In the modern day, a conveyor belt works by looping around two or more pulleys, with a continuous band allowing objects to be transported from one location to another. The belt constitutes a closed spiral around the pulleys to keep circling continually. The things being carried are placed on the top side of the belt as it moves. There are often walls along the sides of the belt to prevent objects from falling off.
In simple terms, conveyor belt systems provide an efficient method for moving high volumes of bulky or heavy materials over various types of terrain quickly. They can carry thousands of items per hour between processes or locations. Conveyor belts optimize workflow and production. They also reduce labor costs associated with transporting items manually. With so many advantages, conveyor belt systems are relied upon heavily in manufacturing plants, distribution and fulfillment centers, and more.
There are several significant categories of conveyor belts, differentiated by their design and operation. The main types of conveyor belt systems include:
Belt conveyor systems are the most prevalent type of conveyor available. They feature a broad belt of varying widths capable of safely transporting objects of all sizes and weights. The belt material varies but could be made of rubber, plastic, leather, or a combination of materials. The belt loops around pulleys or drums at each end of the system.
One or more pulleys are powered, moving the belt and the items on it. Belt conveyors are reliable and affordable and can incline, decline, or run long distances horizontally. Belt conveyors can run at variable speeds to optimize the flow of materials for the application. Belts are available in almost any width and length.
Roller bed conveyor belts consist of rollers linked together to form a moving bed. The rollers have a belt running around them that drives the rollers to rotate. This causes the rollers to move the objects placed on the belt along.
Roller bed conveyor belts are perfect for ferrying bulky items efficiently across flat surfaces. They provide continuous movement of materials with minimal effort. Roller bed conveyors can handle weighty loads up to several thousand pounds. The rollers are available in varying sizes and materials for different load capacities.
Incline conveyor belts are angled for transporting materials up or down a slope. The angle or incline allows these conveyor belts to quickly move objects between floors in facilities or operations involving elevation changes.
Using inclined conveyors eliminates the need for other lifting methods. Incline conveyors utilize belt, roller, or chain conveyor designs. Incline conveyors can be engineered at angles up to 60 degrees to achieve considerable vertical rises and drops. Conveyor skirts help contain items on steep incline angles.
Vertical conveyors transport materials between different elevations with a minimal footprint. They operate vertically, using a bucket elevator design or a vertical belt system, for example. Vertical conveyors lift or lower items with much greater vertical distances involved compared to inclined conveyors.
They are ideal for multilevel facilities and operations where only vertical space is available. Vertical conveyors require a small footprint and efficiently connect multiple floors in compact facilities. Bucket elevators gently handle fragile items like foods or pharmaceuticals.
Accumulating conveyors temporarily stop materials on the conveyor, allowing them to accumulate between processes. This conveyor type uses a sensor or release mechanism to stop the flow and facilitate accumulation. Accumulating conveyors create zones where items queue up until they can be moved to the following process efficiently.
They prevent bottlenecks and overloading at various points along the system. Accumulating conveyors can be programmed for precise spacing and sequencing of products or packages. They often utilize zero-pressure accumulation to avoid damage.
Curved conveyors have belts that form curved shapes around fixed structures. Rather than running in straight lines, curved conveyors bend around obstacles, following the contours of a facility or space. Curved belt conveyors provide flexibility for moving items through spaces with layout restrictions.
The curves can range from sweeping turns to sharp bends, depending on needs. Curved conveyors save floor space by following facility boundaries and equipment. Belts must have sufficient traction to grip pulleys on turns.
Magnetic conveyors transport materials containing iron and other ferrous metals. Magnets under the conveyor belt attract and securely hold metals in place as they move. Magnetic conveyors provide reliable, safe handling of metals without requiring containment or fasteners.
The strong magnetic hold prevents metal parts from sliding or tipping over during transit. Magnetic conveyors eliminate the need for other magnet devices and keep both hands free for handling. Strong rare earth magnets ensure positive control of ferrous materials.
The numerous types of conveyor belts and systems available provide many options tailored to a facility’s needs. The most important factors to consider when selecting conveyor systems include the weight, size, and shape of moving materials, the distances involved, and the space layout. The right conveyor belts improve workflow, safety, and productivity.
By automating transport processes, conveyors enable operations to enhance output while minimizing ongoing labor expenses. The proper conveyor system provides an efficient material handling solution.
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