How to Select the Best Conveyor System for Your Unit Handling Application

How to Select the Best Conveyor System for Your Unit Handling Application

The proper selection and sizing of a conveyor is critical to successfully meeting your production goals. However, investing in a new conveyor system can be daunting and there are a number of key factors to be considered. 

Here are five baseline questions that our Conveying Systems Engineers recommend you ask when selecting a new conveyor to make the process as seamless as possible: 

  1. What will your conveyor be used for? 
  2. What material will be transported? 
  3. What environment will it be operating in? 
  4. What size will it be? 
  5. How strong will the motor be? 

Taking the time to understand these factors up-front and gather the most accurate data possible related to each component – ideally in partnership with a trusted, experienced supplier – will help you select the best conveying technology for your specific needs and bring the greatest return on your investment. 

What Will your Conveyor be Used For? 

Knowing the application of your system is a necessary first step. What do you need your conveyor, component or system to do—transport, accumulate or sort? 

Transport conveyors represent a high volume of straight conveyors used to transport a product from point A to B. These include non-powered gravity and belt conveyors. 

Accumulation conveyors are designed to transport items with the ability to zone products. Accumulation conveyor is critical to achieving high rates through a system while keeping equipment speeds as slow as possible. There are several types of accumulation conveyors, including: minimum pressure, zero pressure and zero contact. 

Once the conveyor system has collected and consolidated items, there are several sortation technologies used to automate the distribution of these items. Common uses of a sorter in an automated order fulfillment process include: sorting items to packing stations or sorting finished orders to shipping dock doors. 

What Material Will be Transported? 

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Determining what products or materials are being conveyed on the belt is a critical next step in establishing the best belting option for a particular application.

Will specialty belting be required? How wide will the belt need to be? Here are the 4 main areas to consider: 

  • Size and weight 
  • Temperature 
  • Abrasiveness 
  • Specialty products 

Specialty products like food and pharmaceuticals will require equipment to undergo rigorous washdown, and conveyor belting will need to be able to withstand regular exposure to harsh chemicals. Other specialty objects could also require a variety of custom-designed belting solutions. 

What Environment Will it be Operating In? 

A number of environmental factors must be considered in the proper selection of equipment based on material characteristics, handling concerns or health & safety. 

Will the conveyor and product operate at room temperature or will environmental factors affect the design? 

Conveyors that will operate indoors and at room temperature will have much more flexibility when it comes to available belt options.

Extreme temperatures, exposure to the elements, cleanroom requirements, and other specialty operating environments will require specific belting, such as stainless steel wire mesh belting for high heat environments. 

What Size Will it Be? 

Though an obvious step, the spatial constraints for your new equipment could end up being the deciding factor between one conveyor or another. 

The obvious, yet often overlooked key spatial requirement question to ask is: How much room is available to install the equipment or device? 

How Strong will the Motor Be? 

How fast will the conveyor need to be? How much load will it need to accommodate? These are important ways to determine how strong a motor your system will need. 

How to Select the Best Supplier For the Job 

After you’ve established what you need, the next step is figuring out which companies are capable of supplying it, and which of those you think will offer the best product with the best return on your investment.

Depending on your needs, conveyor suppliers may offer you a pre-existing conveyor system design, or a custom solution. In either case, be sure to ask the following questions: 

  • What is their expertise? 
  • What type of system will it be? 
  • How difficult will future modifications be? 
  • What’s involved for installation and maintenance? 

Like we said, investing in a new conveyor system can be daunting. However, with our large network of suppliers that specialize in different areas – and our highly-qualified team of engineering experts – we can help you find the right one.

For example… 

Have a food-grade or washdown application? Span Tech designs food grade conveyor systems that effectively do it all: accumulate, merge, divide, incline, vertically convey, deposit, reject and reclaim, all while saving crucial production time with easy-to-clean parts. 

Need a Z-flow conveyor to get your products from one level to another? New London’s rugged, heavy-duty conveyors are designed for long-term, low-maintenance operations. 

Conveying bottles, cans or pharmaceuticals? Nercon’s TableTop conveyor system offers a versatile design, which makes it a popular conveyor system suited for a wide range of high-speed production environments. 

Looking for the best solution for unit handling or pallet handling? Hytrol’s EZlogic® system provides all the intelligence needed to accurately control the various functions of zero-pressure accumulation on a conveyor. 



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Request a FREE EVALUATION or Learn More

Your one-stop industrial shop is also your conveyor expert. Schedule a FREE EVALUATION today or contact IBT’s Director of Conveying Systems Jim Boatright at (913) 261-2116 to learn more.

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