Conveyor systems have become more widely used throughout the world, with the global market reaching $8.8 billion in 2020 and still climbing. The efficiency they lend to warehousing applications in various industries likely contributes to this sustained growth. Naturally, this begs the question of how to choose the right conveyor system to support your organization’s needs.
Getting Started Choosing the Right Conveyor System
A conveyor system consists of rollers, conveyor belts, buckets, wheels, chains, or other apparatuses to carry materials through a production process, sort items in shipping and warehousing, etc. The type of system and components you choose will largely depend on what you intend to do with it.
Basic Components of a Conveyor System
A conveyor system is primarily comprised of the following three components:
- A drive system, which keeps the other components moving. It’s often motorized.
- Belt support, which keeps the belt level and prevents sagging.
- A pulley system, which controls the belt’s movement. Each conveyor unit will usually have an active (or powered) pulley at one end and an idle one at the other.
Of course, there are often additional components added onto conveyor systems, but the basic elements described above are what keep the whole system functioning. Add-on items would depend on your intended application.
Common Uses of Conveyor Systems
Conveyor systems are used in many applications, including warehousing. In a warehouse setting, they might be used to move the following items:
- Bags and totes
- Bulk materials
The function of these machines in warehousing is typically sortation, in which items are sorted along the line into different areas depending on where they are stored, whether they’re being shipped, etc.
Common Types of Conveyor Systems
Conveyor systems come in various types that are designed for specific needs, including:
- Belt conveyors
- Belt-driven live rollers
- Motorized-drive roller conveyors
- Line shaft driven conveyors
- Bucket conveyors
- Chain-driven conveyors
- Gravity conveyors
- Pneumatic conveyors
- Cable conveyors
- Spiral conveyors
- Narrow belt conveyors
- Skate wheel conveyors
- Roller wheel conveyors
In warehousing applications, a belt conveyor and a roller conveyor are the ones you’ll most commonly see.
Key Considerations When Choosing a Conveyor System
Conveyor machines can offer a wide range of advantages in a plant operating environment, a warehouse, and other facilities, but only if the proper selection of the conveyor type was made or if they’re properly designed. Selecting the right conveyor for your business can be difficult especially due to floor space or how much room you have available and existing equipment. So when choosing components and layouts for your conveyor system, keep the following key factors in mind to help with proper conveyor selection.
First and foremost is safety. An effective conveyor system allows heavy materials to be moved across facilities, up and down levels, and so forth, all without the risks of manual handling (dropping, falling from height, muscle straining, etc.). The system you choose should be engineered for safety with effective failsafe mechanisms in place.
A well-designed conveyor system will also be able to handle the volumes of product you need to move in your facility.
These systems offer a wide range of conveyor units and sorters to match your sortation needs. The vast number of possible configurations allows the system to be designed to precise specifications.
Process Automation Needs
By automating sortation, warehouses are able to utilize their personnel in a more efficient manner while also reducing their processes’ exposure to human error, ultimately creating a more reliable system that can increase productivity.
Conveyor Machine FAQs
Some common questions we get about conveyor systems include the following.
What is the most common type of conveyor?
By far the most common type of conveyor is the belt conveyor. They come in many varieties, and they’re often integral to moving and sorting items in a facility.
What type of motors are used in conveyor systems?
Usually, AC motors are best for continuous process conveyor systems.
What are common applications for conveyors?
Conveyors are typically used to move, sort, or dispose of a wide range of items in facilities.
Designing an Effective Conveyor System
To design a conveyor system that will do everything you need it to do, consider the following factors before beginning the design process:
- Product specifications, such as weight, size, fragility, etc.
- Flow rate requirements, including both your typical daily flow rate and peak demand.
- Process requirements, such as the distance items will need to be moved, their transfer speed, available space, etc.
- Transfer requirements, as in points where items will be transferred to and from the conveyor system.
With these criteria in mind, Precision Warehouse will work with you to design the right conveyor system for your facility.
Precision Warehouse Design offers a wide range of conveyor units and sorters, and our process includes best practice components that allow us to design and deliver complex systems faster than our competitors. To learn more, take a look at our portfolio, or contact Precision Warehouse Design.