The earliest conveyor belt system was noted to be used as early as 1804, by the British Navy. It was steam-powered and used by the British forces to ship long-lasting biscuits from the bakery. With over 100 years in between, in 1905, the inventor Richard Sutcliffe created the first conveyor belt system to be used in coal mines, which certainly transformed the efficiency processes within the mining sector.
Fast forward to 1913, when Henry Ford implemented continuous assembly lines to increase efficiency whilst making their ‘Model T’ Ford cars. This introduction helped Ford’s vision of large-scale manufacturing and industrial labour come to life. This powerful warehouse addition became so popular that a new term was coined “Fordism’, and was known around the world for the increased ease within the production sector.
Modern Conveyor Belts
As we entered the 1970s, which is acknowledged to be the contemporary period for these systems, this was the era when the first modular belt patent was filed and is now being used throughout modern manufacturing. This belt conveyor works when plastic modules and rods are fixed together to allow for their secure movement.
The Fundamentals of a Belt Conveyor System
A conveyor belt consists of a drive roller powered by a drive motor with a tension roller at the opposite end moving an endless loop of the conveyor belt which rotates around them. The belt is supported by a “skid” base or a roller base. The belt is returned on a series of return rollers.
The Uses of Conveyor Belts
The uses of a conveyor belt system are countless, but they’re traditionally used to transit heavy materials and products rapidly and efficiently. They have been introduced in multiple industries, to speed up productivity, these industries include but are not limited to the following.
Belt conveyor systems can aid in carrying heavy raw materials, such as; cement, bricks and sand to a different part of a construction site.
Warehouse packing; Conveyor belts speed up the product packaging process dramatically, especially when in a warehouse that is dealing with a large number of orders. Depending on the conveyor belt, they can transport packages of different shapes, sizes and weights into the posting department to be shipped.
Letter and Parcel Sorting
It’s no secret that letter and parcel sorting is considered a complex task to get right. This is why specially constructed belts are vital in the postal sector, to stay efficient and keep a reliable reputation throughout the postal feeding process.
One of the fundamental aspects of an airport process is the checking–in and baggage claim section. A baggage conveyor belt system offers a reliable and low energy consumption alternative to transporting the customer’s highly regarded goods, creating a trusting relationship.
Within the pharmaceutical sector, a huge amount of precision is needed to aid in minimising cross-contamination between medical batches. This sector needs belt conveyors to adequately sort and process the products in a sanitary and productive manner.
What are the Benefits of a Conveyor Belt System?
As stated, conveyors are integrated throughout a wide variety of industries, therefore can offer multiple benefits. They include;
- It can be tailored to your specific sizings requirements and to meet your needs from the conveyor belt
- It uses significantly less power, as opposed to rival mechanical machines
- It aids in production lines working efficiently and promptly
- It increases the amount of security within an operation
- It considerably improves the process quality
- It helps to free up spaces within the manufacturing area
- It creates a more standardised process and consistent products
Over a vast period, the implementation of belt conveyor systems has increased as the need for manufacturing continues to evolve. As a result, they have delivered manufacturers around the world with an incredibly more efficient process, allowing them to effectively scale up their business.