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1993 Powerscreen M60 24 in. x 40 ft. Portable Conveyor
The most common conveyor is the belt conveyor, but there are also screw conveyors, and conveyors that operate on a series of individual rollers.

A belt conveyor consists of two pulleys located at either end of the machine, and a continuous belt that rotates on them. The powered pulleys move the belt, and any material on it, forward.

Individual rolling conveyors include accumulation conveyors, line shaft conveyors and chain driven conveyors.

Screw conveyors operate in a much different fashion than either belts or individual rolling conveyors. Screw conveyors process fluids and fine granular materials using an auger rotating snuggly within a cylinder.

Vertical conveyors come as spiral conveyors and are used to move products in a confined space to lift products from one level to another. The difference between spiral conveyors and normal vertical conveyors, besides the space is that most lift on package at a time, while a spiral conveyor keeps a constant flow of packages.[1]

There are also models that utilize multiple types of technology, such as belt driven live roller conveyors and belt over roller conveyors.

Conveyors are used in a wide variety of industries including industrial, mining, and automotive. They are also used on a smaller scale in factories, grocery stores, and pizza shops. The technology has even been adapted into moving sidewalks and escalators.


[edit] History

[edit] Early Conveyors

Early conveyor belts of the 17th century are described as basic in their design. They consisted of a wooden bed and a belt that traveled over it. These belts were made of rubber, canvas or leather and were used only to move grain sacks over short distances.

Conveyors became more tough and versatile in the 20th century. The Swedish company Sandvik began manufacturing steel conveyor belts in 1902.[2] While a man named Hymle Goddard of the Logan Co. received the first roller conveyor patent in 1908. However, the conveyor still took a few years to catch on.

[edit] Conveyors in Ford's Factory

In the early 1910s, Henry Ford built a new factory designed to utilize the new technology and develop an assembly line for production. The new factory was able to build a car in 93 minutes, one million cars a year, or one every 24 seconds.[3] Mass production cut costs and allowed Ford to market his products to the general public. (This technology was also used in Fordson tractor manufacturing.) By 1919, many other automotive companies began using conveyors, revolutionizing the industry in the process.

2003 Clemro 36x60 36 in. x 60 ft. Portable Stacking Conveyor

[edit] Developments in Conveyor Applications

Throughout the 1920s, conveyors became popular in all types of other industries. Advancements were made to allow conveyors to carry materials over longer distances. A mining operation utilized an underground conveyor that carried coal for five miles. The belt was made of layers of cotton and rubber covers, which were the principal materials used at the time.

During World War II, belts began being manufactured with synthetic materials because of the scarcity of natural fibers.[4]

In 1947, the American Standards Association developed initial standards for conveyor safety.

By the 1970s, conveyor noise levels became a concern for the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, which resulted in manufacturers developing precision bearings, quiet rollers, and long-lasting parts to eliminate the premature wear that caused rattling.

Throughout the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s advancements were made to improve conveyor maintenance. Initial conveyor systems were incapable of simple fixes, often requiring to be replaced because of simple malfunctions. A new machine, and the downtime to install it, came at considerable expense to factory owners. So, “engineers of conveyor equipment developed and perfected internally powered conveyor rollers and motorized pulleys that eliminated costly maintenance needs.”[5]

[edit] Modern Conveyors

Modern belts are made of a number of materials, including cotton, canvas, EPDM, leather, neoprene, nylon, polyester, polyurethane, urethane, PVC, rubber, silicone, and steel. Currently, computers control any complex applications or increased automation required by the conveyor.

Currently, the longest conveyor belt is located in the Western Sahara, Africa and spans 60 miles (97 km).[6] The longest single belt conveyor is 10.5 miles (17 km) long and runs between India and Bangladesh to transport limestone and shale.[7]

[edit] Features/How it Works/Types

All conveyors work to achieve the same goal: to aid in moving something from point A to point B. However, different models accomplish this through different processes and thus are utilized for different situations.

[edit] Accumulation Conveyor

An accumulation conveyor is a roller-type conveyer usually used in conjunction with other types forming a complete system. It consists of pop-up sensor rollers, which utilize pressurized air to hold conveyed material in queue until needed in the next area. This type of conveyer is useful for systems weighing or sorting items individually.[8]

There are several types of accumulation conveyors, however two are more common. Zero pressure models separate items to avoid package collision, while minimum pressure models place items beside each other but limit back pressure.[9]

[edit] Lineshaft Conveyor

2005 Clemro 36 in. x 120 ft. Portable Radial Stacking Conveyor
A lineshaft conveyor is a roller-type conveyor used to transport and accumulate products. These models have a drive shaft, which runs the length of the underside of the conveyor driving the rollers individually with belts. Individually operated rollers allow lineshaft conveyors to emit low backpressure, mandatory for accumulation.[10]

Some lineshaft conveyors are capable of running forward and backward.[11]

These models are also generally quieter than many other roller-type conveyors because they have fewer moving parts and the belts can hold the rollers in place.[12]

[edit] Chain-driven Conveyor

A chain driven conveyor is a roller-type conveyor used transport heavy loads at controlled speeds. Chains are attached to sprockets on the load rollers powering chains on the rest of the rollers. This creates a uniform speed ensuring a smooth, even ride.[13]

This type of conveyor provides a number of advantages. It is capable of transporting both hot and cold materials with no worry about damaging the belt, because there isn’t one. It resists grease and other particulates better than other models. It is also capable of successfully transporting materials with uneven bottoms.[14]

[edit] Belt-driven Live Roller Conveyor

A belt-driven live roller conveyor is a multi-type conveyor utilizing both rollers and a belt. It is used for accumulation, induction and merge systems where product sizes and weight vary. However, “it provides limited capabilities for inclined movement or packages of differing shapes.”[15]

This model consists of load rollers, a drive belt, return rollers and an external motor. The rollers are propelled by the drive belt located directly beneath them.[16]

[edit] Belt Over Roller Conveyor

A belt over roller conveyor is a multi-type conveyor utilizing both rollers and a belt. It is used for transporting light to medium weight loads and is ideal for both inclines or declines.[17]

The belt is either supported by a sliderbed or by return rollers located under the loader rollers. Belt over roller models can provide control of orientation and placement of loads, which is helpful for bulky, irregular shaped products.[18]

It is an ideal conveyor for induction and sortation systems.[19]

[edit] Trash Conveyor

A trash conveyor is a belt-type conveyor used mainly for transporting empty boxes, paper trash and other lightweight refuse to a disposal area, compactor or incinerator.[20]

It utilizes a sliderbed design with guard rails on either side of the conveyor to prevent materials from falling off. The sliderbed design is ideal for both inclines and declines.[21]

[edit] Sliderbed Conveyor

A sliderbed conveyor is belt-type conveyor used for inspection, transportation and assembly line operations. It operates similarly to trash conveyor except that it does not have guard rails.[22]

It utilizes return rollers to run the belt along a smooth bed, allowing for smooth transportation. It is ideal for both inclines and declines.[23]

Since it uses very few moving parts sliderbed conveyors are generally quiet machines.[24]

[edit] Screw Conveyor

See also: Screw Conveyor

A screw conveyor operates much differently than belt or rolling conveyors do.  Screw conveyors feature a rotating auger fit snuggly within a cylinder.  They are primarily used to process grain, aggregate, and fluids.  They are available in a number of varieties including vertical conveyors, horizontal conveyors, and flexible auger conveyors.

[edit] Common Manufacturers

There are a huge number of conveyor manufacturers, many of whom are a part of the Conveyor Equipment Manufacturers Association (CEMA).

[edit] References

  1. Vertical conveyors information
  2. About Sandvik. Sandvik. 2008-09-23.
  3. Henry Ford. Entrepreneurs. 2008-09-23.
  4. Conveyors. Datakey. 2008-09-23.
  5. Conveyors. Datakey. 2008-09-23.
  6. Conveyor Belt. Conveyors Direct. 2008-09-23.
  7. Conveyor Belt. Conveyors Direct. 2008-09-23.
  8. Conveyor Open Power. Estore. 2008-09-23.
  9. Conveyor Power. Estore. 2008-09-23.
  10. Conveyor Power. Estore. 2008-09-23.
  11. Conveyor Power. Estore. 2008-09-23.
  12. Conveyor Power. Estore. 2008-09-23.
  13. Conveyor Power. Estore. 2008-09-23.
  14. Conveyor Power. Estore. 2008-09-23.
  15. Conveyor Power. Estore. 2008-09-23.
  16. Conveyor Power. Estore. 2008-09-23.
  17. Conveyor Power. Estore. 2008-09-23.
  18. Conveyor Power. Estore. 2008-09-23.
  19. Conveyor Power. Estore. 2008-09-23.
  20. Conveyor Power. Estore. 2008-09-23.
  21. Conveyor Power. Estore. 2008-09-23.
  22. Conveyor Power. Estore. 2008-09-23.
  23. Conveyor Power. Estore. 2008-09-23.
  24. Conveyor Power. Estore. 2008-09-23.