A conveyor systems is used in many industry as a standard piece of mechanical handling equipment to move products.

The growth of conveyor systems

conveyor system

Conveyor systems have played a key role in creating the modern world. While their importance is rarely recognized, it was the humble conveyor that helped to power the industrial revolution and makes all manner of processes possible today.

Examples of belt conveyor systems can be found in manufacturing from the late eighteenth century onwards. The early examples were simplistic, using gravity or even manpower, as a way to move items more easily. The British Royal Navy are thought to be the first to use a powered conveyor. Developed in 1804, their steam-powered conveyor system equipment formed part of the production line for ships’ biscuits.

It was more than 100 years until the most famous early adopter, though, when Henry Ford implemented a conveyor belt system which helped reduce the production time of the iconic Model T to just one-and-a-half hours.

Conveyor systems have undergone continuous development since then. And while the basics have not changed, conveyor belt systems can now be incredibly sophisticated. Helping to manage and control the flow of products or materials, they are an integral part in a product’s life, from moving raw materials at the start, to when they are sorted for waste or recycling at the end of their life.

Types of belt conveyor systems

The versatility of conveyor system equipment means that there could be a different type of conveyor for almost every possible use. However, some types are more commonly seen than others, and it’s possible to broadly categorize them into floor and overhead systems.

Floor systems will include the traditional conveyor, a simple belt running on rollers to move things from A to B. These are usually fixed in some way, often as part of a factory or manufacturing process. Although some conveyors will have moveable elements, for example when used for loading or unloading, to minimize the need for carrying.

Floor conveyors can also include roller systems, which may be powered or use gravity, to pass things over rollers. More specialist types may include bucket conveyors, where the belt includes buckets that mean it can carry materials up inclines, or control their descent. There are also screw, or augur, conveyors, which use a screw design in a sealed or semi-sealed unit to move loose materials, like seeds.

Overhead conveyor systems work on a similar principle, typically with a chain looped around to provide a track. These can have the benefit of taking up less floor space, and are often more flexible when it comes to managing corners, making it the ideal conveyor system equipment for restricted spaces.

In these examples, carriers, ranging from simple hooks to complex containers, will be connected to the chain, which may be powered or simply allow for easy manual movement. This type of conveyor belt system is most often used in manufacturing, where it ensures parts are moved in the same orientation, and any paint can dry without contact damage.

Where are conveyor systems used?

To put it simply, belt conveyor systems are used wherever things need moving. However, there are some specific uses to which conveyors are well suited.

The first is in situations that require a constant flow of material, for example in industrial manufacturing. Here, a conveyor is ideal for ensuring a constant flow of materials, from raw material to fuel, to keep the process ongoing.

The second is in situations where there is a consistent, but for some reason difficult, journey that needs to be made. This might be in a factory, where workers at different stations perform different tasks. Here conveyor systems save additional labor, which might get in the way or slow the process, from having to move the product. Alternatively, it might be a difficult journey, for example from a quarry to a processing facility, where, once installed, conveyor system equipment can easily shift material on a route that might be dangerous for other methods of transportation.

The benefits of using belt conveyor machine

Like any industrial system, it’s important that the belt conveyor system used is appropriate for the task, but once installed, they quickly prove their worth.

The most obvious benefit is that they are incredibly hard-working! Belt Conveyor machine can largely be left to run, constantly delivering as needed, often at high volumes that simply could not be matched by other transportation methods.

They are also fairly low maintenance. They are designed for industrial use, and that recognizes that any downtime the conveyor system equipment has is costly. Many are therefore designed for constant running and with designs that allow for quick and easy repair when required.

Finally, they are surprisingly versatile. While the traditional view of conveyor systems of is a single belt working in a straight line, conveyors can be installed in almost any location, navigating bends and tight tunnels, to get materials exactly where they need to be.

How to maintain conveyor equipment

Like any equipment, even a low maintenance belt conveyor system will need some care. As noted, they are generally designed to run without requiring too much intervention, but their trouble-free life can be greatly extended with a few simple steps.

The most important people will be the conveyor system equipment operators, who should always be alert to things not quite running as they should. Anything like unusual sounds or smells, or materials building up where they shouldn’t, should be investigated urgently. This should be supplemented with a daily visual inspection, looking out for signs of damage or wear and tear.

And, like any machinery, there should be a routine of more through inspections. Exactly what this will look like will depend on the conveyor systems in use, taking account of the environment and any risks, to develop a practice servicing schedule. However, when used within their operating parameters, conveyor systems will provide a long-life of service, never failing to deliver what is needed to where it is needed.

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