Conveyor belt systems are a key component for many manufacturing industries. They provide a range of advantages in any workplace. Not only do they help to streamline the manufacturing process, reduce costs and increase productivity but they also can be used to improve safety in the workplace and protect valuable product from damage.

Assembly line conveyor belts are some of the most common built conveyors within the manufacturing industry. But depending on the size of your workspace, the products being manufactured and a range of other factors, conveyor belts can be built and tailor made to work in almost any situation.

The primary use of conveyor belt systems is the movement of products and materials from one area to another safely and efficiently. Within the manufacturing industry, this helps save costs through the automation of processes and labour reduction.

Types of conveyor belt systems

There are three primary types of conveyor belt systems. Each come with their own set of characteristics which make them ideal within different manufacturing settings. Some are heavy load bearing, while others work on gravitational pull systems, we will look at each in more detail below:

Belt conveyors

Belt conveyor systems are some of the most economical and common conveyor systems within many manufacturing environments. Their low noise production makes them especially useful in controlled environments or when communication is key, for example, delivery picking stations are ideal environments for belt conveyor systems.

Operated by a continuous belt over two pulleys, belt conveyors are perfect for moving singled or packaged items over a large workspace. Belt conveyors can be fully optimised for almost any work environments and their incline and decline capabilities make them especially good for multi-level workspaces.

Powered roller conveyors

Powered roller conveyors are usually used in conjunction with belt conveyors. Each roller is powered allowing for products to be pushed along the line. This system is efficient both at the start and end of conveyor systems as they can move products with a flat base on or off other conveyor systems used in the workspace. The powered roller conveyors can also be automatically controlled reducing the need for manual labour along the line.

These conveyor systems are ideal in manufacturing settings where products have a solid base and need to be moved rapidly from one station to another without human interference. The powered units also allow for the movement of items through complex floor layouts.

The automation process allows for the transport of different materials along the line, this is important along converging and diverging conveyor systems.

The power in powered roller conveyors comes from motors and that are connected to the rollers. The connection can be via a belt (belt-driven), a chain (chain-driven) or a fixed shaft (line-shaft driven).

Gravity feed conveyors

As the name suggests, Gravity does most of the work with gravity feed conveyors and they are specially designed for items which need to be manually moved but with the least amount of friction. These are ideal for hardware development lines and perishable products. The simplest design means they are ideal for packing stations and the final components on the manufacturing process.

These are the most environmentally friendly and economical in terms of powered required in operating the conveyor belt. Gravity systems work best when the load is not too great for manual labour to be able to move the product on the conveyor. Bottling plants are a great example of where you will see the use of Gravity feed conveyors.

The benefits of conveyor belt systems

  • Efficient use of space: Conveyor belts can be designed with an incline or decline allowing for material to be transported over multiple levels. This is ideal for both small spaces and large workstations which are placed over several floors.
  • Speed and labour efficiency: Automated conveyor belt systems combined with robotics can lead to an almost continuous manufacturing process. Thus, generating a huge amount of output with significantly reduced labour costs.
  • Workplace safety: They offer a much safer workspace within the manufacturing industry. They limit the need for manual handling and movement around workstations.
  • Product protection: Conveyor belts protect products. By being able to control the speed of transport and the amount of weight on conveyor belts, the protection of items on an assembly line is increased dramatically.
  • Flexibility: Conveyor belt systems can be designed to be used across a wide range of manufacturing areas including product assembly, product storage, labelling stations, transport and dispatch etc.
  • Working environment improvement: Conveyor systems allow for ergonomic design which is helpful to your employee’s physical health, in particular for the prevention of Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI).
  • Simplification of the process: Conveyor belts remove the need for any unnecessary movement and simplicity allowing for straight-line movement and an easily understood and managed transport system.

Conveyor belt construction

With a proven track record in design and installation of factory conveyor belt systems, medical and pharmaceutical equipment supply and industrial clean rooms, NGS are leaders in the supply of industry solutions for material movement and handling. NGS have provided complex conveyor systems for companies in a wide range of manufacturing sectors including ICT and medical. These companies include well known brands like Apple and Dell.

NGS also have the advantage of a cleanroom manufacturing facility and therefore, can offer conveyor system that are integrated into controlled environments. We serve companies in Ireland, the UK, Europe and the USA.

Contact NGS Engineering for more information on our Conveyor Systems and how we can help you with your material handling and shop-floor automation requirements.

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