Conveyor belts are usually an important part of automated manufacturing systems. They transfer parts and products safely through your entire warehouse. Automated conveyors are best suited for warehouses if you want to reduce human involvement.

Deciding on the right conveyor systems can be a difficult task due to identifying, developing and purchasing the “ideal” material handling system designs as conveyor systems vary from being extremely simplistic to being very complex.

Ask yourself these 5 questions before deciding on your conveyor system:

  1. Is it suitable for the current situation in your warehouse as well as being ideal for adapting to changes in future?
  2. Is it operationally safe?
  3. Is it reliable and requires only minimal maintenance?
  4. Is it as energy efficient and eco-friendly as possible?
  5. Is it cost effective in operation and within your budget?

Conveyor systems have come to be seen as assets of little value which is why they are usually considered last in the planning process. Due to this fact alone, the buying decision for the type of conveyor belt system largely depends on the initial acquisition cost and not on the total acquisition cost.

You risk disrupting the productivity of your warehouse and distribution centre by buying the wrong conveyor system which can quickly affect productivity and efficiency and reduce your competitive edge as well.

Product Specifications                    

Consider these 4 factors when deciding on which conveyor system is best for you:

  1. Product Dimensions
    Consider the length, width and height of your products before deciding on a conveyor system which meets these specifications.
  2. Product Weight
    Consider the weight of your product when choosing your conveyor system. The weight of your products plays a huge role in the motor sizing of your conveyor as well as how many curves will be added.
  3. Product Rate
    Production rate is measured in parts per minute/hour and along with the product length which allows you to determine the appropriate conveyor speed required at your workplace.
  4. Product Type
    Moving a lot of different types of products with each of them being different from the next is a deciding factor in choosing the type of conveyor.

The Process Impact

In the manufacturing process, the main point of concern is part orientation. If the part has a process done in different machines and is not able to change course then the automated system needs a conveyor with the ability to match up to your requirements.

If the change in part orientation is critical to your process then the material handling conveyor will need additional equipment to track of it. A precision index conveyor is usually a good option as it handles part orientation during the transportation process so the other equipment can easily track it.

Another product handling option is a pallet conveyor which has fixtures for the part to maintain orientation through transportation.

The Layout Impact

The layout of the conveyor can determine what type of conveyor you need and the materials to use.

If the layout requires an incline or decline during transportation then the belt material will have to be rough enough to hold the part in place. Conveyors that turn corners will need to include corner sections which use different materials to ensure the intended path is followed at the required speed.

Environmental Conditions

Take into consideration the environment that your conveyor will be placed in. An example of this can be seen when your warehouse is handling metal parts from which the oil residue or metal shavings can make their way into your conveyor causing malfunction.

3 Factors to consider when looking for a conveyor for your warehouse:

  1. Maintainability
    Choose conveyors that are easy to maintain and less likely to breakdown and halt productivity.
  2. Safety
    Certain kinds of conveyors have built-in safety features while others need to exercise extra precaution to protect your employees. 
  3. Energy Efficiency
    Some conveyors consume less energy than others. Simply programming your conveyors and part of the system to shut down or sleep when not in use can lead to a reduction in your energy cost.

4 Types of Conveyor Belts

    1. Chain Belt Conveyors
      These are specially designed to transport medium to high volume products on the work floor. Due to their unique and reliable features, they are suitable for MRF sorting line feeds, open end auto tie balers, 2 RAM balers, feed side eject baler, mixed waste lines and other similar machines.
    2. Steel Belt Conveyors
      These are designed with piano hinge steel or a heavy duty apron belt and are built to handle 20-50 tons an hour. They are built perfectly for heavy duty use with heavy duty applications such as feeding heavy duty solid waste to pre-crusher compactors, transfer station compactors, mixed waste lines, large 2 RAM scrap balers, mixed waste lines and others.
    3. Slider Bed Conveyors
      These are built to handle 1-15 tons of waste per hour, these conveyors are driven by friction conveyor belts that come with a slider bed as a supporting feature. Slider bed conveyors are suited for medium and high volume applications. These types of conveyors come in handy in feeding side-eject balers, stationary conveyors, auto-tie balers and closed end horizontal balers.
    4. MRF Sorting Lines
      These are a customized type of conveyor belts which are specially designed according to your needs and requirements. These conveyors are made up of a slider bed, chain belt and steel conveyors which have been designed according to your specifications.

Get in touch with our team of experts at Compactor Management Company today to know more about choosing the best type of conveyor for your company!