Transportation conveyor often serves as the backbone to automated material handling systems in that it provides hands-free transport of materials between various processes and sub systems. In doing so, transportation conveyor acts to integrate systems, facilitating the kind of continuous and highly efficient flow of materials needed for distribution and warehouse automation.
Transportation conveyors can be used to transport a wide variety of materials ranging from small, lightweight materials to large irregularly shaped items. Depending upon the materials being transported and other considerations like the desired speed of transport and the requirements of processes along the route, a number of different types of transportation conveyors may be used within a warehouse automation system.
Types of Transportation Conveyor
Transportation conveyor types include:
- Live roller conveyor
- Belt conveyor for cartons, totes, or trash
- Flexible chain conveyor
- Extendable truck loading/unloading conveyor
- Expandable conveyor
Each has specific capabilities and uses in an automated environment.
Live Roller Conveyor
Live roller conveyor is generally used for the transporting and alignment of totes and cartons on a horizontal plane in straight lines or around curves. It can be either belt, chain, or internally driven and consists of a series of powered rollers, which can either simply convey product or skew it into alignment during conveyance.
Chain driven live roller conveyor, often used to convey heavier product, consists of series of rollers linked together via sprockets and a chain that is attached to a drive motor that powers the rollers.
Belt driven live roller conveyor consists of a series of rollers that are powered by a belt drive below the rollers. Belt drives can take the form of flat belt, V-belt or round belt transportation conveyors.
24 volt DC Live Roller Conveyor
Invata’s recommended choice for live roller conveyor is 24 volt DC live roller conveyor (also known as motor driven conveyor or MDR) which can be used as both transportation conveyor and accumulation conveyor.
This conveyor is comprised of rollers connected into groups via pulleys and urathane bands. Each group has one roller within the series that has an internal motor which controls the rollers in its grouping. This allows the creation of zones within the conveyor that can operate independently of one another to enable precise movement of product. 24 volt DC conveyor is safe for operators, inexpensive to install, operate, and maintain, and is extremely durable.
Belt conveyor is widely used as a transportation conveyor for conveying items through changes in elevations and around curves. It is a highly cost effective conveyor that can handle items too small for roller conveyors and maintains product orientation through curves. Thanks to the friction provided by the belt, it is ideal for certain automated processes like print and apply labeling and for use on inclines and declines where product on a roller conveyor might otherwise slide with the pull of gravity.
Belt conveyor consists of a belt made of fabric, rubber, plastic, or leather, which is supported by a frame and driven by pulleys. It can provide straight, curved, or spiral conveyance.
Flexible Chain Conveyor
Flexible chain conveyor enables horizontal, vertical, straight, and curved transportation, so that inclines, declines, and changes in direction can be accommodated with a single conveyor. Highly flexible, quiet, and capable of handling the most delicate of products, flexible chain conveyor offers a variety of other features such as exceptional washdown and cooling capabilities.
Extendable/telescoping conveyor is generally used in shipping and receiving for the unloading and loading of truck trailers. Extension and retraction of a belted, telescoping conveyor unit is motorized, enabling concise and ergonomic positioning of this transportation conveyor.
Expandable conveyor is flexible, extendable, accordion-like transportation conveyor that can be moved and configured on the fly to accommodate changing conveyance requirements. It is available in gravity or powered versions, with options for skate wheels or rollers in steel or PVC.