Conveyor Systems are used to safely and efficiently transport materials from one location to another within your facility. The materials travel down the conveyor line on either rollers or belts, loading or offloading materials in various areas, until they reach their final destination. These conveyor systems can be either gravity or electric powered, and help to reduce manual labor and increase productivity and process efficiencies within your facility.
Gravity Conveyor Systems
Gravity conveyor is also known as non-powered conveyor as it uses the force of gravity as its power source. It is the simplest style of conveyor and is commonly used in packaging and pallet handling, assembly, kitting and truck offloading areas. They consist of a series of evenly spaced metal rollers that facilitate the movement of materials from point A to point B.The conveyor is usually constructed at a slight incline, and uses the force of gravity or manual force to move materials down the conveyor line. Gravity conveyor systems are a popular choice due to their simplicity and affordability.
- Gravity Roller Conveyor Systems– constructed of a series of rollers that are mounted on axles and affixed to the conveyor frame. Systems types include straight, curved, spur and merge styles.
- Gravity Wheel Conveyor Systems– constructed of a series of skate wheels mounted on shafts affixed to the conveyor frame. Systems can be either fixed or flexible accordion style and are ideal for handling light weight loads with smooth, flat bottoms.
- Chute Conveyor Systems – constructed of a solid surface of either metal or plastic that is angled downwards. Systems can be either straight or spiral.
Electric Powered Conveyor Systems
Incline / Decline
Powered conveyor is motorized and driven by either electric or pneumatic power systems.They are commonly used to transport pallets and packages from one point to another, quickly and safely. There are several types to choose from and each operates a little differently.
- Roller Conveyor Systems– are ideal for transporting different sized pallets. This is the most commonly used type of conveyor, with the rollers being either belt or line shaft driven.
- Chain Driven Conveyor Systems-commonly used to move heavy pallet or container loads vertically or horizontally. Chains provide the driving force with these systems to move materials down the line.
- Accumulation Conveyor Systems– this system allows for packages, objects and carriers to be accumulated. It can be powered by belt, roller, vibrating, tow or power-and-free conveyors types.
- Sortation Conveyor Systems– this system allows for packages, objects and carriers to be sorted to the proper workstation, order processing area, or dock doors. These sort mechanisms range from plow arms, pop up urethane belt transfers, pop up drive skates, sliding shoes, and cross belt or tilt trays. Rates from 20 cartons per minute to 500 cartons per minute are delivered.
- Pallet Conveyor Systems – also referred to as unit load conveyor or pallet handling conveyor. They are designed to transport, distribute and accumulate pallet loads weighing thousands of pounds, helping to improve the receipt, handling and dispatch of pallets. This type of system is commonly used as a replacement for stacker cranes.
- Vertical Reciprocating Conveyor Systems (VRC) – are designed to transport materials or objects from one level to another vertically. Roller or Belt conveyor is most commonly used, and can be powered or gravity fed.
- Spiral Inclines and declines – are designed to transport materials or objects from one level to another vertically. They have multiple level in-feeds and swing arm discharges for outbound. They offer very limited floor space usage
Common Applications of Conveyor Systems
- Assembly Lines– conveyor systems help to move materials and/or product through different production areas and processes.
- Order Picking– help to transport product from where they are being stored to picking areas and then to loading areas to be shipped out.
- Staging or Accumulation – conveyor accumulates or holds product until it is ready to be processed or packaged.
- Transport of Product– allows for cases, totes and pallets to be transported throughout the various processing areas of your facility from processing, packaging and ultimately shipment.
- Vertical Movement – vertical conveyor lines allow you to move materials from one level to another, allowing you to use the valuable vertical space in your facility for production and processing.
- Packaging & Shipping– conveyor lines are commonly used to help facilitate the packaging of your products and then move them onto shipping area to be shipped out.
Benefits of Conveyor Systems
- Improved Product Flow & Productivity– conveyor lines allow for the quick and easy movement of materials and products from storage, to assembly or picking lines, to packaging areas and then to shipping. Materials move at a steady pace, keeping production on schedule.
- Decreased Labor – conveyor lines do the work of moving the materials and product throughout your facility, decreasing greatly the amount of manual labor performed by workers on a daily basis. Sorting is a great way to realize the labor savings.
- Increased Safety– because materials and product are being transported on conveyor lines, rather than manually by forklift, pallet jacks or hand trucks, they reduce the chance of accidents associated with manual movement.
- Improved Ergonomics– the conveyor systems do the work of moving the product, rather than your workers, which reduces the changes of injury to your workers associated with bending, lifting, pushing and pulling.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Conveyor System
- Carton / Tote Sizes- Length x Width x Height are critical.The maximum to minimum carton range needs evaluation for convey-ability. Carton weights and load placement in the box or tote are key factors for transfers, inclines, and corners. Are you needing to transport heavy materials, average weight, or ultralight cartons? The weight ranges affect transport and carton damage.
- What types materials, pallets, and/or containers will you need to be transported down the conveyor lines that need to be taken into consideration? Will pallet sizes vary?Pallet bottom boards in relation to the roller conveyor is important for smooth flow & transfers.
- Do you handle or manufacture any materials or products that can harm the conveyor system that need to be taken into consideration? For example, temperature, humidity, chemicals, wash down, bottle breakage, and solvents are all items to consider in the survey process.
- Review the layout of your facility to determine where the conveyor system needs to be placed and where it may need to elevate, fall, stop or make turns.
- Can the conveyor system be added on to or revised if your needs change down the road?