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How To Select a Skatewheel Gravity Conveyor

20th December 2018

Gravity skate wheel conveyors are primarily used in shipping departments, stocking areas and assembly lines to transport lightweight packages with firm flat bottoms. Compared to gravity roller conveyor, skatewheel conveyors are generally only used for light duty work where quick set-up and tear-down are required. Typical items moved include cartons, totes, cases, etc.

While there are many sizes and configurations available, a standard skate wheel conveyor is produced using 2-1/2" steel or aluminum channel with a 1" flange. The individual wheels have an outside diameter of 1-15/16" and can be made from zinc plated steel, aluminum or black plastic nylon.

To determine the correct congiuration, the footprint (size of conveyed surface) and weight of the smallest and largest package must be known. With this information, the following can be determined: wheel density, overall width, frame and wheel material and floor supports.

Skate wheel conveyor "rolls" more easily than roller conveyor allowing for lighter packages and less slope. For skatewheel conveyors there must be a minimum of three axles and five wheels under the load at all times. Wheel density is described as skate wheels per foot. The wheel density must provide enough wheels under the load so that the total wheel capacity exceeds the maximum load. Many wheel density configurations offered so that even the smallest package can be transported.

Often curves will determine the width of the conveyor system as the product requires additional space to negotiate the turn. The additional space required depends upon the length and width of the product being conveyed. Compared to other types of conveyors, the individual skate wheels in the curved sections allow packages to follow the path (tracking) of the curve more so than a standard roller conveyor.

If curves are not required add 2" to the width of the largest package that needs to be transported. This measurement will be the overall width of the conveyor system.

Which frame and wheels are needed is based upon the capacity required and how often they will need to be moved. Aluminum frames and wheels will be lighter and easier to move but will support less weight than a comparable steel frame. Steel frames and wheels are usually less expensive and more durable than all aluminum construction. Keep in mind that the frame must be capable of supporting both the conveyed items as well as the weight of the conveyor itself. Frame capacities are given for both 5' and 10' support centers. If the frame capacity is not enough to support the required load, more supports or a different solution will be required.

The weight of the conveyed items and the weight of the conveyor must also be considered when selecting floor supports. The nominal height of the support is to the bottom of the conveyor frame and most supports have adjustable heights. Either H-stand supports (permanent installation) or tripods (temporary set-up) may be selected. There should be at least two supports under a 10' section but more may be added to increase capacity.

In summary, skatewheel conveyors are a great choice for areas that need to move lightweight packages with firm flat bottoms.

FROM:Ashland Conveyor Products