Conveyor Systems | Portland, OR

Conveyors can greatly improve the efficiency and productivity of your warehouse while reducing labor costs.

Raymond West is the premiere warehouse automation supplier in Portland.

To speak with an automation expert, give us a call today at (800) 675-2500.

Automated systems and conveyors can elevate the productivity of your warehouse, improve safety and significantly reduce human resource costs.

Conveyor systems can transport everything from lightweight cartons to heavy pallets throughout your material handling system and they are an essential piece of contemporary material handling design.

Conveyor systems are classified in three distinct classes for most material handling operations:

  • Powered roller or belt conveyors (for package handling)
  • Powered roller or chain conveyors (for pallet handling)
  • Non-powered systems

Powered Package Handling Roller or Belt Conveyors

Powered roller or belt systems are generally used for lighter weight pieces like cartons and packages.

Conveyor belts are mostly employed for moving cartons along a line, while roller systems are employed for amassing products in certain areas along the line.

Belt Conveyors

Invented more than a century ago, conveyor belts are a staple of most material handling operations. Less expensive than roller options and oftentimes more appropriate for specific tasks like transporting lightweight products, conveyor belts have a place in most material handling layouts.

Conveyor belts feature a long, looped belt that sits atop a metal slider belt substructure or an array of non-powered rollers. A motor drives a pulley that turns the belt and advances products down the conveyor line.

Conveyor belts can be configured with a range of surfaces and materials according to the purpose and role of the conveyor. For example, a belt surface could be perfectly smooth in segments where items need to glide off the line and may have a ridged texture on segments where goods must be moved up gradients.

Roller Conveyors

Although belt conveyors are time-tested workhorses, newer roller conveyors offer a number of advantages in many modern material handling uses.

First and foremost, roller conveyors can allow for accumulation of products on the line where belt conveyors cannot. This is a meaningful contrast because there are countless scenarios where objects must hold and accumulate in material handling applications. Accumulation processes are often used when products must be temporarily halted before being passed to automated palletizers or sorters.

Many roller conveyors also have the ability to track objects on the line and apply zero pressure accumulation, meaning none of the amassed objects directly touch as they decelerate and finally stop.

Roller conveyors are made up of numerous cylindrical rollers that are typically controlled in one of three different ways:

  • Line-shaft conveyors: in a line shaft conveyor, a long steel shaft runs beneath the cylinders perpendicular to them and is connected to each cylinder with rubber O-rings. A motor turns the shaft, and thereby turns the cylinders via the attached O-rings. Line-shaft systems are the most inexpensive of all roller conveyers, but they can also demand the most repair because the linkages between the shaft and rollers tend to need adjustment and sometimes fail.
  • Belt-driven roller conveyors: As the name suggests, these conveyors are powered by a belt that lies underneath the roller surface. A motor drives the belt, which propels the roller cylinders.
  • MDR conveyors: Motorized roller conveyors, frequently referred to as motor-driven roller (MDR) systems, are configured in segments where one cylinder from each section is powered by it's own drive mechanism. That individual powered roller is connected to the others in that segment by way of plastic O-rings, and therefore rotates all the rollers in the segment. Motorized segments are positioned in succession to create the conveyor line.
    MDR conveyors are very energy efficient for a couple of reasons: a.) they typically are powered by 24 volt DC motors and b.) these motors are set up to run only when an object is present on the rollers, and as a result they are motionless throughout much of the day.
    Although the cost of MDR conveyors is higher than belt drive and line-shaft rollers, electricity expenses and service outlays are usually much lower than the other types of conveyors.
  • Segmented belt conveyor: the design of motor driven roller systems ultimately inspired the development of segmented belt conveyors. Similar to motor driven roller conveyors, segmented belts are powered as discrete independent units and feature several of the same benefits of motor driven rollers, including accumulation capabilities.

Powered Pallet Handling Conveyors

Powered pallet-handling conveyors are many times paired with automatic palletizers and AS/RS setups. Pallet handling conveyors can typically deal with pallets of up to 4,000 lbs and proceed at a far slower rate than package handling conveyors, sometimes at speeds of just a few pallets per minute.

Pallet-handling conveyors come in one of two types: chain conveyors and roller conveyors.

  • Pallet-handling chain conveyor: perhaps the simplest of all conveyors, pallets on a chain conveyor line are placed on top of segments of heavy duty chain. A drive mechanism advances the chain segments which consequently move the pallets down the line.
  • Pallet-handling roller conveyor: similar in concept to motor driven roller systems, pallet handling roller conveyors use larger rollers and sturdy chains to join the motorized cylinder to the rest of the cylinders in a conveyor segment.

Non-Powered Conveyors

Skatewheel or roller systems are the conventional types of non-powered conveyors used in material handling. Non-powered rollers or skatewheels use gravity or inertia to advance smaller loads though pick modules, warehouses, automated sorters, workstations, package sorting areas and loading docks.

Skatewheel conveyors are made up of many independent wheels and need minimal power to maintain the inertia of objects as they move down a conveyor line. In general, they propel products quicker than non-powered roller configurations and they have more adaptability when it comes to setup. Because they’re separate wheels as opposed to a belt, they may be applied in curvilinear sections of a conveyor system.

In general non-powered roller configurations are less expensive than skatewheel conveyor systems. They’re frequently used for work stations, pick modules, and other sectors where it’s advantageous to maintain a level platform to work on. Roller conveyors are also used to slow products down that originate from faster moving systems like sorters so that workers can keep pace with system output.

Both types of non-powered systems have a significant handicap in comparison to powered systems: by using inertia and gravity to move items you lose the ability to regulate the force applied to those products. In other words, you have minimal influence on the speed and inertia of materials on your conveyor line.

Conveyor Companies Near Me

If you’d like a complete evaluation of conveyor system options for your storage facility, DC or other material handling operation, talk to an expert at Raymond West.

Raymond's Portland service operation includes all of Western Oregon and Southwest Washington, including Portland, Beaverton, Tigard, Hillsboro, Forest Grove, Sherwood, Tualatin, Wilsonville, Oregon City, Gladstone, Clackamas, Milwaukie, Happy Valley, Gresham, Troutdale, Woodburn, Salem, Vancouver, Ridgefield, Longview, Kelso and surrounding areas.

Raymond West | Portland Material Handling Equipment Supplier

3148 NE 181st Ave
Portland, OR 97230
(800) 675-2500