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Conveyor tables can be broken down into two general categories: powered tables and unpowered tables, sometimes known as gravity conveyors. A powered conveyor may feature an electric motor or even a gasoline-powered motor to turn a conveyor belt, while unpowered conveyor tables feature rollers or bearings on which objects can be pushed along. Most tables are portable and can be folded up easily for storage or transport, though some are designed for use in one place. Powered conveyors are likely to be heavier and bulkier, and they are therefore suited more for a permanent location rather than for regular transport.
Unpowered conveyor tables will feature either a series of metal rollers on which items can be propelled, or a pattern of ball bearings that allow movement in more than one direction. Conveyor tables with metal rollers, or cylinders, are usually directional, which means items can be propelled in one direction or the other, but not in many directions. The tables that feature ball bearings are known as ball transfer tables, and items can be propelled in any direction on them. The legs of these tables are often adjustable for height, and the frame can be made from steel or aluminum. Aluminum is a much lighter metal, making the table easier to transport and store, but steel tends to be more durable and stronger, which means it will have a higher weight capacity than aluminum.
Some food processing applications will call for powered conveyor tables. Restaurants will often use such tables to heat food or cook items quickly; food can be placed on a wire mesh conveyor belt that runs through an oven, thereby heating the food by the time it reaches the far end of the conveyor. This system may be mounted on its own frame or table, or it can be mounted on a separate table that is strong enough to support the bulk of the machine.
Some conveyor tables can be extended like an accordion so a user can adjust the overall length of the conveyor system. These tables are also often able to be pulled in one direction or another, creating a curve in the conveyor track. This is useful in a variety of settings, but very often such systems are used in shipping facilities or warehouses to help make the process of loading or unloading delivery trucks much easier. These conveyors are usually unpowered, but they can be fed by powered conveyors.
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