Conveyors are some of the most basic and common forms of warehouse automation. They serve as the highway on which your product travels to free up equipment that would normally transport the product. They have the ability to connect with other automation products such as wrappers, sorters, robotic assembly and so much more. If you’re not at all familiar with the conveyor options available, here’s a quick primer.
As the name suggests, these conveyors are designed to move individual products and boxes. The belt driven type are optimal for straightaways and situations where there are products of varying dimensions. That said, there are curved conveyors available. For example, you’re likely to see them at the airport (even moving people) or at a Postal Service hub. Roller conveyors, on the other hand, are better suited to uniform packaged goods. Motorized rollers can be added to provide additional movement options and customized zones based on your goals. Need your packages rotated to a specific orientation to be scanned? And once repositioned, do they need to stop for a given amount of time? They can handle curves, can be expandable, sit on casters for repositioning or bolted in place.
Built to carry the weight of the pallet and the product on it, you’re likely to find this type of roller conveyor near or connected to a palletizer in the shipping department. Changing directions under load can be challenging but they can use heavy duty belt conveyers that can lift and move the load to a perpendicular conveyor.
High-Speed Sorting Conveyors
Sorting modules are absolutely vital for operations where products are going to different locations, need to be picked, or multiple product types are received at the same source. Sorting conveyors are different from “traditional” sorting machines because the sorting action is handled by the conveyor itself. Made up of compound conveyors that hold a single item, when they reach the correct sorting section the “crossbelt” will activate and move the product to a lateral area.
These conveyors allow you to take full advantage of your warehouse’s vertical space. Either lifting or lowering product to increase density or provide space for employees or vehicles to travel, spirals are a simple solution with a smaller footprint than an incline.
Conveyor Lifts & Carousels
For an even smaller vertical footprint, consider the conveyor lift. Essentially an elevator, they can either move items to a single level or multiple levels in a vertical sorting situation. Carousel conveyors are typically closed loop systems best used for picking operations. Allowing the picker to stay in one place instead of travelling around the warehouse can allow you to focus environmental systems (AC/Heat and lighting) in specific areas instead of the entire facility, and allow for quicker order fulfillment.
Our warehouse automation team loves talking about conveyors, robots, and everything else that can lift your operations to the next level. If you want to know more, contact our Automation department with this form or call us at 253-872-7114.