A can conveyor is a type of conveyor belt that specializes in carrying cans, primarily those used to hold beverages. Most can conveyor belts are magnetic to ensure the metal cans stick to the belt, so they do not fall off during transportation. Unlike other conveyor belts, which may have a few bends, this conveyor typically has many complex turns and twists, allowing the cans to reach every part of the manufacturing plant. The cans must be sterilized before use, so the conveyor must be able to withstand heat and water, otherwise the sterilization process may damage the conveyor belt. Compared to other conveyor belts, this one is very thin and will typically only fit one can at a time.
The shape and weight of empty cans make it easy for them to fall off a conveyor belt. To keep this from happening, a can conveyor is typically magnetized, so the cans stick to the belt. The magnetic force is usually weak, and cans may be removed with minimal force. If there is an incline or elevation in the conveyor, then the magnetic force is increased to keep the cans in place.
The can conveyor is known for having an unusual number of twists and turns when compared to other conveyors. One reason for this is that cans must change orientation to be filled, to be sanitized and to reach higher or lower places. This means the conveyor must be made to exact standards; otherwise, cans may easily get stuck during a twist or turn, which can hurt production time.
Cans are expected to be sanitized before use, to ensure consumers do not catch any diseases or bacteria from the cans. This operation is usually simple, but it requires that the can conveyor be resistant to heat and water. If not, then the conveyor may melt or warp from heat, or it may rust from water, which would severely lower its longevity.
During most of the conveyor cycle, the can conveyor is only wide enough to hold one can, with many cans preceding it and following it. This streamlines production, makes it easier to organize the cans and keeps them from bumping into one another. Some can conveyors may widen at the end, when the cans are ready to be packed. If this is true, filled cans are usually grouped into packs of six, 12 or 24, so they can be boxed by workers.