Overview of Conveyors
18th November 2020
Conveyors are durable and reliable components used in automated distribution and warehousing, as well as manufacturing and production facilities. In combination with computer-controlled pallet handling equipment this allows for more efficient retail, wholesale, and manufacturing distribution. It is considered a labor-saving system that allows large volumes to move rapidly through a process, allowing companies to ship or receive higher volumes with smaller storage space and with less labor expense.
Belt conveyors are the most commonly used powered conveyors because they are the most versatile and the least expensive. Products are conveyed directly on the belt so both regular and irregular shaped objects, large or small, light and heavy, can be transported successfully. Belt conveyors are also manufactured with curved sections that use tapered rollers and curved belting to convey products around a corner. These conveyor systems are commonly used in postal sorting offices and airport baggage handling systems.
Belt conveyors are generally fairly similar in construction consisting of a metal frame with rollers at either end of a flat metal bed. Rubber conveyor belts are commonly used to convey items with irregular bottom surfaces, small items that would fall in between rollers (e.g. a sushi conveyor bar), or bags of product that would sag between rollers. The belt is looped around each of the rollers and when one of the rollers is powered (by an electrical motor) the belting slides across the solid metal frame bed, moving the product. In heavy use applications, the beds in which the belting is pulled over are replaced with rollers. The rollers allow weight to be conveyed as they reduce the amount of friction generated from the heavier loading on the belting. The exception to the standard belt conveyor construction is the Sandwich Belt conveyor. The Sandwich Belt conveyor uses two conveyor belts, instead of one. These two conventional conveyor belts are positioned face to face, to firmly contain the items being carried in a "sandwich-like" hold.
Belt conveyors can be used to transport products in a straight line or through changes in elevation or direction. For conveying Bulk Materials like Grains, Ore, Coal, Sand etc., over gentle slopes or gentle curvatures, a troughed belt conveyor is used. The trough of the belt ensures that the flowable material is contained within the edges of the belt. The trough is achieved by keeping the idler rollers in an angle to the horizontal at the sides of the idler frame. A Pipe Conveyor is used for material travel paths that require sharper bends and inclines up to 35 degrees. A pipe conveyor features the edges of the belt being rolled together to form a circular section like a pipe. Like a Troughed Belt Conveyor, a Pipe Conveyor also uses idler rollers. However, in this case, the idler frame completely surrounds the conveyor belt helping it to retain the pipe section while pushing it forward. In the case of travel paths requiring high angles and snake-like curvatures, a Sandwich Belt is used. The sandwich belt design enables materials carried to travel along a path of high inclines up to 90-degree angles, enabling a vertical path as opposed to a horizontal one. This transport option is also powered by idlers.
Other important components of the Belt Conveying System apart from the Pulleys and Idler rollers include the Drive Arrangement of reducer Gear Boxes, Drive motors, and associated couplings. Scrapers to clean the belt, Chutes for controlling the discharge direction, Skirts for containing the discharge on the receiving belt, Take Up assembly for "tensioning" the belt and Technological Structures like Stringer, Short Post, Drive Frames, Pulley Frames make up the balance items to complete the Belt Conveying system. In certain applications, Belt conveyors can also be used for static accumulation or cartons.
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