Conveyor Systems | San Francisco Bay Area

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

Raymond West is the premiere warehouse automation supplier in the Bay Area.

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

Automated conveyors and AS/RS implementations can boost the productivity of your distribution facilities, enhance safety practices and substantially reduce human resource expenses.

Modern conveyors can transport everything from lightweight cartons to heavy pallets throughout your warehouse and they are a fundamental part of modern material handling design.

Conveyors fall into three separate categories for almost all material handling systems:

  • Powered belt or roller conveyor systems (for carton handling)
  • Powered roller or chain systems (for pallet handling)
  • Non-powered systems

Powered Package Handling Roller or Belt Conveyors

Powered roller or belt systems are frequently used for lighter weight items like packages and cartons.

Belt systems are generally used for moving products along a line, while roller systems are used for collecting products in certain areas along the line.

Belt Conveyors

Invented more than a century ago, belt systems are an indispensable piece of many material handling operations. Not as costly as roller conveyors and frequently more appropriate for certain functions like advancing lighter weight products, conveyor belts are used in many material handling layouts.

Belt conveyors employ a long, looped belt that is positioned on the top of a metal slider belt substructure or an array of non-powered rollers. Motor driven pulleys turn the belt and move objects down the conveyor line.

Betl systems are made of an assortment of materials and surfaces in accordance with the purpose and nature of the conveyor. For instance, a belt surface may be un-ridged in areas where products need to be pushed off the line and may have a gripping surface on segments where products must be moved up gradients.

Roller Conveyors

Despite the long and successful history of belt conveyors, newer roller systems offer a set of advantages in many modern material handling applications.

Most importantly, roller systems can enable collection of items on the line where belt systems cannot. This is a meaningful distinction because there are innumerable scenarios where items must hold and accumulate in material handling configurations. Accumulation is often necessary when products must be paused before being forwarded to automated palletizers or sorters.

Many roller conveyor systems also have the ability to track products on the line and utilize zero pressure accumulation, meaning none of the products collecting on the line directly touch as they decelerate and come to a stop.

Roller designs are made up of numerous cylindrical rollers that are typically controlled in one of these ways:

  • Line-shaft conveyors: in a line shaft system, a long metal rod runs beneath the cylinders perpendicular to them and is attached to each cylinder with rubber O-rings. A motor spins the shaft, and consequently turns the cylinders by way of the connected O-rings. Line-shaft systems are the least costly of all roller setups, but they may also need the most maintenance because the O-ring connectors between the shaft and rollers tend to need adjustment and sometimes break.
  • Belt-driven roller conveyors: As you may expect, these systems are driven by a belt mechanism that sits beneath the roller platform. A motor propels the belt, which advances the rollers.
  • MDR conveyors: Motorized roller conveyors, often called motor-driven roller (MDR) conveyors, are set up in segments where only one roller from each segment is powered by it's own drive mechanism. That individual powered cylinder is linked to the adjacent rollers in that segment via rubber O-rings, and therefore powers all the cylinders in the section. Powered segments are positioned in succession to configure the conveyor line.
    Motorized roller conveyors are known for their energy efficiency because: a.) they generally are powered by 24V direct current motors and b.) the motors are set up to run only when an object is detected on the cylinders, and as a result they are motionless most of the time.
    Although motorized roller conveyers cost more than line-shaft and belt drive rollers, energy expenses and maintenance outlays are generally far lower than the other options mentioned.
  • Segmented belt conveyor: the design of motor driven roller conveyors ultimately led to the birth of segmented belt conveyors. Similar to MDR conveyors, segmented belts operate independently and feature many of the same advantages of motor driven rollers, including accumulation potential.

Powered Pallet Handling Conveyors

Powered pallet-handling conveyors are frequently paired with palletizers and automatic storage and retrieval systems. Pallet handling conveyors can generally accommodate gross weights of up to 2 tons and operate at a far slower rate than package handling systems, often at speeds as low as four pallets per minute.

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

  • Pallet-handling chain conveyor: perhaps the most basic of all conveyors, pallets on a chain conveyor line are positioned directly on two or more lengths of heavy duty chain. A drive mechanism advances the chain segments which in turn move the pallets along the line.
  • Pallet-handling roller conveyor: comparable to motor driven roller conveyors, pallet handling roller conveyors use large cylinders and sturdy chains to join the powered cylinder to the rest of the cylinders in a conveyor unit.

Non-Powered Conveyors

Roller or skatewheel conveyors are the conventional types of non-powered conveyors used in typical warehouse operations. These types of systems use gravity or inertia to move smaller loads though pick modules, warehouses, automated sorters, workstations, loading docks and package sorting areas.

Skatewheel conveyors are made up of many individual wheels and require very little energy to maintain the inertia of objects as they move down a conveyor line. On the whole, they move items faster than non-powered roller systems and they have more versatility when it comes to setup. Because they’re separate wheels as opposed to a belt, they may be used in curved sections of a conveyor system.

Typically non-powered roller conveyors are less costly than skatewheel conveyor systems. They’re often utilized for work stations, pick modules, and other sectors where it’s advantageous to maintain a flat surface to perform tasks. They are also used to decelerate items that originate from higher speed systems like sorters so that employees can keep pace with system performance.

Both types of non-powered systems have a significant liability compared to powered systems: by applying gravity and inertia to move products you forego the option to regulate the force applied to those materials. Put another way, you have very little influence on the speed and inertia of products on your line.

Conveyor Companies Near Me

If you’d like a full analysis of conveyor system options for your storage facility, DC or other material handling operation, speak with an expert at Raymond West.

Raymond West's Fremont facility serves all of the Bay Area, including San Francisco, Oakland, San Leandro, Hayward, Union City, Fremont, San Jose, Santa Clara, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Redwood City, San Mateo, South San Francisco, Richmond, Vallejo, Concord, Pleasanton, Livermore and all surrounding areas.

Raymond West | San Francisco Bay Area Material Handling Equipment Supplier

41400 Boyce Rd
Fremont, CA 94538
(800) 675-2500