Warehouse Conveyor Systems
To improve the productivity of a small- or mid-sized distribution center or warehouse, think about installing a warehouse conveyor system. To choose the right one for your warehousing needs, you will need to consider the initial expense, the total cost of ownership, maintenance expenses, energy consumption, throughputs, the noise level, the environment, and who will set it up for you.
In regard to throughput, determine the speed your operation has to achieve. A low-speed option can run 50 to 150 cases every minute, and a high-end model can run at a sustained level of more than 300 cases per minute. In addition, if the parameters of the warehouse may change within a relatively brief period of time, a modular conveyor may be the best choice because you can take it apart and reassemble it with less difficulty than you would have with an older system, and production can be resumed quickly.
The option you choose should enable you to balance your throughput needs, return on investment, and ease of operation. Here are some basic choices to consider:
Skatewheel conveyors come with rows of small metal or aluminum wheels. They have no motor, and are useful in bringing bags, sacks, and cartons down a slope. Skatewheels are ideal for moving items to shipping areas for loading onto delivery trucks, generally in accessible areas for short runs. These are a good choice for smaller warehouses.
Belt conveyors have a motor-powered belt on top of a constructed bed. These are popular because they are cost effective and can be used to convey a wide range of light- and medium-range products (regardless of their shape) throughout the warehouse. They also require little maintenance.
Sliding bed systems, which have an unpainted metal surface sliding along a bed, may be the best choice if you need to move unstable loads at a slow speed. Used to transport small products and odd-shaped items, they can be found in assembly stations and load stations.
Live roller conveyors come with elongated, adjustable rollers over the conveying bed that are powered by line shafts, chains, or belts. They can accommodate heavy loads with solid bottoms and are suitable for use in an unclean or harsh environment.
Accumulation systems are intended for operations that require a buffer or are works in progress. Sensors direct their belts or rollers to start and stop in order to pace cartons without causing a delay in production. Since they need extra motors and controls, they are rather expensive, but this is offset by the flexibility they provide.
You will also want to make sure that your conveyor system is relatively easy to access and repair, so that your warehouse operations will not be seriously affected when maintenance is required. Since the expense in running the operation is also an important factor, note that a belt system is the least expensive, and a high-voltage, motor-driven option usually costs less than the motorized roller-conveyor type.
When making a purchase of a piece of equipment as important as a conveyor belt system, it is highly suggested that you do some research and then talk to a business that can assist you in making the correct purchase that will best suit your needs and expectations based on your budget.