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Different types of conveyor systems

Conveyor systems are irreplaceable when it comes to moving material from A to B in a factory whilst ensuring a good production flow. But in order for a conveyor to dramatically improve your efficiency, productivity and safety, it’s important to choose the right type of conveyor for your specific business – and there are many different types of conveyor systems. Below is an outline of the most common ones to get you started.

Illustration of conveyor belt

What are the most common types of conveyor systems?

Common conveyor types are:

  1. Belt conveyors
  2. Roller conveyors
  3. Powered roller conveyors
  4. Overhead conveyors

All conveyor systems can be categorized as either floor conveyors or overhead conveyors. The latter has the obvious advantage of maximizing floor space, but both actually reduce working time and save floor space when comparing them to forkliftsor other material handling system. And sometimes, a combination of both can be the optimal solution for larger internal transport systems.

A brief overview of the most common conveyor types

Belt Conveyor System

A belt conveyor, also called a conveyor belt, is a fairly simple conveyor with limited features mainly used to move bulk materials such as sand, salt and grain. Its simplicity makes it easy to use and also makes it one of the most common types of conveyors. Two or more end-pulleys drive the belt in an endless loop moving a product from A to B.

Roller Conveyor System

Roller conveyors are commonly used for transporting crates, boxes and pallets. A roller conveyor can use gravity for moving the product when the system is mounted on a decline angle. During those times it can be challenging to control the speed and products may end up being damaged. The products could however also be moved manually which will take longer but would ensure a safer move.

Powered Roller Conveyor System

A powered roller conveyor is pretty much like the one above, but unlike the roller conveyor system this one uses powered rollers to move products. The products can therefore move at a much higher speed and in many different zones, and the products only move to the next zone when there is space. Therefore, the process and the speed can be easier controlled, the parts never touch, and the risk for damage is lower.

Overhead Conveyor System

Until now we’ve only mentioned different types of floor conveyors. Just like the name reveals, an overhead conveyor system is mounted from the ceiling or suspended from a steel construction which is placed on the floor. They usually come with more features and can often be a bit pricier than the others. They do ensure lower operating costs though as they require little workforce. And apart from being fairly cost-effective the overhead conveyor systems are also known for being very safe, one reason is that they are not blocking the aisles.

Other types of conveyor systems include, but are not limited to:

  • Power and Free conveyors
  • Electro monorail system (EMS)
  • Gravity roller conveyor
  • Live Roller conveyor / CDLR
  • Chain conveyor
  • Slat conveyors
  • Beam trolley systems
  • Over Under conveyors
  • Inverted conveyors