How Do I Choose The Right Conveyor Belt?
Choosing the right conveyor belt for your application can be of significant importance, and there are a number of factors that come into play that will determine which one is right for you. In this guide we look at some of the considerations to help give you a better idea on what to look for.
A conveyor belt is used across many industry types from transportation, material handling, assembly lines (such as the production of cars), and distribution. One of the most popular and public places you can see conveyor belts in use is at airports. They help convey many types of materials from small such as grains, to large such as ship propellers. Over the years it has made moving materials much easier, and helped a smooth and constant flow.
Selecting a Conveyor Belt for Your Application
Conveyor Belt Material
Let’s look at the conveyor belt from a material aspect to begin with. Did you know that conveyor belts come in various types of material? Your standard and most popular being rubber, but you can also get nylon, metal, polyester, and silicone conveyor belts. Which should you get? This depends on what you need to use it for; if you are carrying across heavy goods then something such as steel would be a great belt. Foods or packaging, you could look at the silicone and polyethylene types of conveyor belt. Generally rubber is chosen a lot because of its flexibility.
Conveyor Belt Size
Dimensions such as your length and width are a major factor depending on what you are looking to carry across the belt. This will also rule in and rule out some belt materials. Make sure the belt caters to the dimensions of what will be on it.
Conveyor Belt Weighting
Have you weighed the items that will be carried across the belt? Again this will rule out some belt types. Are you carrying something small and heavy, or something large and light? Or vice-versa. Some belts may warp, bend or fail if the item on top is too heavy for the belt you have.
Conveyor Belt Incline or Decline
Another overlooked factor is whether you need a decline or incline. Will you be carrying large items up a conveyor belt? If so you will need a conveyor belt material that has some grip, especially if your product is heavy. In some cases you may also need a stopper to keep things firmly in place. Another consideration you may want to put some thought in.
Other considerations can include whether the product has sharp edges that may damage your conveyor belt, whether the item you are conveying is super-hot, or super-cold. The shape of the building you are looking at introducing your conveyor system to can also impact the system you require. Circular conveyors provide excellent flexibility and maximum use of space. These little overlooked elements all play a wider part in which conveyor belt is best for you.
What Are The Most Common Types of Industrial Conveyors?
Whether it’s being used for in the production line for a car manufacturer, or to move bottles around a warehouse for capping, industrial conveyors come in a variety of different shapes and sizes and have all kinds of important uses.
Generally as a rule of thumb you have floor mounted conveyors and then you have overhead conveyors to maximise floor space and to help move anything from packaging foods to wet spray painting around a warehouse.
So to answer the question posed in the title of this article. These are the main types of conveyor that you will come across in a warehouse environment:
A belt conveyor or conveyor belt as more commonly known is your main type of conveyor. It’s the simplest to use and essentially moves one object from one side of the belt to the other-side at a speed set by the user.
Gravity Roller Conveyor
Instead of a flat belt moving items from one side to another, gravity rollers are a set of rollers that are positioned either side of a conveyor to help objects from one end to another by themselves. To move by themselves the rollers need to be positioned at an angle.
With the first two simple and most common conveyors covered we now look at the more intricate rollers, the first being a chain conveyor that is a slow moving conveyor. The chain conveyor is floor mounted and is used primarily for moving around heavy objects around such as engines, pallets and containers. The chain has three contact points situated on each outer-side and down the middle of the conveyor.
A slat conveyor is very similar in looks to your standard belt conveyor, just replacing the belt with slats. The slat conveyor is also essentially a two-strand chain conveyor with slats connected to the chain. They are ideal for loading and unloading high-temperature ovens, heavy products or dirty and arduous conditions.
The standard overhead conveyor is made up of chain that runs inside the track, to carry objects around a specific course. The overhead conveyor is usually ideal for painting and finishing, as the object can be hung and moved around to dry.
Perfect for items that are long or tall in nature.
Power and Free Conveyors
Also in the overhead conveyor family is the power and free conveyor. It’s like a regular motorized overhead conveyor, except it has two tracks. In one track, the chain is continuously running. In the other track, the trolleys are moved along by the chain with pusher mechanisms. They can start, stop, buffer and re-sequence which makes them a very popular choice of overhead conveyor.
What Are The Types of Material Handling?
What is Material Handling Equipment?
Before we begin to look at the different types of material handling equipment, we thought it would be a good starting point to summarise what material handling is.
Material handling equipment is a broad term that identifies a range of tools, storage units, vehicles and appliances. The equipment is usually found in numerous industry types, to aid in the transporting, storing, controlling, enumerating and the protection of products at any stage of the manufacturing process.
There are 3 main types of material handling, which we have highlighted below.
Storage and Handling Equipment
When we talk of storage and handling equipment we often refer to shelves or racks onto which materials may be stacked in an orderly manner to await transportation or consumption. Usually, this equipment comes into play during down periods in production, or when materials aren’t being transported.
Types of Storage and Handling Equipment
- Pallet racks, drive-through or drive-in racks, push-back racks, and sliding racks.
- Stacking frames.
- Shelves, bins and drawers.
Usually engineering systems are fully automated, compared to the non-automated systems of storage and handling. Shuttle systems are one of the more popular Engineering systems in place, and they work hand-in-hand with storage solutions. For example, the Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems includes many racks, shelves, and storage structures where shuttle systems can locate and retrieve specific products from an inventory. Typically you will see this system in play at the major Amazon warehouses where thousands of orders come in each day and product locating and retrieving is a pivotal part of a smooth flowing business.
Types of Engineering Systems
- Conveyor systems
- Robotic delivery systems
- Automatic Guided Vehicles (AGV)
Bulk Material Handling Equipment
Whether it’s liquid, mineral, food or other, the bulk material handling equipment process uses equipment that can cope with high demands and items in loose form. Typically conveyor belts such as bottle conveyors that have to deal with individual bottles on a large scale basis, is a prime example of how a bulk material handling system works.
Types of Bulk Material Handling Equipment
- Conveyor belts
- Bucket elevators
- Grain elevators
Overhead Trolley Track Systems
Midland Handing Equipment Limited specialise in many Overhead Trolley Track Systems which are designed for rolling applications, from small to large.
What Are Overhead Trolley Track Systems Used For?
There is a wide and varied use for these types of systems, and you will see them appear in many different places. For example, they are used in gyms, warehouses, factories, restaurants, and used for displays.
They are even widely used in sliding doors for buildings, lorries, cabinets and shutters.
The solutions we provide here will help support product lines that need to roll or slide, using an enclosed roll formed track, on structural beams, on round or square tube.
Our team of professionals are on hand to answer any questions that you may have regarding the use of these in your applications. So to learn more about how our Overhead Trolley Track Systems can help you, please contact us today for a quick chat.
The Importance of Precision Engineering in the Manufacturing Industry
Without precision engineering, the modern manufacturing industry would be completely different today. Manual manufacturing has many shortcomings like the low tolerance for deviations in measurements and the demand to produce numerous exact components is also another requirement that manual manufacturing cannot handle. Precision engineering is best equipped to handle the fine requirements of technology and guarantee simultaneous and mass production of components.
Modern machinery requires more precise requirements and measurements which calls for even more precise requirements for the machinery used to make the components. The tiny parts inside a smartphone are a good example. They require high precision and are produced in high quantities which requires more advanced machinery compared to what was used to make the printing press back in the day.
Unlike manual manufacturing, precision engineering relies on computer programs that dictate the processes with incredibly high accuracy to within 5 microns. Even better is that these systems are able to mass reproduce the same components with the same accuracy over and over again. This makes mass manufacturing easier even with tiny and complex parts.
How is Precision Engineering Used?
A 3D image of the component being made on the precision machine is first made to make sure that pinpoint accuracy is achieved. The 3D image is fed into a software programme which calculates the movements, angles, and cuts to make sure the cut is according to the design required. The software also makes sure that the same angles, movements, and cuts can be repeated many times without deviation.
Precision engineering has a lot to do with some of the machines that are available in the manufacturing industry today and there are plenty of benefits associated with precision engineering in the manufacturing industry. Some of these advantages include;
Prolonged running life
There is less wear and tear and fatigue when the components of a machine are created with precision. The don’t rub and collide with each other which allows the machine and its components to run longer and enjoy an extended lifespan which is not the same case with parts that have been manufactured manually.
Precision engineering can lower the initial costs and the running costs. With a longer running life and less maintenance required because of the accuracy with which the parts are made, reworking, scrapping, and a waste of components is reduced. The ability to mass produce with the same accuracy and quality also reduces the time required and fewer inspections are done. The quality of components is uniform and for a business, this means better and higher profit margins.
With mass production, even a slight error can translate into millions of customer complaints and dissatisfaction. This can cost your business heavily in reimbursements to the unhappy customers and might also affect the reputation of your business. With precision engineering, all components have the same accuracy and quality ensuring reliability on quality and accuracy.
By removing human error, you are able to produce components that are more accurate and safer to use with reduced chances of malfunction or failure that would damage property or cause injury to people. The damage to your brand as a result of injury to people can be very costly as the claims pile up.
Precision engineering ensures safety and high standards are met in the manufacturing industry. It has also been responsible for the creation of machines that would have been impossible to make in the past.
Importance of Conveyors in the Automotive Industry
Conveyors have been an essential part of the automotive industry for many years. As the industry continues to expand and grow, the role played by conveyor system continues to grow. The role and benefits that powered conveyors offer has greatly improved the efficiency of car assembly and most stations are now fitted with custom-made conveyors built to suit that particular station. Here are some of the important roles that conveyors systems play in the different assembly stations and the benefits they have to offer.
Handling of parts
Conveyors have greatly helped in streamlining the assembly process. Different parts can now be moved to the exact point where they are required from one point of the factory to the next. There is no more confusion in moving the parts back and forth which increases the time taken in production and increases the chances of damage to the parts. With conveyors, factories are able to avoid different mistakes and mishaps which include;
- Unnecessary moving of parts due to mix-ups on the floor
- Excessive movement of equipment causing congestion on the floor space
- Damage to parts as a result of constant lifting and handling of the parts
It is also important to note that certain parts of the engine and transmission are incredibly heavy. Lifting such systems from a single or even multiple points can increase chances of damage and compromise safety in the assembly line.
The stop and go motion of a conveyor system are behind the efficiency and smooth operations of the tire fitting station. Conveyors make this process utterly simple and straightforward. In tire handling, the conveyors handle everything from fitting the tires and hubcaps and even tighten the lug nuts. Not only does this cut back on human intervention, it also increases efficiency and cuts back on human error guaranteeing quality and consistency in the station.
Indoor handling, conveyors carry the heaviest load. While workers are tasked with bolting the doors in place, the balancing, and holding of the doors is largely done by conveyors. This allows for easier fitting. Moreover, this balancing and holding of parts are not only limited to car doors in the assembly line. Conveyors are able to also handle other parts while they are being bolted or added to the car like;
- Parts of the engine and the engine assembly
- Installation of windows
- Installation of headlights
- Installation of the passenger/cab compartment
Shelving and Storage
In some assembly lines, parts and even complete cars need to be stored before they can be shipped or taken out for fitting. Conveyors are able to accurately shelve the parts and complete cars according to the specifications required by the factory. This makes it easier to retrieve the right parts and cars without wasting time looking for the particular parts.
For successful vehicle assembly, the factory has to make sure that the fitting is as precise and consistent as possible. Conveyor systems are able to make sure that as the auto parts enter the assembly line as individual pieces, they are able to leave the factory as finished products with precision and accuracy.
Growth Expected In Automated Material Handling Equipment By 2023
The need for automated Material Handling Equipment is on the rise. We are currently living in a world controlled by machinery which is why it’s not surprising that a recent report has shown the growth is expected in the industry of automated material handling equipment by 2023, an annual growth rate of 7.8% between 2017 and 2023. According to the report, machines have seen a significant upward trend in productivity and efficiency as well as product quality in material handling.
Equipment that is automated has proven its efficiency over the years in handling large loads quickly and eliminating the human error aspect. The growth is due to the dependability of such machines as well as the adoption of the equipment in homes, such as lifts and AI. Looking over the years there has been a reduction in labour costs through the advance in machinery, higher safety standards of workers on the production floor, the e-commerce industry has risen which all collates to the rising need for automated material handling equipment.
Here at Midland Handling Equipment, we use design bespoke automated material handling equipment for multiple industries across the globe to help companies make the most out of their time and money.
Rise in the need for Automated Machines
As well as cutting costs, improving quality and reducing waste having automated machines are space savers and can operate in complex material handling requirements without human intervention. Industries across the world are utilising the use of automated machines from e-commerce companies to waste disposal companies. E-commerce companies are using material handling equipment to shorten the delivery time of products and organisation in warehouses.
The use of automated material handling equipment prevents damage of auto parts and reduces the cost of unproductive labour hours in handling inventory, so get in touch with us here at Midland Handling Equipment today!
Midland install bottle conveyor for Saint Gobain, Atlanta, Georgia.
Midland Handling Equipment have just finished installing a 150m Omnitrak light conveyor system at Saint Gobain’s bottle coating facility in Georgia, USA. The Omnitrak is a specially designed inverted bottle conveyor with a narrow pitch of 50mm for maximum product capacity. This system includes powered sprocket rotators to spin the bottles during the coating process. The bottles are sprayed with a unique type of glass coatings before being conveyed into an oven for curing. This type of bottle coating is becoming ever so popular due to its efficiency and cost saving benefits over producing coloured glass. This is the tenth bottle conveyor Midland have sold to Saint Gobain for this process. Saint Gobain also have 2 overhead chain conveyors at their pipelines facility in Telford, UK.
Midland complete massive JCB Power and Free conveyor in new Heavy Products Plant
Midland Handling have completed the installation and commissioning of 3 new conveyor systems at JCB’s new Heavy Products plant in Uttoxeter.
Midland installed 3 new 406TCHD Power and Free conveyors designed to carry loads of an incredible 8 tonnes around a total of 910m of circuit length. Incorporated throughout the circuit were a number of lift section for loading products onto the track, which added particular challenges for Midland as the main track height was at an incredible 8m high.
Midland won the contract through George Koch and Sons of Europe who managed the whole project from erection of the actual unit to providing all plant and paint equipment.