What Are the Types of Conveyor Belts?
There are 8 different conveyor belt types and companies should be able to find one to suit their needs. Some of the most common conveyor belt types are discussed below.
This type of belt conveyor consists of a smooth surface usually made from steel. However, sometimes the surface can be made from Masonite. The belt is fixed to the surface to facilitate transportation of items or goods.
As the name suggests, in this type of belt conveyor, the surface for the belt comprises of rollers. The rollers are selected based on the load of the items to be transported and the required speed of the belt. Usually there are two rollers in a short belt conveyor. However, the number of rollers may increase if the distance between the two ends of the belt conveyor is more. Typically, these belt conveyors are used when the items are loaded onto it with gravity rather than manually. Manual loading can cause mechanical shock to the rollers, resulting in damage.
|Horizontal Belt Conveyor:
This type of belt conveyor consists of a center drive, gear motor, and take-up. Based on the drive of the conveyor, it can come with one or two pulleys at the end. The belt of the conveyor is flexible and the entire system has floor supports along its length.
|Incline and Decline Conveyor:
This type of conveyor is similar to a horizontal belt conveyor, but has an additional component. It comes with a single or double nose over and sometimes it also has a feeder portion. Typically, this type of conveyor has a rough surface on the belt during incline or decline rather than making use of a smooth-surfaced belt. This offers more traction to the items placed on the conveyor and prevents them from rolling backwards or forwards.
|Brake and Meter Belt Conveyor:
This conveyor comprises of two parts. The brake belt is installed at the end of the conveyor and facilitates accumulation of the items, while the meter belt is used to separate items. Typically, the meter belt has the drive, whereas the brake belt uses the slave drive from the meter belt. The length of the brake and meter belt is very important. Typically, it should be about 1/7th of the total length of the accumulation conveyor and this includes brake and meter belt lengths too.
|Metal “Piano Hinge” Conveyor:
This is a hinged type belt conveyor made from steel. It is perfect for transporting hot and oily components from a punch press and forging machines. This type of belt conveyor can be horizontal, inclined into an ‘S’ shape or even level.
|Wire Mesh Belt Conveyor:
As the name suggests, it has mesh that will facilitate air ventilation. Hence, this type of belt conveyor is ideal for transporting hot and cold items or components that cannot be handled using standard duck or PVC belts. The wire mesh is placed on roller or longitudinal runners and then it is covered with a thick plastic. In addition, there are toothed pulleys to clasp onto the wire mesh belt.
This conveyor comes with caster wheels allowing it to be rolled from one place to another. There are different types of portable conveyors and most companies can find one to suit their needs. There are even portable gravity conveyors that can be extended depending on the customer’s needs.
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 belt type 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 be very complex.
Ask yourself these 5 questions before deciding on your conveyor system:
- Is it suitable for the current situation in your warehouse as well as ideal for adapting to changes in future?
- Is it operationally safe?
- Is it reliable and requires only minimal maintenance?
- Is it as energy efficient and eco-friendly as possible?
- 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.
Consider these 4 factors when deciding on which conveyor system is best for you:
Consider the length, width and height of your products before deciding on a conveyor system which meets these specifications.
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.
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.
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 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.
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:
Choose conveyors that are easy to maintain and less likely to break down and halt productivity.
Certain kinds of conveyors have built-in safety features while others need to exercise extra precautions to protect your employees.
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.
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!
Compactor Management Company (former Northern California Compactors, Inc.) offers installation and support services for waste recycling equipment such as waste compactors, balers, shredders & conveyor systems. Established in 1981, it offers waste management solutions across the United States.