When adding a conveyor system to your existing operation, it is important to not only consider the basic manufacturing and sourcing of the equipment itself, but also the design, engineering, and installation for each individual system. Each facility has unique needs, so numerous operational aspects must be taken into account to ensure that the conveyor system chosen provides the desired benefits.
Factors that must be taken into account include:
- Materials the system handles
- Operation environment
- Space and configuration
- Access requirements for equipment and personnel
- Speed and throughput volume
- Required maintenance
- Level of automation
Types of Industrial Conveyor Systems
Although some conveyor systems are used for simple, individual tasks, industrial conveyor systems typically include various functions and are integrated to perform more complex operations. Conveyors have dozens of classifications and have been engineered into a wide variety of configurations. Below is a short overview of a few common types of conveyors, their uses, and their benefits.
Chain conveyor systems are made up of chains and motor-driven sprockets on a sturdy frame. They come in a broad range of designs to meet the needs of a variety of use cases, including floor mounted, tabletop, and overhead models. Floor and tabletop chain conveyors are typically employed in applications that require the movement of heavy objects, for instance: pallet transfers. They are often found in assembly & packaging lines, and in a wide variety of industries such as pharmaceutical, cosmetics, and consumer goods. In warehousing and distribution projects, an overhead continuous chain conveyor can be utilized for transport or returns of packaging materials and containers when floor space is at a premium.
Roller conveyors move items and materials using parallel-mounted rollers which facilitate smooth movement. They can be designed in a number of different variations. The most basic format is a gravity roller, where the rollers are non-powered and the products travel along them freely. When mounted on a slight decline, objects will use gravity to move in that general direction. Additionally, skatewheel gravity systems operate the same way but instead of rollers, a series of narrow skatewheels are mounted and “roll” more easily, allowing for lighter packages.
Chain driven live roller (CDLR) is another roller method, and used by combining gravity rollers and a chain to link them together; commonly used for handling of heavier products with flat bottoms, or pallets. CDLR conveyors are advantageous for their powered control, and they allow for the accumulation of products- where the line continues to run, but the products will nest alongside each other on the conveyor. As a workhorse in the industry, this type of conveyor is often used for delivery systems in assembly lines, packaging facilities, food processing applications, and plenty more.
Motorized Roller Conveyors
The most modern form of roller conveyor system answers the question: instead of one motor running all rollers together, what if a small motor is put inside the roller? Each one of these motorized rollers would be connected to a group of other rollers by small plastic belts, creating “zones” of control. Photo-eye sensors trigger the motorized roller when the space is clear, prompting products to move from zone to zone for zero-pressure accumulation. This sophisticated type of conveyor is particularly useful in warehousing and distribution applications and allows for smoother, more precise movement of products along the line without contact.
Typically the first term that comes to mind when someone thinks of the word “conveyor” is “conveyor belt.” Also one of the most commonly used types of conveyors, belt conveyors are simple in their methodology of moving products from point A to point B. Construction of belt conveyors differs, but generally, all are composed of continuous belts that are operated through the use of a pulley on either end. They are effective in moving an assortment of product shapes, sizes, and weights with a single drive for long lengths. Belt conveyors can be customized into various inclines, curves, and slider beds and are usually operated within fulfillment centers, sortation systems, and applications that require moving bulk materials.
Combining a few types of conveyors into a final category, vertical conveyors are a catch-all to describe systems that raise product from one conveyor line to another at a higher elevation or a different floor. Spiral conveyors are a common type, which use a continuous belt in a rotary vertical motion to elevate products while taking up less of a footprint than an incline. Vertical lift conveyors are another option, and are categorized into either reciprocating or continuous, both economic and highly versatile. These types of conveyors are found all over, typically seen in distribution facilities, pharmaceutical manufacturing, food & beverage processing, and consumer goods production.
Integrated Conveyor System Solutions from Precision Automation
There are several additional types of conveyor systems to review and discuss, but most of what we deal with fall into one of the groups mentioned above. And it takes more than a simple categorization to determine the ideal type of conveyor system for a given project. Plenty of crucial considerations factor into the selection process of conveyor type, length, width, speed, and more. If a customer wants something totally unique that does not fit into a general category, our team will design and manufacture a custom system.
Since 1946, Precision Automation has been a valued provider of industrial conveyors for numerous industries. Our conveyor systems can be configured to suit a variety of automation and material handling needs. What sets us apart is our proven process of understanding each unique project specification, concept development, system design, procurement and fabrication of components, assembly, testing, and installation. Our highly experienced team is dedicated to providing cost-efficient solutions tailored to meet the requirements of particular applications without the need for outsourcing.