Keep things moving with a conveyor system

Conveyor belts are used in a wide variety of settings, from manufacturing facilities and shipping docks to airports and grocery stores. Industrial conveyors are primarily used for operational efficiency and quality control, and conveyor systems also provide convenience and reduce the need for demanding physical labor.

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At their simplest, conveyors use multiple pulleys and looped belts affixed to wheels to facilitate the movement of in-process materials, parcels, boxes and other goods. Today, though, there are many more complex conveyor systems available to businesses and industries with unique material handling needs.

Types of Conveyors

Conveyor systems include everything from manual rollers and power-assisted belts to bulk handling and industrial machinery designed to handle particularly large or heavy items. Here's a closer look at the various conveyor systems available:

  • Roller conveyors. Simple, inexpensive roller conveyor systems feature guided tracks with wheels positioned across their width at regular intervals. They are typically constructed with a gradual downward incline to facilitate easier movement of items. Cable conveyors are more sophisticated systems that use many of the same design principles as roller conveyors.
  • Conveyor belts. Most conveyor belts look like roller conveyors, except with flat panels of rubber in place of the wheels. These panels are sealed, creating a continuous surface which is electrically powered.
  • Industrial conveyors. While most regular conveyor belts lay flat, industrial conveyors can be oriented in alternative positions, including vertically, at a slight incline or at a slight decline. They also allow you to control the rate of product transport. Vertical conveyors are one of the most commonly used examples.
  • Bulk conveyors. A typical bulk conveyor is like a heavy-duty conveyor belt that is capable of handling much heavier weights and large or varied sizes.

Components of Conveyor Systems

Simple roller conveyors have relatively few parts, limiting themselves to tracks, rollers and flat belts. More complex systems have greater numbers of working parts and are usually outfitted with automated controls and monitoring systems. Belt drives, sprockets, chains, O-ring belts and pneumatic components are used in many specialized conveyor systems, and it is important that you always ensure the entire system is in good working order. Injuries and costly efficiency and materials losses can result from the misuse of an industrial conveyor.