Conveyor Modes of Operation
Conveyors come in many different styles and configurations and they move product from place to place. Conveyors can move it on a belt, chain or roller, to name a few. They can also move product horizontally, up inclines, and vertically. Conveyors can be reciprocating or move product around corners as well. But did you also know that conveyors are responsible for HOW product is delivered? Continue reading to learn about the three main modes of conveyor operation.
The three main modes of conveyor operation are:
Conveyor operation relates directly to motor duty and load cycle. For the conveyor application engineer to select the most appropriate motor for the conveyor, they need to know which of these three modes of operation the conveyor is functioning in — in addition to conveyor loading and speed. For all conveyor applications, the maximum load and speed must be known but depending on the mode, additional information may also be required. So, let’s dive into what these conveyor modes of operation mean.
Continuous Conveyor Operation
Continuous conveyor operation is also referred to as steady operation. This is the most common and fundamental mode of operation. Product comes onto the conveyor, is carried by the conveyor, and exits off the conveyor. In the most basic of examples, the product is conveyed from one end to the next end of the conveyor. However continuous operation is possible with product entering and exiting at different points along the conveyor lengths. As long as the product doesn’t stop on the conveyor while the conveyor continues to run AND as long as the conveyor doesn’t cycle on and off — then the mode of operation is continuous. If either of these things happens, then you are using one of the operation modes below.
Accumulation Conveyor Operation
In accumulation or accumulating conveyor operation, the product is stopped on the conveyor, and the conveyor continues to run under it. This is very common in pallet-handling conveyor systems, and all of the various pallet-handling conveyor platforms offer standard stopping modules. These stopping modules are either pneumatically or electrically activated – which means they are designed to either let the pallet pass over without stopping or engage with the pallet to stop it. But it’s not just pallets that can accumulate on conveyors. Product can also easily accumulate. The stop that holds back the product can be static and fixed to the conveyor, or it can be a pneumatic or electrical device similar to a pallet stop but designed to work with the specific product.
Once it is established that the conveyor will be accumulating, it is important to know how much accumulation will occur. Will a single lightweight product be accumulated for a short amount of time? Or will a conveyor full of product run for an extended period? These are two vastly different examples that will impact not only the motor sizing and selection but also the conveyor type and platform.
Indexed Conveyor Operation
Indexed conveyor operation is also referred to as cycled or stepped. This is the most advanced type of conveyor operation. In these instances, the conveyor, and by default the product, stops and starts (often) multiple times in a minute. When the conveyor starts, it moves either a fixed distance or for a fixed amount of time. The conveyor then stops or rests for a fixed amount of time or when the conveyor controls signal otherwise.
Conveyors and Conveyor Operation
Regardless of how simple or complex the required conveyor movement is, working with a conveyor manufacturer will ensure that the conveyor chosen for the application is the best solution.
New, aesthetic Conveying System for the future
The young Swiss startup Avancon SA (www.avancon.com) has set itself the goal to revolutionize the unit handling systems in distribution and logistics centers. They offer now a new modern and very innovative conveying system. This will be distributed worldwide by manufacturers of conveyor systems and logistic system integrators. The system has been developed by Dieter Specht, the founder of the Interroll Group.The car industry, the computer industryand even the machine industry presentevery few years new and moderndesigned models. Why? To be able toattack new markets and new customers.However, it is hard to see somethingnew in the conveyor industry.
Most ofthe unit conveyor systems weredeveloped 15, 20 or even 50 years agoand are still sold today in a construction,which remembers on the patents of theBritish toy manufacturer Frank Hornby,who has already registered his patent ofa “Meccano” kit in 1901.Now, the two young founders of the start-up Avancon SA are ready to revolutionize the conveyor industry with thisnew and streamlined concept. It’s full of innovative and functionalideas and has been patented worldwide.
Originally, Dieter Specht had developed this systemfor Interroll. But it didn’t fit to their philosophy. So hefound two enthusiastic entrepreneurs, Denis Ratz,he has a bachelor of science in business informaticsand Dr. Daniele Gambetta, who has a PhD inelectric machines. They established inTicino/Switzerland a new start-up under the name Avancon SA (from Avant-garde and Conveyor).
The CEO, Denis Ratz showed the new conveyor system to some large and important manufacturers of conveyor- and logistics-systems and got a very positive response.
“Of course, we wanted to see the reactions to our completely new and very modern designed conveyor concept,” says Denis Ratz. “Most were positively impressed about the outstanding design. I could answer all their questions about the functions and requirements of the market. After these meetings with CEOs and technical managers of big and well-known companies I was highly motivated. Now we are ready. Everything is finished and tested. We can deliver. Several potential customers will visit our large test facility here in Ticino. We believe that the functions and the many advantages of this innovative system will convince them.”
Avancon SA invested heavily into development, in machines, in molds, patents and in the production. With a clever marketing concept enables an exclusive group of Conveyor Manufacturers and System Integrators worldwide to promote the system under their own label/brand and house color to the final market, the operators of logistics and distribution center.
Denis Ratz explains: “We want to offer something avant-garde to the manufacturers of conveyors and intralogistics systems. But we don’t want to interfere with the market of our customers and we will not offer to distribution- and logistics-systems directly to operating companies. Even though this modern system will catch the eye of every manager of this industry.”
The partner and head of technique, Dr. Daniele Gambetta, is an experienced specialist for electronic control and DC-motors. He has patents of completely new DC-motors, which will also be integrated in the future in the Avancon Conveyor System.
“Today – in the digital age of ‘industry-4’ – the electronic connectivity is of enormous importance. I was very fascinated by the ideas of Dieter Specht, so I have joined this young start-up,” says Dr. Daniele Gambetta. “I have never seen such a convincing new concept in the conveyor industry. Everything is completely different, new, safer and much better. We believe that about 80 % of all goods up to 50 kg weight, which have to be transported millions of times worldwide every day, can be handled with this new system.”
Meanwhile, the design has been awarded by the internationally well known “Red-Dot” price in Germany and also by the very coveted throughout Asia, “Good-Design” award in Japan.
The two partners have a lot of courage to break into such an established market today. But who would not want to offer their customers something very aesthetic, even revolutionizing, which differs to all previous designs?
Why aesthetic? Well, ask yourself: would you buy today a machine, which is not modern covered? Now you can offer your customers something extraordinary that combines innovation with emotions.
Denis Ratz says: “We are very positive about the future. We have just moved into a newly built modern factory, which corresponds to our DNA. Here we have a daily capacity production of up to 400 meters conveyor tracks of our new ZPC- system. Anyone who builds conveyor systems by himself can obtain all individual elements from us and so use the patents free of charge. Several customers want to exhibit the new system at one of their upcoming trade fairs.
‘ZPC’ system means “Zone Powered Conveyor” system, in which each zone is controlled and driven separately. The system is extremely flexible and adaptable. It is capable of slow or fast transporting in any desired line and, where necessary, can accumulate without pressure. The system can also communicate with higher IT or Bus system very easily and at significantly reduced installation cost.
Of course it transports goods in all directions, with all the functions an engineer wants for logistics systems.
Last but not least it seems to be much cheaper than it looks.
Automated sortation system installed specifically to deal with “small traffic”
The UKs largest dedicated parcel carrier officially opened its new purpose built, 15,000 square metre, parcel distribution hub in Warrington back in 2014. Designed to support the continuation of growth of the company the new hub has a capacity of around 550,000 parcels a day – almost three times that of the previous site in Warrington.
The facility’s purpose was to help with the developing requirement for next day deliveries, playing a key role in plans for international expansion and to provide a platform for further innovation, as the company looks to introduce a host of new products to the market.
L.A.C Conveyor Systems Ltd is now entering its 4th year, working closely with the multinational delivery company, in the development and implementation of innovative, flexible technologies to suit the ever-evolving challenge of handling parcels from a wide range of shapes and sizes whilst achieving faster processing times.
L.A.C Conveyor Systems innovative
The latest challenge was to introduce a sortation solution specifically designed to accommodate small sized parcels. Prior to the new solution the sortation of “small traffic” was a combined sortation process, with larger parcels. This combined automated parcel sortation approach meant that smaller parcels were harder to control and ultimately ended up being manually sorted. This system required a lot of human intervention to gain full control, proving not the most efficient approach, as the accuracy of the sort could not be guaranteed. Separating smalls from larger parcels meant higher throughputs could be achieved utilising a more streamlined solution with a 100% accuracy of sort.
L.A.C Conveyor Systems innovative “Automation Toolbox” meant a combination of technologies could be combined to satisfy the required solution and could be delivered and implemented within a small footprint and with minimal disruption to current operations.
The solution utilised L.A.C designed induct/feed conveyors, handling bulk parcels on infeed for initial parcel separation, which were then separated further utilising a flighted belt conveyor, leading on to a horizontal conveyor with 5 moveable ploughs and 1 fixed. The parcels were then broken down further spread across 6 chutes, presenting parcels to an operator platform. Operator interaction at this stage of the process provided a means of orientating parcels and placing them onto a Equinox split tray sorter with barcode labels accessible for automated scanning and verification.
The Equinox split tray sorter is a tray-based “bomb-bay” sorter developed specifically to handle flat goods such as packets, books, garments, parcels, and accessories, making it the ideal choice for L.A.C to integrate as part of a turnkey solution. The system offers the capacity to sort 10,000 trays per hour exceeding the requirements, but offering scope for future growth. It has a characteristic oval-shaped conveyor on which the trays circulate. This “open oval” design allows operators and further automation to integrate with ease.
An overhead scanning system ensured parcel identification and location could be achieved at high speed. L.A.C’s modular software design structure offered a seamless link with the host IT system, completing the final piece of the puzzle.
This unique automation approach has ensured a fast and flexible response to future e-commerce demands and has enabled an increased ability to handle parcels of such a shape and size in such a controlled manner. L.A.C’s diverse inhouse skill set has offered a solution that is cost effective providing faster processing of incoming “small” parcels.
Modernising the supply chain network
System to handle small sized parcels only
Cost effective and efficient flow of goods to consumers
Selecting & implementing the best technology
Allow for more next-day delivery
Increased order accuracy
Overall reduction in costs
Integrate with latest supply chain technology
Key services & Technologies
Feed conveyor – shaft mounted motor, tapered hopper to allow product to fall onto flyted belt conveyor.
Modular belt conveyor with hopper
Discharge conveyor with high side for product control
5 off moving ploughs and 1 fixed. Underslung braked motor with pivot arm connected to plough
6 off discharge chutes
6 off operator stations
Each discharge station offering PTL button light module
Double tray wide oval sorter
Sorter gross capacity (10,000 trays per hour)
Tray type 7 DT Double Tray – (Bombay also known as split tray)
Sorter direction – Clockwise
Barcode label control linking carton to station
Item detection sensing
Omni Camera Scanner – Overhead system for barcode label capture
L.A.C IT hardware and Software integration
Wireless network connection
VPN Remote Access
100% Accuracy of sort.
Increased supply chain efficiencies
Sortation direct into shipping cartons
Easy to use, simple efficient design and low maintenance decrease cost and increase uptime.
Design allows for the highest accuracy as well as a very small footprint without losing throughput.
Overhead Conveyor Automates Electroplating System
PACLINE Overhead Conveyors has developed a pre-engineered system for handling the 10 to 12 foot long copper bars used in Electro-Plating shops. This sophisticated design has eliminated the necessity of using hand operated trolleys for the transfer of workloads to and from the hoist lines of plating tanks.
The PAC-LINE™ overhead conveyor, using our standard No. 175 Bar Carrier Trolley, can transport loads in excess of 400 lbs. Our special design allows the 10 to 12 foot long work bar to manoeuver the standard radius curves of the overhead conveyor with ease. Loaded racks can be easily transferred from the overhead conveyor to the hoist for dipping as required.
This system is designed to allow the transfer of the loaded work bar directly from the hoist to the overhead conveyor. This loading signals the conveyor to run until the empty No. 175 trolley is in position to receive the next loaded work bar from the plating line.
The same system applies to the opposite end of the plating tanks. Loaded work bars are automatically delivered to the front of the line of plating tanks. The hoist can quickly pick up the loaded bar carrier, beginning the plating process.
The entire conveyor system is synchronized to allow both the empty bar carrier and the loaded carrier to stop automatically at opposite ends of the elecroplating line, so that the loading and unloading of the hoist can be completed simultaneously between the conveyor’s cycles.
This proven Electro-Plating system can substantially increase your production and at the same time eliminate unnecessary labor.
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