Ball Transfer Conveyors
Ball transfer conveyors are a type of material handling system that facilitates omnidirectional manual transportation. They use a large number of fixed rolling balls to transport products instead of a conveyor belt or chain. These conveyors efficiently move boxes, packages, products, materials and parts that have flat bottoms and are heavy to lift. The ball sizes are usually comparable to pool balls and are made of either steel or nylon depending on the fragility of the products being moved.
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Design of Ball Transfer Conveyors
Ball transfer conveyors utilize metallic balls in order to facilitate the material handling process. Because the products and packages that ball transfer conveyors move tend to be extremely heavy, the metal balls are commonly manufactured from steel that is often alloyed, case-hardened or treated with black oxide finish for desired characteristics such as increased strength and weight capacity. The balls and casings are easily replaceable and assembled in rails, which may be arranged in different patterns, depending on the specific application and designated route of the transfer system. A circle in the middle allows rotating during transfer, and the ball direction may change directions by forming an L shape. Ball transfer conveyors that have many balls close together are better-suited for moving heavier objects. The balls are also mounted differently from conveyor to conveyor, and some of the many different mounting styles include: stud, flange, machine press, pipe, round, disk, bolt down and press-in mountings. Ball transfer conveyor systems offer smooth transfer of objects without much friction, which decreases the possibility of wear. Although some manual labor is required, workers simply have to move the boxes and products along without using much force.
Applications of Ball Transfer Conveyors
Within Ball Transfer Conveyors, each ball sits atop smaller balls, which are encased in a cup and may hold about 50 pounds at a time. Ball transfer conveyors may stand alone as a transfer unit between conveyors or a table. Ball transfer tables are used at workstations for rotating the products being manufactured in any direction. They may also serve as a component in a large conveyor handling system. Presses, guillotines, assembly lines, warehouses, factories, manufacturing and packaging facilities and The Postal Service all use ball transfer conveyors, especially when the products being moved need to rotate or turn easily. They may be easily washed down, and are chemical, water and erosion resistant.