Orientation / Starwheels / Upenders / Inverters
PACKAGING Solutionsbreadcrumb separatorOrientation: Inverters / Upenders / Starwheels

Product Orientation Paves the Way

Orientation table turns plastic frozen dinner trays a quarter turn

Our orientation tables are one way to move product into your preferred packaging smoothly. Upenders come in a variety of chain widths.  Products can range from cartons, cases, pouches, bags, wrapped trays, bundles, cans, bottles and more.

Multi-Conveyor designs for simple, but effective orientation devices. Elimination of "shingled" products means customers can control the flow and packaging of products across varying applications. From infeed to oriented outfeed, our tables and systems handle transition of products and parts.

Inverters and starwheels are used for more gentle applications when the product must upturn or downturn at angles up to a full 180° - and back again (in some cases). A recently built hot-fill inversion conveyor, with cocked or missing cap reject, allowed the perfect timing for cooling for a renowned produce manufacturer, automating their previously manual process.  Very cool - literally!. 

Upenders & Orientors

Upenders and inverters are used to reorient or assist packages in the "stand-up" or "lay down" position and come in various designs. This innovate approach utilized a separate timing belt that can be installed alongside an existing or new conveyor.

The Helix Starwheel Upender unitUpender, also known as a "twist" style conveyor, is typically used to change product orientation by either 90 or 180 degrees, either clockwise or counter-clockwise, to facilitate ink-jet printing, labeling, case packing or even hand pack operations. Constructed with two (2) Table Top chains set at 90 degrees to each other, products enter the system supported on the bottom chain.  As they are transported, the two (2) chains are simultaneously twisted causing the product to rotate. Helix upenders are also used for hand pack operations to rotate the product going into a secondary package, or to rotate the case so the product can be more easily inserted inside the case. These units readily accept multiple size products without the need for changeover.

An Arm style Upender is an angled "arm" that is mounted alongside the main transport conveyor. The product is guided to the side of the conveyor which engages the Upender Arm, moving the product up the arm, thus changing its orientation by 90 degrees. Matching speeds of the Arm Upender style conveyors are critical for smooth product transitions.  The main transport conveyor must maintain product speeds as they enter the Arm for proper product manipulation.  In some cases, the customer requires the arm easily be disengaged to allow products to proceed down the line without orientation when necessary.

Features include:Arm Upender

  • Independent VFD capable moto
  • Minimal adjustments (infeed and discharge guide rails only)
  • Can be designed around existing or new conveyor, your preference
  • Custom configurations for restricted layouts
  • Requires minimal maintenance

Available options:

  • Motor disconnects
  • Complete controls including the VFD drives
  • Stainless steel or mild steel construction
  • Necessary operator guarding


Starwheel unit

Starwheel conveyor configurations are used when product reorientation is required in-line by using either back-pressure or logic driven engineering. Back-pressure conveyors feed the wheels that drive product into a load position, creating an upward force that opens the wheel to the next position. As the wheels move to the unload position, the starwheel design repositions the product out of the way onto a dead plate configured to allow for star fit and settling of your container without manual handling, providing stability and accurate alignment.

Click here for a video of a starwheel conveyor.

Higher speed applications may require a logic-driven model where the in feed conveyor has limitations. In this scenario, sensors are required to signal the starwheel drive motor to sequence as minimum/maximum sensors are satisfied and require a downstream back-up eye.

Close up view of Star wheels flipping gears

Typically made of UHMW composite material, starwheel construction applications may require multiple stars. When operating multiple sizes, adjustable or change parts may be incorporated.

Running back-pressure or logic driven starwheels are designed for quick changeover saving time and manpower in comparison to traditional maintenance, also reducing safety concerns.

Multi-Conveyor designs both interchangeable and removable starwheel conveyors specific to your application, line speed and product requirements.

For information on GRIPPER style conveyors, click here!