It’s no secret that manufacturing plays a vital role in the world’s economy. And, of course, conveyor equipment is an integral part of many of these operations. Conveyors often improve productivity, quality, and overall output, and these systems come in many configurations to work within the industry.
But, how does an expert decide what configuration is best? Depending on the products being manufactured, a material handling system may be light duty, medium duty, or heavy duty depending on takt time or specific application. Because needs in the manufacturing industry vary greatly, it is important to know which conveyors are best for your facility to optimize your business strategy.
Conveyors for use in manufacturing may feature fabric or plastic belts to stabilize products. The belts move and support the flow of items. From inventory to packaging, the actions are limitless. These belts may be supported by steel slider pans, or rollers when the application is designed is to keep horsepower demands to a minimum.
While belted conveyors are popular and traditionally thought of by the general public, live roller conveyors are utilized just as much in manufacturing. Roller conveyors may be the choice over belt conveyors when the product being conveyed is somewhat rigid in form such as corrugate cartons, plastic totes, or rigid items that need no support.
Other conveyors in manufacturing may be in the form of heavy-duty rollers drag-chain style conveyors. These conveyors serve the purpose of handling pallet loads for storage or for loading pallets for shipping.
Accumulation conveyors are often used in manufacturing. These conveyors are able to start and stop individual products on-demand based on preconfigured logic. This feature is either integrated into the conveyor or housed with programmable logic controllers at a centralized point. Zero-pressure accumulation conveyors may stage products for assembly operations, or buffer products through labeling applications and robotic palletizing operations. These accumulation conveyors come in sizes and capacities to meet specific application requirements, along with a vast number of other automated applications
Manufacturing operations and automation are broad in their scope of applications. A standard conveyor may be the base of a system, but accessories can fine-tune the application. Examples of these accessories include transfer devices to get products on and off of conveyors, turntables and lift-and-rotate devices to manipulate products during the flow, or in-motion scales for weighing products.
Many companies see safety benefits when implementing these automated systems, and to contribute to product and personal safety, conveyors are often fitted with guide railing to safely contain conveyed products when located overhead to save floor space.
The scope of a manufacturing facility is typically creating and building products. Not only do you need to be able to manufacture your product efficiently, but you need to have a steady flow within the facility. This is one of the many ways conveyor automation can assist. Utilizing conveyors within manufacturing operations provides many profitable rewards including safety and ergonomic benefits. To learn more about equipment options, contact a Hytrol Integration Partner near you.