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Paper Recycling PlantWith growing concerns about eco-friendliness and sustainability, green initiatives have become an important part of business operations in every sector. Organizations of every size are making an effort to reduce their energy consumption, increase recycling and re-use practices, and improve production efficiency to reduce wastage.

Going green brings up some specific concerns for companies that deal with material handling, such as the recycling and waste disposal sectors. We’ll look at these in a little more detail.

“Going Green” with Material Handling Systems

Recent advancements in conveyor systems and technology have helped organizations reduce both material and energy consumption during daily operations. Modern systems are also geared toward enhancing workplace safety and clean operations, to maximize the positive impact on employees.

Of course, one of the first questions that come up is whether investing in green initiatives and eco-friendly machinery helps with cost savings or not. You might worry about the ROI on “green” conveyors and other material handling systems, especially if you cannot afford to revamp your operations in one go!

Saving Money with Green Conveyor Systems

Depending on your organization’s requirements, priorities and investment capacity, there’s more than one way to use green initiatives to your benefit.

You could, for instance, start small. Replacing old motors may not seem like much, but even this simple step allows you to save energy and reduce running costs. On the other hand, you may be able to invest in a new system for a larger impact on energy usage, especially if your organization is focused on eco-friendliness.

Consider the options available and how well they fit your unique business needs, taking into account factors like:

  • Size – Smaller belt conveyors may offer the same performance as larger systems, but with lower energy requirements.
  • Material – The type and amount of material used in a conveyor sortation system also affects its “green” benefits.
  • Safety – Systems that run with low noise and advanced features for operator safety are considered greener than others.
  • Maintenance – A lower initial investment doesn’t always equal cost-effectiveness, especially in terms of service and repairs.

Starting Small – Other “Green” Changes/Adjustments You Can Make

Here are a few other tips for improving the eco-friendliness of your automated material handling system without the need for a complete (and expensive) overhaul:

  • Upgrade Conveyor Motors – Install energy-efficient AC motors to enhance productivity and efficiency, reduce material handling time and running costs, and increase the lifespan of your conveyor.
  • Eco-Friendly Final Drives – Minimize energy loss from conveyor belts or chain drives by using direct or variable speed drives, which are more eco-friendly and require less downtime/maintenance too.
  • Generate Extra Energy – Capture and use the electrical energy from equipment or products being lowered (or send it back into the grid), with a regenerative capable motor that serves as a generator or motor.
  • Install a Hybrid System – Use 24V DC MDR (Motor Driven Roller) conveyor systems for transfers and merges with existing systems for other handling processes, to boost efficiency while using less energy.
  • Control Energy Usage – Monitor and manage the material handling system’s steady state and peak energy consumption through the day, with a smart WCS (Warehouse Control System).
  • Use “Sleep” Mode – An advanced WCS can also turn off motors when conveyor systems are not in use, and back on when they are, to reduce energy consumption, noise and wear.

It may seem like an uphill journey, but green systems can help you save a lot of money in the long run, in addition to becoming more eco-conscious. Get in touch with the experts at Northern California Compactors to learn more about these options today!