With a programmable automatic machine, the basket is manually placed into and removed from the machine alternatively via the front door or, in the case of pass through dishwashers, via a table feeder. With these machine types the pre-cleaning takes place manually outside the machine. The various program steps such as detergent circulation and rinsing take place successively, but not spatially separated, in a single zone (tank).

In this case the dishes and cutlery pass automatically through the successive zones in which the individual functions take place. Distinction is made between two machine designs:

The baskets loaded with dishes and cutlery are transported automatically through the machine.

The dishes and cutlery are placed directly on an endless belt and transported automatically through the machine.