A Review of Conveyor Systems

The fact that nearly every application requiring a conveyor system is unique, it is important to have a basic understanding of the various types of conveyors and the way these conveyors or lift systems work. Some of the applications requiring special lifting solutions include access to and from balconies, mezzanines, basements and in-between levels in multiple story buildings. Other uses include specific exterior and interior applications, high speed production lines and in replacing inclined belt conveyors.

The moving of pallets of various items from one area to another is an example of a type of conveyor system that can be very productive. Companies can benefit greatly in cost, safety and efficiency when the proper method of transporting things up, down or sideways is utilized. We will begin with mechanical vertical lifts. These are usually vertical platform lifts designed to handle heavy (30,000 lbs or more) and many times bulky, oversized loads. The carriage (compartment area where the actual items being transported sit) is lifted and lowered by heavy roller chain attached to a mechanical lifting mechanism.

Vertical lifts are ideal for transporting large, heavy loads two or more levels and also high volume automated systems or frequent-use applications. The benefit of loading and unloading items from all four sides on the better designed vertical lifts is very appealing. Hydraulic conveyors, as the name implies, lifts the material on the carriage via hydraulic cylinders instead of mechanical lifting mechanisms. Therefore a hydraulic lift is often more quiet and smooth during operation.

Hydraulic lifts are quite adaptable for mezzanines, balconies, through floor and inside and outside applications. Depending on their intended use, many hydraulic lifts are designed smaller and more compact than mechanical lifts. The benefit these units provide is they can be often delivered as a complete product ready for fast, easy, one-day installation, thus keeping downtime to a minimum. Many businesses, large, small and in between, often require the need for what is referred to as a high-speed material handling conveyor. These are specifically designed for the light duty lifting of boxes, cartons, packages, totes, cases, containers, etc. These type lifts provide non stop transportation to or from balconies and mezzanines, over aisles or machinery, between floors or conveyor belt levels.

A big advantage to one of these lifts is the fact that they are completely self contained, self supporting and economical. Also, by meeting the proper ANSI/ASME code, you can be assured of the product providing all the safety benefits you would expect. Whether you need to reach a balcony, a mezzanine or a certain level of multiple levels, a Vertical Reciprocating Conveyor may be the product of choice.

Even though a VRC moves products and supplies from one level to another, they are not elevators. A VRC and an elevator each have their own national safety code assigned. A VRC is generally more cost effective than an elevator and also an easier means of transporting materials from one elevation to another and above all is very safe. These are some of the more popular lifts or conveyors used in various applications today. Yes, there are others, but having a somewhat decent understanding of these I discussed will provide you a basic understanding of other varieties of conveyors.

Mark Washburn is a freelance writer with experience in vertical conveyors and conveyor systems.

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