What is a Conveyor Module and What Role Do They Play?

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In modern logistics and manufacturing, efficiency is key. The movement of goods and materials within a facility or warehouse plays a pivotal role in ensuring seamless operations.

One crucial component in this process of warehouse automation and performance optimisation is the conveyor module. This innovation has revolutionised the way materials are transported, allowing for flexibility, scalability, and enhanced productivity.

In this blog, we will cover the advantages of  conveyor modules over the traditional conveyor systems, and discover the most common conveyor modules and their applications.

Conveyor Module vs. Conveyor System, What is the Difference?

Understanding the difference between modular design and traditional conveyor systems is essential, as these terms, though frequently used interchangeably, represent distinct concepts with unique applications and limitations.

Conveyor Module 

As the name suggests, it is a modular component of a conveyor system. It’s a self-contained unit that can be combined with other modules to create a customised conveyor system. Modules come in various shapes, sizes and lengths, each designed for specific tasks, and can be easily connected or disconnected to adapt to changing requirements maximising the flexibility and efficiency of manufacturing and warehouse operations.

Conveyor System

A conveyor system, on the other hand, comprises multiple interconnected conveyors or components that work together to transport materials. These systems are usually designed for specific tasks and are often mounted or fixed in place which may make modifications or expansions challenging.

Automated sortation systems in a warehouseAdvantages of Conveyor modules

Modularity is a defining feature of conveyor modules, and it brings a host of benefits to the world of material handling but how does it compare to more conventional systems. Here are some of the key advantages:

Comparison Modular
Flexibility These conveyors can be configured to accommodate different layouts, inclines, declines, and curves, making them versatile for a wide range of applications.
Cost-Efficiency The ability to modify and expand the conveyor system as needed reduces capital expenditure, making it a cost-effective choice for businesses.
Adaptability These conveyors can be easily reconfigured or repurposed to meet changing production needs, providing a high degree of adaptability.
Mixed Industrial Applications Modular conveyors are designed for specific industries, such as food, with measures that ensure cleanliness, quality and compliance with industry standards. With the ability to switch between industry specific modules a change in the product your operation is handling is no issue.
Reliability VS Reduced Down Time Individual conveyor modules can be easily disconnected and serviced without affecting the entire system, minimising downtime during maintenance and repairs.

 

Common Conveyor Modules and Their Applications

Conveyor modules come in various types, each designed for specific applications. Let’s explore the five most common conveyor modules and where they find their niche:

1. Belt Conveyors Module 

Belt conveyors are versatile and used in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, distribution, and mining. They are ideal for moving bulk materials, packages, and irregularly shaped objects. Belt conveyors consist of a continuous belt that is used to transport materials from one point to another via belting. The belt is normally rubber, fabric, metal, plastics or other materials depending on the specific application.

In the manufacturing industry, belt conveyors are commonly used to move raw materials or finished products between different stages of the production process. They are especially useful in assembly lines where products need to be moved quickly and efficiently.

In distribution centres and warehouses, belt conveyors are used to sort and distribute packages, allowing for quick and automated loading and unloading. They are often implemented with other material handling systems, such as conveyor belts, to create an efficient flow of goods.

One of the advantages of belt conveyors is their ability to handle a wide range of materials and objects. They can transport everything from small and lightweight items to heavy and bulky materials. The flexibility of the belt allows for easy customisation and adaptation to different sizes and shapes. Belt conveyors also offer a high level of efficiency and reliability.

They can expedite materials over long distances, minimising the need for manual labour and reducing the risk of injuries. They can also be automated and integrated with other systems, such as sensors and control panels, to enhance their functionality and performance.

2. High-speed Metering belt module

These specialised conveyor Modules designed to efficiently transport materials at significantly higher velocities compared to standard conveyors. These conveyors are engineered for applications where swift material movement is essential, such as in distribution centres, airports, and manufacturing facilities with high production rates.

The key advantages of high speed belt conveyors include their ability to enhance productivity by rapidly conveying goods, reducing cycle times, and increasing overall throughput.

They are also known for their energy efficiency, as their continuous operation minimises start-stop energy consumption. Additionally, high-speed belt conveyors are equipped with advanced control systems and safety measures to ensure precision and the safe handling of materials in fast-paced industrial settings.

To end, belt conveyors are a fully versatile solution for various industries, providing a cost-effective and efficient way to move materials and products. They offer flexibility, reliability, and automation, rendering them essential for modern manufacturing, distribution, and mining processes.

3. Roller Conveyors Modules

Often used in warehouses and distribution centres for handling cartons and totes. They are highly efficient and are suitable for both manual and automated material handling. One common application of this type is in the sorting and transportation of packages in a warehouse or distribution centre. When cartons or totes arrive in the facility, they can be placed on the roller conveyor system to be easily moved from one location to another.

Roller conveyors are designed with a series of cylindrical rollers placed at regular intervals along the length of the conveyor. These rollers are typically steel or plastic and rotate freely, allowing packages to roll smoothly along the conveyor surface.

In a manual material handling scenario, warehouse workers can manually push or pull the cartons or totes along the conveyor, reducing the physical strain and effort required to move heavy objects. This not only improves the ergonomics for workers but also increases productivity as more items can be moved in a shorter period of time.

For automated material handling systems, rollers can be easily integrated with other machinery, such as robots or conveyor belts, to create an efficient and seamless operation. Automated systems can utilise sensors and programmable logic controllers (PLCs) to control the movement of packages along the length of the roller, ensuring accurate sorting, routing, and placing of items.

Moreover, they can be customised to fit specific needs. They can be installed on different inclinations or levels to accommodate changes in height within a facility. Additionally, different styles of rollers, such as tapered rollers or powered rollers, can handle specific types of packages or overcome certain challenges, like lifting or transferring heavy loads.

These conveyors are essential equipment in warehouses and distribution centres, enabling efficient and flexible material handling operations. They help to streamline processes, reduce labour requirements, and improve overall productivity in these facilities.

4.  Pallet Conveyors Modules

Pallet conveyor modules are versatile systems commonly used in material handling and manufacturing applications. They are particularly well-suited for the efficient movement of palletised loads in warehouses, distribution centres, and production facilities.

These conveyors provide a flexible solution for transporting pallets of various sizes and weights, allowing for smooth transitions, merging, diverting, and accumulation of pallet loads. Their modularity and scalability make them adaptable to changing production needs, while the ability to incorporate various control options and sensors enables precise tracking and management of pallets.

Benefits of Pallet Conveyors Modules

Whether it’s automating pallet storage, facilitating order fulfilment, or streamlining the production line, modular pallet conveyors offer an ideal solution for optimising pallet handling processes across a wide range of industries. Some key benefits of modular pallet conveyors include:

  • Improved productivity: By automating the movement of pallets, these conveyors can significantly increase productivity by eliminating manual handling and streamlining the flow of materials. This, in turn, reduces labour costs and decreases the risk of errors or accidents.
  • Efficient use of space: Modular pallet conveyors are designed to maximise the use of available space, allowing for greater efficiency of warehouse or factory floor space. They can be customised to fit into tight spaces or to accommodate specific layout requirements, optimising the overall workflow.
  •  Flexibility and adaptability: The modular nature of these conveyors allows for easy reconfiguration and expansion as production needs change. This versatility enables companies to quickly adapt to new products, processes, or market demands without major disruptions or excessive investments.
  • Precise control and tracking: With the integration of advanced control systems and sensors, modular pallet conveyors offer precise tracking of pallets throughout the handling process. This allows for real-time data collection, accurate inventory management, improved traceability and information in case of product recalls.
  • Enhanced safety: These conveyors are designed with safety features such as emergency stop buttons, safety switches, and light curtains to ensure the well-being of workers and prevent accidents. Additionally, automation reduces the risk of manual handling injuries associated with lifting heavy pallets.
  • Cost efficiency: In addition to reducing labour costs, modular pallet conveyors can contribute to cost savings through improved operational efficiency, reduced product damage, and decreased downtime. They can also minimise the need for additional equipment, such as forklifts or manual pallet jacks, further reducing overall expenses.
  •  Scalability: As businesses grow or production needs change, modular pallet conveyors can be easily expanded or modified to accommodate increased throughput or new requirements. This scalability allows companies to avoid the need for large capital investments in new equipment and supports long-term strategic planning.

 

5.  Pallet Gravity Conveyor Modules

Gravity conveyors are often employed in applications where products need to be manually pushed or conveyed by gravity. They function as part of order picking and assembly operations.

Gravity conveyors are material handling equipment that allows products to be moved or conveyed by gravity alone, without the need for external power sources or motors. These conveyors typically consist of a series of rollers or skate wheels mounted on a slight decline or slope.

One common application of gravity conveyors is in order picking operations. In a warehouse or distribution centre, products are often stored on pallet racks or shelving units. Gravity conveyors can be strategically placed at the picking stations in order to facilitate the movement of products from the storage location to the picking area.

In an order picking operation, workers can manually push or slide the products along the gravity conveyor, taking them from the shelving units or pallet racks and bringing them closer to the packing or shipping area. This eliminates the need for workers to physically lift or carry heavy items, reducing the risk of potential injuries and improving overall productivity.

Gravity conveyors are also widely used in assembly operations. In manufacturing facilities, components or parts are often fed to assembly lines where workers assemble them into finished products. Gravity conveyors can be incorporated into the assembly line to transit these components, allowing for a smooth and continuous flow of materials.

By utilising gravity to move products, gravity conveyors offer several advantages. They are cost-effective as they do not require expensive motors or power sources. They are also easy to install and maintain, requiring minimal technical expertise. Additionally, they can be customised and configured to suit the specific needs of the application, such as the weight and size of the products being conveyed.

L-A-C’s UK Manufactured Conveyor Modules

In conclusion, conveyor modules are a game-changer in the world of material handling. Their modularity, flexibility, and scalability provide numerous advantages over traditional fixed conveyor systems.

By allowing for customisation and adaptability, they empower businesses to streamline their operations, reduce costs, and enhance overall productivity.

With various types of conveyor modules available, L-A-C is proud to offer a solution for almost every industry and application; additionally with our expertise in solution design we can offer support every step of the way.

So, whether you’re looking to revamp your manufacturing line or optimise your warehouse operations, consider the versatility and efficiency that our modular conveyors can bring to the table.

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