Add Simple Automation with Retractable Conveyors

, Add Simple Automation with Retractable Conveyors


A retractable conveyor, or retracting tail, is a conveyor frame with the ability to retract or extend, typically on slides or rails. The capability to retract, either manually or pneumatically, can improve system flexibility by adding functionality into your conveyor.

There are a variety of applications for retractable conveyor tails. Some of the major uses include:

  • , Add Simple Automation with Retractable ConveyorsReject for contaminated or rejected products
  • Depositing products onto another conveyor or tray. This can be done in a precise, exact layout or simply dropping product.
  • Product Routing into multiple lines.
  • Walk-Through applications where you need quick and easy access to the other side of the line or access to equipment.

Depending on your application, the retracting function can happen infrequently with low accuracy or it can reoccur every few seconds with precision. Dorner also has options available for both industrial and sanitary environments.


High Speed Retractable Tail

In the below application, a customer needed to stack sheets of thin extruded food product. Once the product reaches the end of the retractable conveyor, a sensor triggers the tail to retract 36″ in only 0.6 seconds, allowing the product to fall on a cart under the retracting tail.

A robot then places a plastic sheet on top of the product to separate the layers. Once the robot is out of the way, the tail extends back in 0.6 seconds to wait for the next product.


The above process is repeated every 3 seconds to stack the product. This conveyor has greatly increased the efficiency of this operation as the customer was previously stacking the product manually.

See more photos and videos of retractable conveyors.