There is something simplistic about a conveyor system; a child can understand the concept of mechanical equipment that moves material from one location to another. However, the design of an effective conveyor system is anything but simplistic and not properly collecting the details upfront can lead to costly mistakes.
We’d like to introduce you to 6 major steps in the building of your new conveyor system. In this first installment of a four-part blog series on conveyor system design and applications, we will focus on the product-specific criteria. In general terms, the major questions to be answered before designing your system are:
- What is the product to be handled? What are the product/carton sizes and weights?
- What are the warehouse environmental conditions? Is it a freezer/cooler? Is the environment moist or dry?
- What is your current maintenance staff capabilities?
- What is the current rate of cases? What are your expectations for the future rate of cases?
- What is current labor vs. future labor estimates with automation?
- What are your expectations for ROI?
Getting to Know the Product
Since this is Part 1 of our series, we will discuss a pivotal design consideration…the product. The product you are conveying will determine what the system looks like. Answer these basic questions first:
- What are the maximum, minimum, and average dimensions of the products?
- What is the maximum weight of the product?
- Properties of the product: fragile? Is it conveyable? Does it need to maintain a certain temperature?
- Where are the bar codes located?
Bullets 3-4 are easy, off the top of your head to answer but what about 1 & 2? With thoughts of tape measures and cumbersome scales, some people might be tempted to guess. Even an educated guess could prove disastrous. The weight and dimensions of each and every product moved is the most important design criteria for conveyor systems. This may sound daunting, but this is really where it gets easy!
Quickly and accurately determine the weight and exact dimensions of the products in your warehouse with a dimensioning system. Automated dimension scanning equipment saves valuable time measuring, weighing and documenting each item that enters your warehouse storage environment.
Dimensioning Systems Help Us Determine:
- The weight capacity and motor horsepower required to obtain optimal speed
- The required width of the conveyor including the curves
- The type of belt needed to handle the package
- The amount of possible incline based upon package specifications
- The proper roller centers
Overestimating and/or gearing up for the largest, heaviest possible product, is not advised. Paying for extra features or over-engineered mechanics reduces the potential ROI on your investment. However, with the right planning and the right tools, a conveyor system can dramatically increase the efficiency and safety of your material handling operation from induction through shipping.
Do you want to see how a properly designed conveyor system will benefit your warehouse operation?
Contact E-Distribution to arrange a personal audit. Call today!