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Conveyor Types

Integrating Conveyors and Industrial Lifts Ways to use scissor lifts and vertical conveyors to enhance conveyor systems

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Conveyors and scissor lifts are frequently integrated due to the fact that it’s such an efficient way to manipulate loads along a conveyor line. Loads can be lifted, raised or rotated on a lift table for a variety of activities. When you need to actively work on a conveyed item, it’s ideal. Here’s how to go about it.

Types of conveyor integrations

Lifts of all types can be integrated with conveyors. Scissor lifts tend to be used for load manipulation (left-right, rotate, up-down). Vertical conveyors are used for vertical pallet and package elevation and discharge.

In-line scissor lifts

In-line lift along a conveyor line lowers and raises loads in mid-transport.

Above: this scissor lift can raise to match conveyor line height or lower to the floor for access to conveyed components from more ergonomic positions.

These applications integrate a scissor lift into a conveyor line (power or gravity). The lift table is typically fitted with conveyor rollers or ball transfers. Items convey directly onto the lift table to be rotated or moved up/down. This can be done for ergonomic reasons, which let workers more easily work on the load, or to move it up or down to a perpendicular conveyor line. In-line lifts are often designed to sink below a floor-mounted conveyor and engage only when needed.

Line-side tables

Lift tables sit line-side and can be adjacent or connected. Loads are diverted onto them by ball transfers, spurs or decline conveyor lines for further work or processing. As with in-line tables, this allows greater and more ergonomic access to the conveyed loads. In a distribution application, this may be used to move a load to a parallel line or to allow easier forklift access to a palletized load. In assembly operations, this allows workers to manipulate, rotate, lower and raise loads for work.

End-of line scissor lifts

Conveyors discharge their loads onto a lift at the end of a line. In these applications, the lift is in-line and can lower or raise the load as well as rotate it for further work. One way this can be used is to lower a pallet on a low-profile lift for pallet jack access. In some cases, the lift may be used to dump items from a conveyor line.

Vertical lift conveyor integrations

Vertical conveyor loading from a conveyor system to elevate packages to the next level.

These integrations transport pallets or packages directly onto or off of a vertical reciprocating conveyor for elevation to a mezzanine or another conveyor line. Unlike scissor lifts, which can integrate directly into conveyor lines, VRCs tend to be fed by conveyors and have a different set of criteria for safe and effective load transitions.

Loading techniques for conveyors & lifts

Conveyor loading tends to be one of the easiest ways to “slide load” a scissor lift. While sliding loads require forethought in lift design, conveyors lessen the impact on the lift compared to a rolling axle load (like a forklift). When loads convey onto lifts (fitted with conveyor rollers), the end roller will not need to bear the load’s full weight due to deflection within the lift’s mechanism. For instance, consider an incremental load like a metal or wood sheet. The edge loading and impact aren’t nearly as severe when conveyed onto the lift than if driven on with a forklift or cart. Here’s what you need to consider when conveying loads onto lift tops.

Friction and impact: Conveying a sheet, carton, tote or component onto a lift table eliminates most friction on the item being conveyed (that’s the nature of conveyors). Sliding something onto a flat lift has a coefficient of friction of right at 30%, but conveyance adds almost nothing. Certain items, like rubber, can increase the coefficient of friction. Impact on the lift may be a factor for very high-speed applications and should be evaluated when the lift is specified.

Horizontal impacts and stops: Lift-integration with conveyors often requires stops. With a stop, the horizontal force impact should be parallel to the lift’s legs and should never be perpendicular. If needed, add shock absorbers for particularly heavy or fast loads. Know the weight (or weights) of all conveyed loads when stops are involved.

Incremental layers: When you’re conveying loads that layer atop each other on the lift and conveyors, each individual load increment should be considered a percentage of the total required lifting capacity. The weight of each layer should be known as well as the maximum total weight the lift will accept. Small percentages are no factor and large percentages may dictate choosing units with higher edge load ratings. If the incremental layers are conveyed onto a lift in the raised position, see below.

Load increment footprint vs. overall platform size: If the load footprint matches the platform size, the load should roll into the lift gradually and the impact on edge loading is minimal. If the load footprint is smaller than the platform, it may have more of an impact on the lift and should be designed into the system during specification.

Load increment footprint vs. minimum platform size: The minimum platform size is equal to the support leg outline. If the lift has a minimum platform size, then the load will always convey onto a leg support. When there is an oversized top, the load should have at least half its footprint and weight over the “supporting leg outline” when it isn’t supported by the conveyor line that delivers it to the lift table (or other adjacent surface, if the load is slid off a table or workstation onto a conveyor-top lift).

Load increment center of gravity relative to minimum platform size: If your load isn’t uniform in dimensions, shape or weight, the conveyor integration must ensure that the load’s center of gravity is always within the supporting leg outline when it moves off the adjacent conveyor line and onto the lift table structure.

Consult with us to ensure a safe, stable and smooth transition that doesn’t overload the lift or stress its support structure. Remember that the load’s stability depends on load placement, weight and direction. When done correctly, these integrations result in highly productive lift/conveyor integrations that reduce labor, increase ergonomics, speed throughput and make the entire process more efficient.

Conveyor Types

Wiggle eCommerce Fulfilment Centre

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Wiggle eCommerce Fulfilment Centre

Conveyor Systems Ltd completed a major installation supplying an extensive pack and sortation conveyor solution for global online retailer Wiggle Ltd. Operating as the UK’s #1 online Cycle, Run & Swim retailer along with being recently voted the Which? recom- mended #1 online outdoor & leisure shop. In 2015, due to the continuous growth of the business, they took the decision to relocate the Operation to a larger, consolidated Fulfilment Centre (320,000 sq.ft.) in the West Midlands from the multiple small sites operated in Portsmouth.

After a rigorous tender process, CSL’s ability to provide a well demonstrated solution was key to meeting the brief and winning the contract. This included using the latest 3D CAD drawing software to help visualise the system as a lifelike operational representation in the new building.

The brief was to combine packed consignments from 3 pick/pack areas over 3 floors and sort them down 12 lanes into 4 dispatch zones for separate carriers and services. The system needed to cope with up to 90 boxes per minute of varying sizes and weights, from very small parts and clothing up to large boxes of bicycle wheels!

The conveyor system which was specially designed by CSL at over 900mm wide, was engineered in detail after taking into account all comments/ suggestions made by both management and operators at Wiggle together with fully recognising their requirements, considering the vast array of shapes and sizes of products whilst overcoming operational issues.

The mezzanine consists of 2 upper floors which along with the ground floor form three independent pick/pack zones and sortation areas which were designed specifically to avoid issues caused when one combined system is stopped for maintenance/Repairs.

Once an order is picked, packing operatives check the order then pack into an array of outers ranging from poly bags to large cardboard boxes prior to applying carrier despatch labels. The consignment is then placed on a section of zero line pressure (ZLP) accumulation roller conveyor which starts the transit to the sortation area on the ground floor. This type of conveyor is used widely on the system to ensure noncontact queuing due to the wide variety of sizes, shapes and weights causing damage to each other and potentially initiating jams along the system.

The upper mezzanine floors use 2 powered Ambaflex spiral lowerators (almost 100 units supplied by CSL throughout the UK to different customers), to safely and continuously bring the boxes down where they are then barcode scanned to determine, by way of state-of-the-art scanning arrays on each line, which carrier despatch lane they require. When the packages reach the correct despatch lane they are diverted off at 90 degrees using high speed switch sorters. Depending on the source pick floor, they either decline down a grip top belt to an ergonomic picking height or transit on a horizontal roller conveyor to the discharge area where a despatch operative removes and places them onto a pallet or into a wheeled cage ready for carrier collection.

CSL provided the full turnkey conveyor project including control, installation and commissioning of the wide range of packages.

“As this was a new facility it was difficult to visualise the conveyor system prior to the mezzanine floor installation, but CSL provided a detailed 3D drawing which included both the mezzanine and the conveyors which brought clarity to this. The install process was smooth and the end results have allowed us to increase control, flexibility & volumes”

Dan Corrigan, Head of Logistics & Operations Development

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Conveyor Types

New, aesthetic Conveying System for the future

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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.  

That’s fantastic!” 

‘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. 

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Conveyor Types

Automated sortation system installed specifically to deal with “small traffic”

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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.

System Overview

Objectives

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

Results

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.

Source:www.lacconveyors.co.uk

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