In the era of large-scale industrial operations, conveyors are necessary to move items from one location to another within a specified area. The need is based on human labor shortcomings such as exhaustion, flexibility, and inability to move particular objects.
Relying on human labor can also be cost-intensive and slow. To boost efficiency, save on costs and time and maximize production, companies heavily rely on conveyors as an integral part of their operations.
Some common application areas include industrial, warehousing, and outdoor activities like mining. Different types of conveyor belts are available for companies to select; however, the most common ones are roller and belt conveyors.
These two have extensive applications, ideal for different companies with small to large operations. Despite having wide applications, they are unsuitable for some operations; therefore, you must understand their pros and cons to help you select the ideal one for a specific need.
When selecting between the two, here are some guidelines to help.
- Roller Conveyors
Most roller conveyors move materials with the help of gravity. The system consists of pulleys with an axle center and rollers at the top. As these rollers roll in the same direction, the object moves along the rollers to the desired destination.
If you need a durable conveyor, this is the best choice since it is made of durable metals to last longer and withstand the weight of the products they are transporting.
A roller conveyor can take different shapes, such as a straight line or a curve. Since every roller has its mortar system, the conveyor’s speeds are constant and cannot be increased or reduced.
Therefore, when setting it up for areas such as assembly and production lines, the machine activities must be customized to operate at the speed of the conveyor to avoid any accidents or inconveniences.
i. Applications of Roller Conveyors
They are mainly used in bulky operations or moving objects with undefined sharp edges. Some ideal application and use areas include loading docks, assembly mines, mining sites, and constriction zones due to the load capacity and ability to withstand pressure.
A downside to these conveyors is the speed; they are relatively slower, however suitable for assembly lines requiring workers to inspect the goods at certain stages. You can also install them in plants with manufacturing stages where workers need to add some ingredients or remove something from the goods being transported.
Electronics such as fridges, television, and cookers can be assembled on these lines as they allow the goods to move slowly while employees perform different roles.
ii. Pros of Roller Conveyors
They are unidirectional, meaning you can set the conveyor to move forward or reverse it to move the products backward. However, reversing or changing the direction will require that you halt the whole system and then make the adjustments.
Since most parts are metallic, they are more durable than other belts. They can withstand big volumes and transport objects, including those with rough surfaces. The components used to manufacture these conveyors are friction-resistant to guarantee durability and reliability for long-term operations.
Most sections are made of rollers, which require the least amount of electricity to operate. Once in motion, the movement remains consistent, with limited energy needed.
iii. Cons of Roller Conveyors
You must consistently monitor the product in transit since they can eaily get damaged. A problem with a roller can also affect the soling surfaces leading to other rollers damaging the goods in motion.
Operators do not have control over the speed, and they cannot increase or reduce it. This is due to their bulkiness, multiple components made of heavy materials, which can also affect their portability or relocation within the manufacturing floor.
- Belt Conveyors
These conveyors are based on belt systems that are extended between two pulleys in a loop to allow the belt to move in one direction. Beneath the belt are metallic slider pans to move lightweight objects to the desired destination. You can select a belt made using leather, rubber, or fabric based on the materials you plan to move.
i. Applications of Belt Conveyors
Belt conveyors are ideal for handling sensitive goods that require handling cautiously to avoid breakages. Due to the vulnerability, you can use them in areas like food processing facilities, glass manufacturing, drinks factories, airport baggage systems, etc.
Another application area is for moving lightweight and fine-grain materials that should not spill or fall off the belt.
ii. Pros of belt conveyor
A critical factor when selecting conveyor systems are the price, availability, and wide applications; it meets all these criteria and guarantees more. Warehouses and factories can also reduce damage risks since the top surfaces of these belts are gentle and can transport fragile items such as glass without any damage.
iii. Cons of Belt Conveyor System
Due to the nature of the top surface and design, they are only suitable for transporting products of a certain maximum weight. Overloading it with heavy or more items slows down the belts or can strain the pulleys leading to other subsequent damages. They could be better for large-scale and bulk operations.
Belts require constant replacement due to friction between the moving pulleys and the top surface. While they may be easy to install, maintenance costs are high since the company must constantly grease certain areas to reduce friction effects or regularly change the belt system.
Belt and roller conveyors are suitable for large-scale operations; however, the selection depends on certain factors, such as costs and applications. When moving light, fragile goods requiring much care, belt conveyors should be the ideal choice.
For bulky goods, continuous operations with stops at different intervals, rollers are the best option; however, they may be expensive to purchase and install. The other difference is also evident in the maintenance costs and needs; belts require more frequent care than rollers; hence they are expensive to run and operate.