We explore the 12 conveyors used most within facilities across Australia, New Zealand and Asia that keep our customers warehouse and production facilities operating in seamless cohesion.
Roller conveyors can be used for both Cases and Pallets however they are vastly different
constructions for each application.
CASES - Rollers are usually between 40-50mm in diameter made from either plastic, galvanised steel or stainless steel. The rollers are driven by chains located on one end of the rollers or by a belt under the rollers. Width of the conveyors vary to suit the case dimensions. These conveyors are great for applications when cases are required to be lifted, turned, metered using gates and brakes or pushed off.
PALLETS - Rollers on pallet conveyors are usually 80mm in diameter and made from galvanised or plated steel. Drive is applied by chains on one end of the rollers. Roller conveyors are used for pallets when the pallet bottom boards are running in the direction of travel.
Chain conveyors are mostly used for pallet handling. Multi strand chain conveyors are used to move moving pallets when the pallet bottom boards are perpendicular to the direction of travel. The conveyor will have 2 or 3 strands of chain depending on the weight of the pallet load. The chains can be driven from one end for single direction conveyors or centre driven if reversing is required. The type of chain used depends on the location and operation of the conveyor. If the conveyor is inside a safety cell it can have large pitch simplex chains however, if it is not guarded from user access, small pitch duplex or triplex chains must be used to avoid the possibility of finger pinch points in the chain.
Plastic Chain Conveyors
Plastic chain conveyors are commonly used in crate handling applications where the load on the chain is low and high friction drive is not required.
Gravity Roller Conveyor
Gravity roller conveyors are similar to roller conveyors in that they can be used for pallet and case handling. They tend to be used in areas where the product being transported is rejected or is being delivered to a pick off position.
Modular Belt Conveyors
Modular belts are plastic belts (material varies) made by companies such as Intralox, System Plast and Forbo to name a few. They are used mainly for product and case handling. The belts are made for many different applications, a few are curve conveyors, grippy top, low back pressure, flat top and open mesh. They come in standard widths and can be built to suit the application. There are some high-end belts available which allow case and product automation including, active and passive merging and diverting, turning, accelerating and sorting.
Accumulation conveyors are used to add a buffer into the production line to enable machines either side of the accumulation to operate with a level of independence. If a machine runs intermittently and produces a large volume of products the downstream equipment may not be able to handle the instantaneous throughput but can however, handle the continuous throughput, in this instance accumulation is the answer and allows the downstream machine to continue running and the accumulation will act as a buffer between the two machines. It could also be the other way around where an upstream machine produces products continuously but the downstream machine is intermittent, once again the accumulation conveyor is the buffer between the machines. The most basic accumulation conveyor is a wide modular belt conveyor which allows product to spill out when the downstream conveyors stop. If your products cannot accumulate back to back, soft pouches for example, may need something a little more fancy like an accumulating spiral conveyor which increases the effective belt length when accumulating and reduces the effective belt length when returning product to the line.
Pallet conveyors work the same as pallet roller and pallet chain conveyors.
Product singlisation is done in two ways, pressureless or funneling. As the name suggests a pressureless singuliser uses multiple strands of modular belts running at different speeds to accelerate products away without the need to force them into single file. Funneling on the other hand uses a wide belt and funnels products into single file which can be problematic when round products lock together preventing them from moving through the funnel, this is called bridging. If bridging becomes a problem moving fences and stop/start or even reversing conveyors can be used. Typically pressureless singulising is the best method.
Fabric/Material Belt Conveyors
Fabric/material belt conveyors are used when handling raw product or ingredients as they are none porous which means the product does not get trapped in the belt. Transferring on and off material belt conveyors is not normally as smooth as roller or modular belts as the material belts need to be tracked (made to run down the middle of the conveyor) and this is usually done by adjusting the head and/or tail shafts. This adjustment means the proceeding/following conveyors need to be installed with a gap to allow for adjustment. It is common to find material belt conveyors transporting products which are introduced to the conveyor from over-head by way of a chute.
Incline conveyors are used to elevate products of cases from one level to another. Raw products such as ingredients will be elevated to a level which they can be fed into a filler or multi-head weigher and cases will be elevated for palletising or to travel through the facility above normal operations before being lowered into the area required. Incline conveyors can be modular belt conveyors (rough/grippy top) or material belt conveyors. Some very steep raw material conveyors use flighted material belts to transport the product. Incline conveyors have limited angle of incline depending on the product being transported. The shallower the incline angle the longer the conveyor needs to be to reach the required height. This can be a problem in some facilities as space might not be available. Incline conveyors can be reversed to lower products.
Elevator Conveyors are used when space is not available for an incline conveyor. An elevator is essentially a vertical conveyor that transports products or cases on decks which are lifted by chains. If the product is a raw material like a powder, buckets can be used in-stead of decks. Elevators can be reversed to lower products.
Spiral conveyors are similar to incline and elevator conveyors and are used to elevate products from one level to another. Spirals take up less linear space than incline conveyors but do take up more area than an elevator. Spirals are continuous in their operation where elevators require products to be metered onto the decks. Spirals also allow products to be accumulated back to back giving increased throughput compared to elevators. Spirals can be reversed to lower products.
We have been providing conveying solutions to companies around Australia, New Zealand and Asia for over 50 years across hundreds of different applications and understand the role that quality conveying systems play in overall plant profitability and provide the latest in conveyor technologies. Our conveyor systems seamlessly integrate within production facilities and are custom made to ensure that production lines run fast and easy with gentle product handling and reduced waste.
If you would like a quote on how to improve the flow of your production facility then contact our experienced team on 1300 831 330 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a no obligation chat.