NGS – Conveyor Systems
As a leading conveyor system company dealing will all aspects of the conveyor system design from concept advice through to design, installation and system commissioning, NGS follows a rigorous process that involves the client from the start.
NGS have many years experience in supplying material handling solutions and conveyor solutions that are specifically geared around the clients requirements. Our capability covers UBT (Universal Belt Transfer) transfers, sortation and automated material handling technologies like ball-tables and lift-off-stations. In addition to this, we design and build height-adjustable workstations that can be included in the material handling line.
This article provides a insight into the specification behind a complex conveyor system design for a client in Ireland.
Conveyor System Requirement
NGS were commissioned to design and build a large-scale conveyor system with multiple distinct zones, kitting stations, build cells, holding areas, operator controls and storage.
NGS were responsible for every aspect from production-line-design through to supply and installation of all the hardware and looked after the testing and commissioning of the production line in preparation for hand-over to the client.
Many of the items in the system, like the product tray, lift-off station, tray return trolleys, kitting racks etc. were specifically designed around the clients need.
- NGS Team Leader,
- NGS Engineering (Conveyor Systems),
- NGS Design team,
- In-house component manufacture staff
- Installation / Assembly team.
- Powered Conveyor 2.4 x 600 Beds (Illustrated in Blue)
- Powered Conveyor 2.4 x 1000 Beds (Shortage Spur)
- UBT (Universal Belt Transfer) Units
- Conveyor Legs
- Tray Trolley
- Lift-Off Stations
- Build Cells
- Long Span Shelving
- Printer Stands
- Kit Build Stations
- Monitor Stands
- Pop-up Pneumatic Systems
- Board Build Prep Stations
- Gravity Conveyor 2.4 x 600
- Gravity Conveyor 2.4 x 1000
- Tote Storage unit
- Pre-wired power trunks
- Ergo Arms
- Product Trays
The conveyor system is controlled using Siemens PLC and Profinet. This is a bus system that significantly reduces wiring to field devices. The system can be expanded for future line expansion and can be put onto a network for monitoring and feedback if required.
The system controls the movement and transfer of product along the line.
Zone-Controlled Conveyor: (Overview)
The main spine of the conveyor is broken into discrete zones / segments. Each segment of the conveyor has capacity to store a single product tray.
The finished product conveyor is broken into 10 discrete zones. Again each zone has capacity for a single product tray.
Additional space within each zone provides for segregation between trays ensuring they do not run into one another.
Each zone is independently controlled by a PLC and the conveyor indexes the product forward from zone to zone once a space becomes available downstream.
Each kitting station is equipped with a “RELEASE” push-button. Even-though there may be a space available down-stream we do not want the unit to proceed down-stream until the required components have been picked.
If the operator turns around to make a pick the unit will remain stationary until the kitting operator presses the “RELEASE” push-button, irrespective of how many spaces become available downstream.
The operator also has the option of sending the unit to the shortage spur. In this situation the operator presses a “SHORT” push-button before the “RELEASE” push-button.
Units that have been flagged as being “SHORT” upstream at the Kitting Stations are diverted via the associated UBT (Universal Belt Transfer) units once they meet the decision point on the conveyor.
A counter in the PLC logic implements counters allows the system to keep track of units as they pass along the conveyor system.
The operator has a set of push-buttons to “CALL” and “SEND” units in and out of the station. The feed to and from each kit build cell includes integrated UBT (Universal Belt Transfer) units / Belt Conveyor within the main spine at each Kit Build Cell as an alternative to existing the pop-up pneumatics solution used to assist the operator.
The physical movement of the product into the kit build cell is done by the UBT. When the build cell operator is ready for the next unit, a “call” button is pressed that flags the PLC to send it in.
Similarly the movement of the complete unit back onto the main spine is done automatically. The operator starts this process by pressing a “send” button which in turn flags the PLC to release the unit onto the finished product line.
The potential need to expand the system in future was included in the system design and build. This included extra expansion potential in the controller system.