal rests on metal and is not welded together — components like motors, gearboxes, and the like.

To prevent bacteria growth, sanitary conveyors should include UHMW stand-offs and spacers to prevent metal-on-metal contact between the various components and framework of the conveyor.

pivoting carryways

Pivoting Captured Carryways

Belt conveyors require carryways to ensure the belt operates correctly, but when carryways are permanently captured to the frame, they can create pockets of bacteria growth.

Some manufacturers opt for removable carryways to allow for easy cleaning, but that poses a maintenance issue. Any time a component part can be completely removed is an opportunity for it to get lost or broken.

Pivoting captured carryways solve both problems: the carryway is permanently fixed on one end to ensure proper placement and that it doesn’t get misplaced or lost. The pivoting feature allows you to easily lift the carry for cleaning and maintenance.

toolless belt removal

Tool-less Belt Removal

Bacteria can easily harbor in the area under the conveyor belt, making it a prime area that needs to be regularly cleaned — but on most conveyors can prove to be a long and difficult process.

The ability to quickly and easily remove the conveyor belt, without the need for special tools or parts that are easily misplaced or lost, will aide in the cleaning process and give you piece of mind that your cleaning crew is cleaning under the belt.

Look for a conveyor that offers a tool-less belt removal system.


Minimized Fastener Use

Any form of non-welded fastener, such as bolts, create a metal-on-metal surface where bacteria can harbor.

While there are some instances where fasteners are unavoidable, especially in the case of options that need to be changed out, you should always look for a conveyor that uses minimal fasteners to reduce the risk of bacteria. The less metal-on-metal contact, the better.

channel frame

Under Bent Channel Frame

Flat spots in the frame of any conveyor provide a space for water and product to sit, which in turn gives bacteria a place to harbor. It’s why AMI Sanitary Design Requirements recommend little to no horizontal or flat surfaces.

Channel frame that is under bent eliminates flat spots in the conveyor framework so no water or product is able to pool in one place and harbor bacteria.

angle frame

Angle Frame

Tube frame gives bacteria harboring points as well as dark spaces to grow quickly — and is incredibly hard to clean correctly to kill all bacteria.

Always look for a conveyor with open architecture on the framework. It eliminates bacteria harboring points and makes the cleaning process easier and more efficient.

Investing in Sanitary Design

Sanitary design is an investment in the future of your company and the safety of your product — and no place is more important for sanitary design than the conveyors in your facility.

The design features above should be considered non-negotiable when it comes to equipping your facility with a sanitary conveyor system, both for your bottom line and the safety of your customers.

In order to help you, we developed a check list complete with pictures you can use the next time you purchase a conveyor to ensure it meets all sanitary design requirements.

Download the Checklist

small conveyors

2 Small Conveyors that Fit Perfectly in Tight Spaces

When you have a small processing space, finding equipment that can fit and still do what you need done while adhering to safety regulations can be a challenge.

Low ceilings can prevent you from using crossovers for employee movement. Small rooms can limit the amount of conveying space you can utilize. Tight corners can make it difficult to fit a typical radius conveyor that can integrate with your equipment.

If you want to use the space and don’t have the money for a costly expansion, there isn’t much you can do. Until now.

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belt conveyor

10 Ways to Keep Your Belt Conveyor in Good Shape

Belt conveyors are one of the most used pieces of equipment in a food processing plant, conveying everything from heavy product boxes to individual potato chips for frying. These versatile machines are relatively simple and, when purchased from a quality manufacturer, are pretty reliable.

No conveyor, though, is immune from problems. Belt slippage, motor burnout, and broken components all can occur from regular wear and tear, or can happen when used incorrectly.

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auger conveyors

6 Tips for Safely Operating an Auger Conveyor

Auger conveyors are a key component in most processing operations. These pieces of equipment are able to convey bulk materials — everything from large chunks of product down to sub-micron powders — efficiently and effectively, while offering versatility in set up and operating layout. The uses are practically endless across the food processing industry, making them indispensable to an efficient processing operation.

However, auger conveyors, like any food processing equipment, can pose a safety hazard to your employees if not used properly.

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carts and racks

7 Easy Ways to Safely Use Carts and Racks

Carts and racks are a vital part of any processing operation. Moving product into and out of ovens and smokehouses, transporting product from one work area to another, allowing product to cool — all necessary in food processing — make carts and racks indispensable to an efficient operation.

However, when used improperly, carts and racks can pose a safety hazard to your employees.

Over loading a cart, placing hands in the wrong places, not properly balancing the cart load can all lead to both musculoskeletal disorders and immediate injury.

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food conveyor

6 Options You Should Look For in a Food Conveyor

Conveyors play a key role in any food processing plant. The right food conveyor system can streamline your processing or packaging operation, reduce operating costs, increase the efficiency of your operation, and increase your product yield.

But finding the right food conveyor system – the one that will increase product yield, decrease operating costs, and fit seamlessly with your current equipment – is not an easy task. Do a quick Google search for food conveyor and you’ll find thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of results. How are you supposed to narrow down those results to find the perfect food conveyor system for your plant?

Simple. Look for these six options when purchasing a food conveyor system:

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6 Reasons to Invest in a Custom Designed Conveyor

Do a quick Google search for food conveyor, and you’ll find thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of results – most of which are stock conveyors. The manufacturer has specific sizes, options, and styles of conveyors they build, and spend big bucks convincing you to buy what they have in stock.

It’s a great business model for them. Not so much for you.

They have a few styles of conveyors they pump out in mass, only have to train their employees to build a few versions, offer select few options, and try to convince you to buy them, whether it fits your specific application or not.

There is a better way.

Custom designed conveyor systems are all about you and your specific application needs. You can get exactly what you need, designed to meet your specific goals, and not have to work around stock equipment that doesn’t quite fit.

Here are 6 reasons why purchasing custom designed conveyor systems are the better choice:

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food conveyor

8 Tips to Buying a Food Conveyor

Conveyors play a key role in any food processing plant. The right food conveyor system will streamline your processing or packaging operations, reduce the required amount of workers, reduce operating costs, and increase the efficiency and output of your product.

But how do you make sure you purchase the right conveyor system? Here are a few things to look for in a food  conveyor:

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conveyor safety

Conveyor Safety: The Basics

As with any equipment found in your plant, conveyors pose a safety concern for your employees. Improper usage, poor training, and lack of safety procedures contribute to employee injuries around conveying systems.

The Conveyor Equipment Manufacturers Association (CEMA) has established 12 safety standards for bulk handling conveyors. Following these standards should be the starting point for your conveyor safety training.

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conveyor maintenance

6 Tips for Proper Conveyor Maintenance

Conveyor systems are the backbone of any processing operation – moving product along the processing line from one workstation to the next. When working correctly, your conveyor system keeps your line moving efficiently. But when a conveyor slows down, or breaks down completely, the whole line comes to a screeching halt – and costs you time, resources, and ultimately, money.

Avoiding a conveyor slow down or break down is easy. Follow these easy conveyor maintenance tips to keep your system running at peak efficiency for years to come:

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