Conveyors are a type of material handling equipment which assists in
moving products, packages, foods or equipment from one place inside a
facility to another, or through various stages of automated
manufacturing or finishing. Because conveyors move such a broad range of
items, different conveyor configurations are available to meet the
material handling needs of manufacturers and distributors everywhere.
Belt conveyors are the most common, followed by chain conveyors, roller
conveyors, spiral conveyors, overhead conveyors, vertical conveyors and
conveyor systems, which may use combinations of many different conveyor
Conveyors are usually motorized, but some conveyor types, such as ball transfer and chute, are gravity conveyors. Pneumatic conveyors also assist in transporting materials, but these tubular air-powered conveyors specialize in bulk powder solid transportation, a different type of conveying. Manufacturers and package handlers in almost every industry make use of various types of conveyors or conveyor systems, especially food conveyors and industrial conveyors, to transport parts, products and packages through various processing systems.
The most typical conveyor is the belt conveyor, which consists of a wide polymer or rubber belt wrapped around rollers which turn in the same direction, giving the belt and all objects on the belt linear movement. This same construction is used with chain conveyors, except that chains are wrapped around the wheels instead of a belt; chain conveyors may move products along one chain or multiple parallel chains. These are the most common conveyor types, being used for general product movement in food processing, packaging and parts manufacturing industries to transport items or to move unfinished products through various stages of processing. Chain conveyors utilizes parallel horizontal chains to move materials through a conveyor system and from one place inside a facility to another, or through various stages of automated manufacturing or finishing. Chain conveyors are commonly used to move parts such as powdered metal parts through ovens for sintering or drying, or to move unfinished metal parts through parts washing processes.
Roller conveyors are commonly used in these industries as well, using individual rollers placed parallel to one another to provide movement. Vertical conveyors are configured with platforms, buckets, grippers or magnets around moving belts or chains, which lift items from one level to another; although not as common, vertical conveyors can be crucial in facilities where it is necessary to safely transport food items or parts vertically. Parts manufacturers frequently use overhead conveyors to transport parts and products across a facility and/or through processing systems such as spray paint booths, dryers or ovens. Conveyor systems combine many or all of these conveyor types to transport products across a facility or to move unfinished products through automated assembly lines or finishing processes. While most conveyors are powered by electric or pneumatic motors and drive systems, some conveyors are propelled by gravity; roller conveyors are often moved by the inertia of products or packages rolling over them, a design typically used in downward spiral conveyors.
Conveyor and conveyor system manufacturers are creating innovative solutions to new manufacturing challenges every day. All conveyors may twist, turn and travel vertically up and down floors to transfer items. As a result, modern conveyor systems are equipped not only to move parts across horizontal and vertical distances, but also to curve, divert, lift and sort products and packages as part of complete automated systems. These types of advanced conveying processes are done by brushes, magnets, automated levers, rails and even simple gravity. Packaging industries have designed conveyor systems pre-programmed to sort specific boxes into separate chutes, and automated food processing conveyors can handle and sort the most delicate fruits and vegetables using sensors and robotic handlers. When integrated with robotic processing, conveyors and conveyor systems become powerful processing tools.
Conveyor Manufacturers - Fori Automation
Conveyor Manufacturers - Fori Automation
Conveyor Manufacturers - Metzgar Conveyors
Food Conveyor Manufacturers - Flexicon
Conveyor Manufacturers - Metzgar Conveyors
Conveyor Manufacturers - Metzgar Conveyors
Conveyor System Types
- Accumulating conveyors allow for the collection of materials at a given point on the conveyor line, and are common in grouping and sorting operations.
- Automated conveyor systems perform conveying functions automatically, instead of through manual operation, saving time and reducing labor costs.
- Ball transfer conveyors are a type of material handling system that facilitates omni-directional manual transportation.
- Belt conveyors use a belt to transport materials through the conveying system. Belt conveyors are common in moving light to medium material loads.
- Chain conveyors use parallel horizontal chains to move materials through a conveyor system. Chain conveyors are useful when moving bulky materials, but they sometimes produce an inconsistent flow, need to be lubricated and can be loud.
- Chain roller conveyors are conveyors that have tread rollers attached to the sprockets, and are driven by a chain.
- Conveyor systems are a type of material handling equipment which assists in moving products from one place inside a facility to another and may involve one type of conveyor or a combination of many different conveyor types.
- Decline conveyors are conveyors that move at a downward angle.
- Food conveyors are material transferring systems that are specifically designed for use in the food processing and beverage industries to handle both raw and cooked food items that are mass produced.
- Gravity conveyors are conveyors in which objects are manually advanced by gravity, used in applications that require ease of rotation, transportation and accumulation of cartons, boxes and bags.
- Incline conveyors are conveyors that move at an upward angle.
- Industrial conveyors are material handling systems that are fixed and permanent and transport packages, boxes, food, raw materials, products, parts and equipment from one facility location to another or through various stages of automated manufacturing or finishing.
- Material handling conveyors are industrial equipment that are fixed and permanent systems that move and transfer packages, boxes, food, raw materials, products, parts and equipment from one facility location to another or through various stages of an assembly line.
- Overhead conveyors provide continuous movement of materials overhead, as opposed to standard floor conveying systems. Overhead conveyors save space and are common for moving materials around an industrial facility.
- Pallet conveyors consist of portable platforms called pallets that move parts to different locations between industrial operations.
- Reversible conveyors are conveyors capable of moving in both directions.
- Roller conveyors use round rotating parts called rollers to transport material through the conveying system. Roller conveyers are common in accumulating materials and in converging conveyor systems, in which separate conveyor lines join to form a single conveying line.
- Slat conveyors are conveyors that use steel or wooden slats mounted on roller chains to transport products.
- Spiral conveyors can use belts or slats to vertically move packages, boxes, food products and other individual items or parcels, or they can be an enclosed screw which transports loose bulk particles vertically.
- Vertical conveyors move materials up or down instead of traditional horizontal movement, and are common in applications with limited available space. Reciprocal vertical conveyors move materials up or down and return to the initial starting point; continuous vertical conveyors move materials to different levels without returning to the initial point.
Conveyor System Terms
Axle - A non-rotating shaft that wheels and rollers are mounted on in a conveyor system.
Bag Flattener - An assembly that holds one conveyor upside-down over another to squeeze or flatten the product.
Bearing - A mechanism on which a conveyor shaft rotates that prevents the rubbing together of the bed and the shaft.
Bed - Conveyor component on which the materials to be conveyed are placed.
Belt - Elastic band wrapped around the conveyor pulley that transmits the motion necessary for the movement of materials between two points.
Belt Scraper - Brush that removes excess material stuck to the conveyor belt.
Belt Speed - Measurement indicating the amount of conveyor belt moving in a specified period of time.
Brake Motor - A device on the motor shaft that is engaged when the electric current fails.
Brake Rollers - Roller conveyor brakes that control the movement of conveyed materials through pneumatic or mechanical power.
Casters - Wheels that make the conveyor portable.
Ceiling Hangers - Rods that hang from the ceiling and support the conveyors to free up floor space.
Center Drive - A drive assembly mounted on the conveyor, usually underneath and in the center, used for reverses and incline applications.
Cleat - Mechanism fastened to a conveyor to help control the movement of materials.
Cleated Belt - A belt with raised sections that helps stabilize the flow of material on belts operating on inclines. These can be part of the belt or fastened on.
Clutch-Brake Drive - A drive that is used to stop the conveyor belt immediately without cutting off the supply of power.
Clutch Drive - A drive used to disengage the motor from the reducer without stopping it or cutting off the power.
Converging - A section where two conveyors meet and merge into one.
Cross Bracing - Rods that are placed diagonally over the conveyor in order to help in squaring frames, useful for tracking.
Drive - A motor and other parts that collectively produce the power necessary for conveyor movement.
Drive Pulley - Pulley responsible for conveyor belt movement. This is attached to the conveyor drive shaft.
Feeder - A conveyor that is designed to control the rate of delivery of objects.
Flow - A term for the direction of travel on a conveyor.
Frame - A structural conveyor system component that provides the main support for the network of machinery that makes up the conveyor system.
Horsepower - A measure of the time rate of doing work.
Infeed End - The part of the conveyor that is nearest the loading zone.
Intermediate Bed - The part of the conveyor that is in the middle and does not contain the tail or drive assemblies.
Lacing - What is used to attach segments of belts together.
Magnetic Starter - An electrical device that controls the motor and provides overload protection.
Motor - A machine that is used to transfer electrical energy into mechanical energy.
Nose Roller - Small roller on a power belt curve conveyor that reduces the gap at the transfer points.
Overhead Drive - A drive assembly that is mounted over the conveyor belt and allows clearance for the product.
Plow - A device that is placed across the path of a conveyor at a certain angle and is used to discharge or deflect objects.
Pop-Out Roller - A roller used to aid in transfer, set in a wide groove to allow it to eject if an object comes between it and the belt.
Powered Feeder - A part of a belt conveyor that is used to move products horizontally onto an incline conveyor.
Pressure Roller - In a belt driven live roller conveyor, a roller used for holding the driving belt in contact with the load carrying rollers.
Pulley - Wheel mechanism that controls the movement, speed and direction of materials. These contain a bore or a groove to which the conveyor is attached.
Pusher - A device that is used for diverting a product from one conveyor line to another line or chute.
Roller - A round part that revolves around the outer surface of a conveyor. These can be straight, tapered or crowned, and serve as the rolling support for the load being conveyed.
Roller Bed - An assembly of rollers over which products move on a roller conveyor.
Shaft - Bar responsible for the transmission of force to the support of materials on the conveyor.
Slider Bed - The surface on which the belt conveyor slides.
Slug Mode - A mode that allows all packages to be released simultaneously.
Throughput - Amount of material conveyed in a specific amount of time.
Tracking - The act of steering the belt to maintain the desired path.
Transfer - A device that is used to move products at right angles to adjacent or parallel conveyor lines.
Turnbuckle - Link that has a screw thread at both ends, and is used for tightening the rod, normally in cross-bracing.
Turning Wheel - A wheel that helps ensure proper package orientation.