We’re going to look at what a conveyor system is, how it is used, what its applications are, and much more in this article. If you need to discuss how a conveyor system could help you or want to see what other solutions are available to help your business excel, L-A-C Logistics Automation is here to help. We specialise in conveyors and warehouse automation solutions to help you run your business efficiently.
A conveyor system is used in many industries as a standard piece of mechanical handling equipment to move goods, products, raw goods, and other materials from one location to another, usually in the same area or building. They are extremely handy for businesses that deal with heavy goods, sharp items, raw materials, and mass-produced products.
This system allows for quick and efficient transportation of a business’s materials and products as well as being able to move heavy items such as cars down a production line which makes them popular in the material handling and packaging industries as well as the manufacturing industries. Although this is not their only use. Although this is not their only use.
Conveyor systems are also popular in consumer applications for food and people transportation such as supermarkets, sushi restaurants, airports, and shopping centres. So not only do they transport heavy items, but they are also useful for moving small plates and people more quickly and efficiently. Quite handy to use one in the airport if you’re going between gates and you’re running late for a flight.
They are usually fixed into positions with ancillary equipment and addons being available for them so they can connect to an existing or non-conveyor system. You can get portable systems which can be moved around with ease. This way you can put the conveyor into a different floor plan and move depending on the volume of products.
Portable conveyor systems also known as mobile line shaft conveyors are popular in the logistics and parcel delivery industry due to being able to be configured for the number of parcels coming in or being moved to another department that might get an influx of deliveries throughout the day, week, month, or year.
Growth of Conveyor Systems
Conveyor systems are growing in use and popularity. The market is estimated to reach $10.07 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 4.5% over the forecast period 2020-2025. In the commercial and civil sectors, businesses are rapidly increasing their implementation at places like airports, shopping centres, stadiums, and restaurants.
These systems are highly popular in the manufacturing and packaging industries as well as production plants and with the amount of demand for these products going up, the systems excel at allowing businesses to meet consumer demand and for that reason are more in need in a manufacturing process than ever. Commonly purchased types are line shaft roller, chain, and conveyor belt systems.
Industries that Use Conveyor Systems
It’s easy to see why an increasing number of companies and industries are using conveyor systems with the numerous benefits they provide. We’ve listed some of the major benefits below.
- They can safely transport materials from one level to another through elevated systems
- They can be installed in most situations while usually being able to add value and increase the safety of the workplace due to automation, fail safes, and safeguards
- They can move high quantities of items in various shapes, sizes, and weights
- They have advanced safety features that prevent accidents and injuries while increasing the throughput of the system
- They offer a variety of options to run the conveying systems, including the hydraulic, mechanical, and fully automated systems which are equipped to fit individual needs
All sorts of materials are conveyed thanks to the different conveyor belts you can get to manage different loads and materials. Some of the common items that are used by conveyors are food items such as beans, nuts, canned foods, and vegetables, bottles, canned drinks, automotive parts such as engines, car frames, and tyres, pills such as medicine or supplements, large amounts of powder, furniture, and much more.
Whether you need a conveyor system and what conveyor you need depends on what you require of the system and therefore you need to outline how the conveyor system will be used beforehand. These factors include what it will be transporting, loads of that item(s), the speed of the conveyor, how much it needs to accumulate at a time, how long it takes to sort the items, where the pickup points are, the widths and lengths, and in cases many more factors to ensure it meets your businesses desired outcomes.
Maintaining a Conveyor System
As useful as conveyor systems can be, they do need to be maintained for the conveyor system to run effectively or just like any electrical item they can break and be costly to replace, both in time and in money if a big system has a bespoke design.
Businesses should make looking after their conveyor systems a priority to ensure no loss of business or disruption to their manufacturing, packaging, or delivery process. You can, of course, analyse the running of your system through a human-machine interface (HMI) which allows you to analyse and monitor previous and real-time data.
Certain aspects to ensure that they work at optimum capacities such as regular inspections, system audits, close monitoring of motors, ensuring spares are in stock for changeovers should be looked at. Also, ensuring that the operational team are trained on running the system and are aware of what to look for when identifying errors or problems is necessary.
There are ways you can increase a conveyor’s life or the system cycles they run by choosing the right conveyor type when installing the system, making sure the system is designed to fit the layout or goes through the correct areas at optimum speed, and ensuring the system is regularly maintained.
Depending on the conveyor system installed there will be different functional problems you’ll have to watch out for. A roller conveyor used for moving parcels is going to need different maintenance to an overhead chain conveyor moving car frames or a belt conveyor moving high amounts of papers compared to a pallet conveyor moving heavy loads of goods.
Again, if the conveyor is being used in harsher conditions such as in below-freezing temperatures there will be different maintenance procedures to ensure optimum running.
It’s recommended to have the approach of preventive maintenance over reactive maintenance, this way you can stop your conveyor or motor from getting to a point where it’s damaged which could result in further damage down the line. Doing preventative maintenance allows you to schedule sorting the system at intervals with a likely lower cost than waiting for the system to break and then having additional downtime of the whole system which could be in peak time.
Materials Used in a Conveyor System for Impact and Wear Resistance
Conveyor systems need to be resistant to impact and wear due to the high volume of items they’re moving that can be sharp and heavy and not be seized up due to deformation.
The handling materials that these systems use include UHMW, nylon, Nylatron NSM, HDPE, Tivar, Tivar ESd, and polyurethane. The handling material used will depend on the function of the conveyor and where static control is a factor, the conveyor system will need special materials to be designed to either dissipate or conduct electrical charges from the conveyor.
Types of Conveyor Systems
As we touched on briefly earlier there is a wide range of conveyor systems that can be used and the conveyor you use or purchase depends on what you need the it to do. For example, it wouldn’t make much sense to use a roller conveyor to speed up people’s walk between two different terminals at an airport, that’s where it would be best to use a belt conveyor.
There’s a list below outlining the different types of conveyor systems that are available today.
- Belt conveyor
- Belt-driven live roller
- Chain-driven live roller
- Electric track vehicle systems
- Gravity skate wheel conveyor
- Lineshaft roller conveyor
- Motorised-drive roller conveyor
- Overhead I-beam
- Plastic belt
- Screw or auger conveyor
- Wire mesh
Each of these systems can be made bespoke for each business with different add–ons and ancillary equipment to ensure it can handle the load, move the products at the required speed, or can deal with the material without ripping or breaking the conveyor belt.
Do You Need a Conveyor System?
If you need a conveyor system, whether it’s for the logistics industry, food industry, or commercial use, at L-A-C Logistics Automation we are happy to help. Get in touch with us today to discuss your needs and design a bespoke solution for your business.