Transferring Products Across a Gap? Why the Simplest Solution Is the Best

Aug 26, 2019 | Equipment

You’ve heard this story before:

During the space race of the 1960s, NASA realized that regular pens, which rely on gravity, don’t work in space. So, the agency spent millions of dollars to develop a pressurized pen that astronauts could use in low-gravity environments.

The Russians used a pencil.

It isn’t true — NASA astronauts used pencils, too (albeit very expensive ones) — but it illustrates very well our human tendency to overcomplicate things.

We won’t go full Occam’s Razor on you — many problems do, in fact, require complex solutions. But in our decades of helping clients maximize their throughput, we’ve found that the simplest solutions often make the biggest difference.

This idea is certainly true when it comes to transferring products from one conveyor to another, to keep them running down the line.

For example, say you need to print a date code on the bottom of a pop bottle or depuck a hairspray can. In both of these cases, you would need to transfer the product (bottle or can) from one conveyor to a piece of midstream equipment (the printer or depucker), and then to another conveyor.

There are multiple ways to make these transfers without having to shut down, or even slow down your line. But the simplest is using a gap transporter.

Gap transporters do exactly what their name suggests — they transport products across a gap. They’re commonly used in the food and beverage and personal care industries, typically for moving products to a printer (e.g., to print a date code or UPC) and then onto a different conveyor. They can also be used for depucking, elevating, spacing, and label inspecting, as well as to move products across large conveyor transfer plates.

Here’s what makes Garvey’s gap transporter the simplest and most effective solution on the market:

  • It’s a stand-alone piece of equipment and a plug and play solution. If you have two conveyors, just move the gap transporter into place, plug it in, and turn it on.
  • It has its own motor and its own fully supported frame.
  • It’s fully adjustable — for height, width, and angle. This is especially useful when one conveyor is higher than the other.

An article in McKinsey & Company’s 2017 publication The Great Re-Make: Manufacturing for Modern Times proposes three criteria for making decisions about automation:

  1. Automation strategy must align with business and operations strategy — meaning it must help companies achieve key objectives.
  2. Automation programs must start with a clear articulation of the problem — meaning it should be clear exactly what improvements automation can offer.
  3. Automation must show a clear return on investment — meaning don’t  “overspecify, overcomplicate, or overspend.”

Garvey’s gap transporter fits all of these criteria — it helps companies achieve the objective of increasing throughput, it improves operations by keeping lines running, and it’s less complicated (and less expensive) than other available solutions.

Want to learn more? Visit our Gap Transporter page or contact us with any questions or to purchase the equipment for your production line.