Since the conveyor system needed in a packaging automation system generally consists of short, normally straight runs of accumulation conveyor, one might think that most any type would suffice — and one might look to the conveyor as a place to save a few dollars in building a system. But the conveyor is the spine of the automated packaging line: One problem with it, and your entire system can be paralyzed. So while the conveyor may seem like an easy thing to skimp on, that kind of thinking can lead to a range of bad choices that can cost you dearly in both uptime and changeover time, as well as when or if the line ever needs to be repurposed.
At Invata Intralogistics, we believe that nothing other than 24 volt direct current (24VDC) accumulation conveyor — also known as MDR conveyor or Motor Driven Roller conveyor — should ever be considered for a packaging automation project.
The speed capabilities of the MDR/24 Volt conveyor is particularly well suited to a packaging automation line. The conveyors can easily handle the 1,500 per hour yield and 1,800 per hour surge capabilities of all the individual components on the line. The photo eye accumulation capabilities handle different box lengths and empty cartons with ease, with virtually no set up. The low torque nature of the individual rollers makes them very safe to work around, requiring no special safety devices. And the run-on-demand attributes of the 24Volt accumulation conveyor make it an eco-friendly and quieter option, ideal for operator working comfort.
Perhaps the biggest reason to utilize the 24 Volt zero pressure accumulation conveyor is the ability to monitor every aspect of the material handling system. When tied to an Ethernet network and connected to a PLC its possible to see every roller, control card, and photo eye. This visibility greatly enhances the ability to monitor and support the conveyor, and it reduces the need for extraneous devices like full line photo eyes.
The 24 VDC is capable of turning corners, if the line needs to be wrapped around a particular facility layout, and there is a full compliment of transfers, merges, and diverts available. So the only real question when choosing 24 volt direct current (24VDC) accumulation conveyor is whether it needs to be belted or not. Belted conveyors are used when the cartons to be moved on the system are small or there is a need to change elevations.
Now, you might ask: Why should I buy 24 volt direct current (24VDC) accumulation conveyor when I can do all those things with line shaft conveyor? The answer for us at Invata is simple: Line shaft is a maintenance and uptime nightmare, and you lose the ability to see every device and carton on the line. Every time the line needs to be changed over for a new carton size, it’ll cost you in increased downtime. We’ve built systems that have added $2.00 profit to every carton shipped using MDR conveyor. At a run rate of 1,500 cartons per hour, just a few extra hours of uptime easily paid for the increased capital cost of the 24VDC. And what’s more, should the line ever need to be repurposed in the future, reconfiguration with MDR can be done with ease.