History can’t pinpoint the exact date the conveyor belt was invented and who invented the contraption in question. Although we take it for granted, no production lines would exist without this behemoth of a machine. Over the years, the conveyor system has undergone many iterations and amalgamations to become the power horse we see today.
Step into any factory, and aside from the towering machines, you’ll probably notice a conveyor system or two moving materials from one place to another. A pretty fascinating site if it’s your first time, but an ordinary spectacle for the average factory worker. Aside from the intrigue, there’s a lot of design work, labor, and math that goes into bringing this elaborate machine into existence.
That said, there are also various types of conveyor systems that grace factories all across the country. Keep reading if you’re curious about learning what a conveyor system is and the various types of conveyor systems.
What Is a Conveyor System?
The Encyclopedia Britannica describes the conveyor belt as a device that allows the movement of items, mostly in a factory setting. Another fitting description is that it’s a technology of continuous transportation.
If the above definitions don’t suffice, you can think of it as a mechanical handling contraption that facilitates the fast, efficient, and automatic transportation of goods. In doing so, they reduce the workload, reduce the risk of accidents and injuries, and most importantly, enhance a company’s productivity.
Conveyor systems are great at moving heavy items to and fro and streamlining workflow in a factory. They also minimize human errors, reduce labor costs, and make production faster. Most conveyor systems use rollers, wheels, a belt, or a chain to move the goods.
They are a staple for manufacturing and even automotive industries. That’s because any substitute of a conveyor system would be unreasonably expensive or impractical.
Types of Conveyor Systems
As we mentioned earlier, there are many types of conveyor systems that serve various purposes. Here are some of the main types of conveyor systems.
1. Belt Conveyors
Belt conveyors may be the most common type of conveyor system in industries worldwide. Don’t take our word for it; visit any factory today, and you’re likely to see a belt conveyor in action.
Most people mistakenly call belt conveyors conveyor belts, but they’re not wide off the mark. A conveyor belt is actually the belting part of the conveyor system that carries the goods to and fro. They are among the simplest conveyor systems, but they still get the job done.
Belt conveyors belong to a broad group of conveyor systems known as floor conveyors. The conveyor consists of a steel plate that supports the belt so that when the belt moves, so does the steel plate. Alternatively, closely spaced conveyor rollers can also support the belt so that the rollers move the belt forwards or back.
The steel plate belt conveyor is known as a slider bed conveyor system, while the one with rollers is a roller style belt conveyor.
2. Chain Conveyors
Chain conveyors are another simple conveyor system that’s perfect for small scale heavy-duty factories and production lines. They are excellent for establishments with uneven surfaces and are generally used for carrying heavy loads. The conveyor has two to three contact points with the load that sits directly on the chain.
As the chain moves forward, so does the load. Most factories use them to carry industrial containers or palettes. Most chain conveyors move at slow speeds and are rarely used for production lines. Some of these chain conveyors may have a skid fixture used to mount products on the chain.
3. Slat Conveyor
As the name suggests, a slat conveyor contains slats that connect to a chain. The conveyor consists of two chains strands that carry the slats. It also comprises an elaborate guiding system that directs the slats.
The smooth surface that the slats create is an ideal platform for the installation of fixtures. Depending on the fixtures you install on the slats, some can rotate 90-degrees or 180-degrees. This makes them ideal for assembly operations that are common in automotive factories.
Some industries install robots at the end of these slats for loading and unloading operations. Slat conveyors are complex automated conveyor systems mostly used for industry-specific applications.
4. Motorized Overhead Conveyors
Motorized overhead conveyors or monorails are pretty common with industries across the country. They are common in high volume production plants since they can accommodate various attachments, including large trolleys. Most of these conveyors consist of trolleys connected to a chain.
A motor drives this chain, which subsequently moves the trolley. The motor consists of a gearbox to regulate the speed of the conveyor. Note that the trolleys suspend on the chain and don’t sit on it like the other conveyor systems.
You can attach most fixtures on the conveyor chain, depending on your industry needs. You can settle for an open chain or enclosed track chain for your monorail conveyor.
5. Gravity Roller Conveyors
Gravity roller conveyors are arguably the simplest type of conveyor in terms of technology. As you can tell from the name, gravity conveyors use gravity to move goods from one point to another. Gravity conveyors don’t use power but instead use rollers and gravity to move products over a downward path.
The conveyor uses an inclined runway that allows products to move downwards unassisted to their intended location. The products need sufficient weight to be able to roll down the conveyor. Otherwise, the product will remain stagnant on the conveyor.
There is also another type of gravity roller that consists of a fabricated framework. This framework comprises inclined longitudinal sections. The sections join tubular rollers that rotate, thus pushing the product downwards to its destination.
Pick a Conveyor System That Matches Your Needs
Ensure you choose the right conveyor system that aligns with your particular needs. Also, make sure you find a reputable company for your conveyor installation and also for conveyor parts. Remember, issues with your conveyor equals significant downtime, which means devastating losses for your company.
That said, issues with your conveyor system should be the least of your worries. However, first, you need to contact us to get world-class parts for your conveyor system.
We can keep you moving!
For all of your gravity conveyor needs, contact us.