Conveyors and automated storage and retrieval systems can elevate the productivity of your Denver warehouse operations, enhance safety practices and substantially lower labor expenses.
Modern conveyors can move everything from heavy pallets to small packages within your material handling system and they are an essential piece of contemporary material handling design.
Conveyor systems can be grouped in three separate classes for most material handling systems:
- Powered roller or belt systems (for carton handling)
- Powered chain or roller conveyor systems (for pallet handling)
- Non-powered conveyors
Powered Package Handling Roller or Belt Conveyors
Powered belt or roller conveyor systems are generally used for less bulky items like cartons and packages.
Conveyor belts are generally employed for advancing packages along a line, while roller systems are employed for accumulating cartons in specific areas along the line.
In use since the early 1900’s, belt conveyors are a fundamental part of most material handling operations. Lower cost than roller conveyors and often better suited to specific tasks like moving lighter weight products, belt systems have a place in most material handling configurations.
Belt systems feature a long, looped belt that sits atop a metal slider belt substructure or an array of non-powered rollers. Motor driven pulleys turn the belt and move items down the conveyor line.
Conveyor belts can be configured with a variety of surfaces and materials according to the purpose and nature of the conveyor. To illustrate, a conveyor belt surface may be perfectly smooth in areas where products need to be pushed off the line and may have a gripping texture on segments where items must be moved up slopes.
Despite the long and successful history of belt conveyors, newer roller conveyors offer a host of advantages in many modern material handling applications.
Principal among these, roller systems can enable accumulation of products on the line where belt systems cannot. This is a meaningful contrast because there are endless scenarios where items must slow down and accumulate in material handling designs. Accumulation processes are often used when products must be temporarily halted before being relayed to sorters or palletizers.
Many roller systems also have the capability to monitor objects on the line and apply zero pressure accumulation, meaning none of the amassed objects come into contact as they slow down and finally stop.
Roller systems are comprised of several cylindrical rollers that are usually powered in one of three different ways:
- Line-shaft conveyors: in a line shaft conveyor, a long steel rod runs underneath the cylinders at a right angle to them and is connected to each cylinder with flexible O-rings. A drive mechanism spins the shaft, and thereby drives the rollers by way of the attached O-rings. Line-shaft configurations are the least costly of all roller style conveyors, but they may also need the most maintenance because the connections between the shaft and rollers tend to need adjustment and often break.
- Belt-driven roller conveyors: As you would surmise from the name, belt-driven roller conveyors are powered by a belt that sits beneath the roller surface. A motor powers the belt, which advances the rollers.
- MDR conveyors: Motorized roller conveyors, often referred to as motor-driven roller (MDR) systems, are built in sections where only one cylinder from each section is powered by it’s own motor. That solitary powered cylinder is connected to the adjacent rollers in that segment by way of flexible O-rings, and consequently drives all the rollers in the segment. Powered units are placed in succession to create the conveyor line.
MDR systems are known for their energy efficiency because: a.) they typically are powered by 24 volt DC motors and b.) the motors are configured to run only when an object is present on the rollers, and as a result they are idle throughout much of the day.
Although motorized roller conveyers cost more than belt drive and line-shaft systems, electricity expenses and service outlays are usually far lower than the other options mentioned.
- Segmented belt conveyor: the principle of MDR systems ultimately inspired the idea of segmented belt conveyors. Similar to MDR conveyors, segmented belts function individually and offer many of the same advantages of MDRs, including accumulation capacity.
Powered Pallet Handling Conveyors
Powered pallet-handling conveyors are quite often coupled with AS/RS systems and automatic palletizers. Pallet handling conveyors can usually deal with loads of up to 2 tons and proceed at a much slower pace than package handling conveyors, sometimes at speeds as low as four pallets per minute.
Pallet-handling conveyors come in two types: chain conveyors and roller conveyors.
- Pallet-handling chain conveyor: perhaps the most basic of all conveyor methods, pallets on a chain conveyor line sit directly on two or more lengths of heavy duty chain. A drive mechanism advances the lengths of chain which in turn move the pallets along the line.
- Pallet-handling roller conveyor: similar in concept to MDR systems, pallet handling roller conveyors use larger rollers and sturdy chains to connect the powered cylinder to the rest of the rollers in a conveyor section.
Roller or skatewheel systems are the conventional types of non-powered conveyors used in material handling. Non-powered rollers or skatewheels use inertia and gravity to advance smaller items though pick modules, warehouses, workstations, automated sorters, package sorting areas and loading docks.
Skatewheel systems are made up of many individual wheels and require minimal energy to maintain the inertia of products as they move down a conveyor line. In general, they move objects quicker than non-powered roller conveyors and they have more versatility when it comes to configuration. Considering they’re separate wheels instead of a belt, they are often used in curvilinear segments of a conveyor arrangement.
Typically non-powered roller systems are less costly than skatewheel conveyor systems. They’re frequently used for pick modules, workstations, and other areas where it’s beneficial to maintain a level platform to work on. Roller conveyors may also be utilized to decelerate items that originate from higher speed systems like sorters so that employees can keep pace with conveyor output.
Non-powered skatewheel and roller systems have a serious liability compared to powered systems: by using inertia and gravity to move materials you forego the option to regulate the force applied to those materials. In other words, you have very little influence on the speed and inertia of items on your conveyor line.
Conveyor Companies Near Me
If you’d like a full analysis of conveyor system possibilities for your Denver storage facility, distribution center or other material handling operation, talk to a professional at Welch Equipment.
5025 Nome St
Denver, CO 80239
Serving Arvada, Aurora, Boulder, Brighton, Broomfield, Castle Rock, Centennial, Columbine , Commerce City, Denver, Englewood, Federal Heights, Golden, Greenwood Village, Highlands Ranch, Lafayette, Lakewood, Littleton, Longmont, Louisville, Northglenn, Parker, Superior, Thornton, Westminster, Wheat Ridge