We’re going to look at what a conveyor system is, how they are used, what their 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. Conveyors & Automation are here to help. We specialise in conveyor systems and warehouse automation solutions to help you run your business efficiently.
Now, let’s unravel what conveyor systems are.
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.
Conveyor systems allow for quick and efficient transportation of a businesses materials and products as well as being able to move heavy items such as cars down a production line which make them popular in the material handling and packaging industries as well as the manufacturing industries.
Although this is not their only use.
Conveyors 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 in a quicker and more efficient manner. Quite handy to use one in the airport if you’re going between gates and you’re running late for a flight.
Conveyors are usually fixed into positions with ancillary equipment and add on’s being available for them so they can connect to an existing or non-conveyor system. You can get portable conveyors 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. The portable conveyors also are 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.
There is a huge range of conveyors all that can be used for the different applications to make up the conveyor system which we will discuss in more detail below.
Growth of conveyor systems
Conveyors are growing in use and popularity. The conveyor 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 sector’s businesses are rapidly increasing the implementation of conveyors at places like airports, shopping centres, stadiums, and restaurants.
Conveyors 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.
Industries that use conveyor systems
It’s easy to see why an increasing amount of companies and industries are using conveyor systems with the numerous benefits they provide. We’ve listed some of the major benefits below.
Benefits of using a conveyor system
- Can safely transport materials from one level to another through elevated conveyors
- Can be installed in most situations while usually being able to add value and increase the safety of the workplace due to automation, failsafe’s, and safeguards
- Conveyors can move high quantities of items in various shapes, sizes, and weights
- Have advanced safety features that prevent accidents and injuries while increasing throughput of the system
- Variety of options to run the conveying systems, including the hydraulic, mechanical, and fully automated systems which are equipped to fit individual needs
Where are conveyor systems used?
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 in order 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 that 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 conveyor system through a human-machine interface (HMI) which allows you to analyse and monitor previous and real-time data from the conveyor system. Companies using a conveyor system can look at certain aspects to ensure the conveyor(s) work at optimum capacities such as regular inspections, system audits, close monitoring of motors, ensuring spares are in stock for changeovers, and the operational team are trained on running the system and are aware of what to look for when identifying errors or problems.
There are ways you can increase a conveyors 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 is 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 getting to a point where it’s damaged where it 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
Conveyors 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 conveyors 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 which conveyor you use or purchase depends on what you need the conveyor system 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.
- Aero-mechanical conveyors
- Automotive conveyors
- Belt conveyor
- Belt-driven live roller conveyors
- Bucket conveyor
- Chain conveyor
- Chain-driven live roller conveyor
- Drag conveyor
- Dust-proof conveyors
- Electric track vehicle systems
- Flexible conveyors
- Gravity conveyor
- Gravity skate wheel conveyor
- Lineshaft roller conveyor
- Motorised-drive roller conveyor
- Overhead I-beam conveyors
- Overland conveyor
- Pharmaceutical conveyors
- Plastic belt conveyors
- Pneumatic conveyors
- Screw or auger conveyor
- Spiral conveyors
- Vertical conveyors
- Vibrating conveyors
- Wire mesh conveyors
Each of these conveyor 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, L.A.C. can help and discuss with you what you need and design a bespoke solution for your business.
If you are unsure about conveyor systems and how they could benefit your business by increasing throughput and decreasing costs, contact a member of L.A.C. today for a consultation where a member of the team is always happy to discuss your requirements.