Once you have decided that you really need a conveyor belt, as opposed to a roller conveyor or other type of conveyor system, the thinking is not over. In order to make the right choice to get the perfect solution there are a few more things to ponder. These aspects revolve around the management of the part when it’s on the belt. This can include the product sticking to the belt, or slipping on the belt, and how you plan to make it end up in the place where you need it.
We already discussed some of the aspects of belt choice in article 2 in this series, so we do not need to address product temperature of sharp edges etc. However many a project falls short on the understanding about how the product should behave on the belt. There are literally hundreds of belt options available, and generally these fall into 2 categories, accumulating and non accumulating.
Accumulating belts allow the product to remain stationary on the belt while the belt moves beneath it. This is useful when you are collecting parts on the belt and want them to wait at the end against a stop or another product. It’s surprising how much slip you can achieve with a standard belt. However would you want that same feature if you are on an uphill climb? Maybe not.
Non accumulating belts do not allow the product to stand still on the belt while the belt moves. In some cases doing so will cause the belt to stall or the product to be damaged. But if you are in that same uphill situation, the grippy belts available can negate the need for more expensive cleated belts to be used. This saves money and also gives you more drive options.
Then there is side guide selection. There are many types of side guides from sheet materials to round bar and plastic mouldings. The type of guide you choose can add greatly to the cost of the conveyor system so take time to look at all the options. Choose the wrong side guide and it can mean a large expense to buy the right one. Do you need adjustable side guides, will fixed ones do, do you need side guides at all? Fixed side guides are the lowest cost options generally. While adjustable side guides give you more options for new products etc. they can be three or four times the price of fixed guides. If you do opt for adjustable side guides on your conveyor, make sure the reach of the side guide is far enough over the belt to cover existing and future products. At the same time make sure you have enough height to make contact with the product in the right place.
There is much more to say about conveyor accessories, but that’s for another more detailed article, another day.
Post time: 02-04-2017