Understanding Conveyor System Design

Colin Fairweather, CEO, Facet Engineering

With so many options, configurations and permutations available for conveyor systems; they can be modified and customised to suit just about any conveying requirement. This versatility can make the task of selecting the right conveyor even more challenging.

Conveyors are often incorrectly used; overloaded with product or not optimised for the environment in which they operate. This could be due to budget or space limitations, or lack of knowledge on how best to move the material in question.

Choosing the right conveyor for your product handling requirements is not always as simple as it may seem. Moving product consistently at the required production rate in a way which does not compromise the operating environment can be a challenge.

At Facet Engineering, we understand the many intricacies involved in moving material and have put together a few guidelines to consider for your next conveyor system design project.

Material to be moved

Possibly the most important consideration when assessing which type of conveyor to use is to start with the material to be moved.

  • In what form or state is the product?
  • What is the composition of the product – powder, granules, pellets, boxes pieces.
  • What is the particle size? What are the dimensions of the package or unit?
  • For product in bulk quantities, what is the flowability of the material – free-flowing, sluggish?
  • How abrasive is the product?
  • Is the product temperature a factor? Does it need to be cooled or kept at a certain temperature?
  • What is the moisture content?
  • Unique product characteristics that may impact its handling? – fragile, wet, chemical composition.
Conveyor function

It is vital that the primary function of the conveyor system is identified. Some examples include reduce manual handling of product, provide a process function or batch processing.

  • Is the requirement simply to move product between key points or processes?
  • Are there multiple handling requirements – does the product need to feed into hoppers or chutes
  • What is the required product throughput for the conveyor system – the required amount of product to be moved over a specific time period?
Space constraints

Space is usually limited in most production facilities and an understanding of the existing floor space available as well as the footprint of the machines required is vital for the design of an effective conveyor system.

  • How much space is available for installing a conveyor system?
  • What existing equipment is currently in place?
  • Over what distance does the product need to be moved?
  • Does the product need to be moved over a straight line, turn a corner or is there a change in elevation? Does the product need to be moved vertically or between floors?
  • Consider the product infeed and discharge height
Environment

The operating environment needs to be assessed to determine what adjustments need to be made to the conveyor design. These factors may relate to the product, the factory conditions and any hygiene requirements. Environmental factors may include:

  • Humidity and temperature
  • Pressure or vacuum
  • Product dust and fumes
  • Risk for explosion
  • Vibration
  • Washdown requirements
  • Cross-contamination concerns
BUDGET

The cost impacts the overall feasibility of any conveyor system design project. Budget allocation will need to consider the long-term return of any capital investment. Budget constraints should be disclosed upfront to ensure that a cost-effective solution is developed from the start.

 

With over 30 years of experience in conveyor system design, we understand the intricacies involved in handling and conveying products in all industries. Our design office will provide you with guidance and advice on the conveyor best suited for your conveying application.

Contact Us directly to discuss your next conveyor system design project.

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