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Advantages and disadvantages of different conveyor systems

In our previous article we gave an overview of the most common conveyor systems on the market – belt conveyors, roller conveyors and powered roller conveyors which are all floor conveyors, and we also had a look at overhead conveyors. Now, let’s take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of those four. Hopefully it will be helpful when choosing what conveyor best suits your needs.

Belt conveyor system in production

1. Belt Conveyor System

Advantages

  • One of the cheapest conveyors
  • Simple and easy to use
  • Can have changes in elevation
  • Can be loaded from any place along the belt

Disadvantages

  • The simplicity means very limited features
  • Belt can be difficult to clean and generally does not leave a very successful result
  • Sticky material can get stuck on the belt and transfer to the return side, the rolls, idlers and pulleys

2. Roller Conveyor System

Advantages

  • Can use gravity for moving the product on a decline angle
  • No power means less cost and more environmentally friendly
  • Quite modular andcan be utilized in many ways
  • Fairly low maintenance

Disadvantages

  • Products may end up being damaged when moved by gravity
  • Heavy and therefore not very portable
  • No control of conveyor speed

3. Powered Roller Conveyor System

Advantages

  • Effective horizontal transportation over a longer distance
  • The speed and also the process can be easily controlled and the risk for damage is reduced as the parts never touch
  • The small zones of the system are powered independently and can be set up to run only when an item is present
  • If a motor breaks down, it will only stop one zone

Disadvantages

  • Noisier than many other conveyors
  • More expensive than other conveyors
  • Not as flexible with what type of items it can handle

4. Overhead Conveyor System

Advantages

  • Can utilize the space overhead maximizing the full capacity of a facility
  • Buffer stores of serial produced components can be stored and sequentially delivered to a pick point when required
  • Full production systems can be created in a friction drive overhead conveyor using multi drive technology offering speed differentials
  • Lower operating costs and known for being very safe

Disadvantages

  • Generally more expensive than a floor based conveyor system
  • If breaking down, it can be more challenging to repair if no foresight at the planning stage and installation for maintenance
  • If chain based, it tends to need continual lubrication meaning grease or oil might drop from the system

As you can see, there are pros and cons for each conveyor system. One of the most important things to consider is therefore your specific business and the type of material you wish to transport. Some of the material’s characteristics to consider are size, weight, and density. But key considerations should also be the size of the system compared to the size of your facility as well as the environment itself – temperature, humidity and vibration for example. Feel free to contact us and we’ll help you determine any potential risks and possible countermeasures in order to create the safest and most effective environment.