Numerous industries use conveyor belts to transport goods from place to another. In fact, from a fast food restaurant to a car factory, it would be impossible to imagine any commercial enterprise without a conveyor system in place. It is so widely used that even customers come in contact with them, like at the airport luggage room where you pick up your suitcase from a specially designed round conveyor belt. This particular model has a smooth surface but most conveyor belts are rough so materials wouldn’t fall off them. There are several types of conveyors that are used in different fields of life and it would be not only interesting but useful to know more about them.
A short history of the conveyor
The conveyor belt is a rather new invention, one made possible by the use of steam and electricity in heavy industry. As you might have guessed, first conveyors were used in the mining industry for transporting coal and ores at the end of the 19th century. From there on, the concept was adopted across the globe and the French even built a conveyor belt that runs straight for whopping 13.8 kilometers long in a nickel mine in New Caledonia. Conveyors owe their popularity partly to the fact that they can be made into any shape and length imaginable.
Types of conveyors
Depending on the industry they are used in, conveyors come in all shapes and sizes. Chain belt conveyors are the most common ones in waste management and food processing. They can either be part of a larger machine or they can be manned by workers sorting the material on the belt, such as trash in a recycling center or fruit in a food company.
In the construction industry, steel belt conveyors are the standard. They can carry loads up to 50 tons in weight, meaning that they are used on construction sites, in quarries, and at dump yards. For lighter loads that need to be transported quickly, slider bed conveyors are put into action, as their belt is not as massive as the one steel conveyors have.
Up and down
The conveyor can be set at any angle so it can carry stuff up and down without using extra energy. Anyone who knows how a typical construction site operates knows how hard it is to transports building material up and down, so a conveyor belt really comes in handy. Not only can they be loaded with heavy objects, including whole boulders in mines but they run continuously around the clock. Even when workers end their shift and go home to sleep, a conveyor can run through the night. Of course, it needs supervision and an automated feeder, which most factories have.
Setting the right speed
All conveyors come with the ability to set the desired speed of transport. For heavier loads, the speed should be slower, while light items, like packages at a distribution center, can be transported at greater speeds. This is not a simple procedure as an expert is needed to calculate the right speed and the maximum weight allowed by each speed. If the speed is too high or the weight is just too much for the conveyor, it will start to malfunction due to the stress exerted on its parts. Then they will start to break and even fall off, so you will have to turn to companies such as Belle Bane for spare parts for your troubled conveyor.
Put it in reverse
Apart from the incline and adjustable speed, conveyors have one more trick up their sleeves. Namely, the belt can move in both ways, shuttling from one end of the factory to the other. This can come in handy when the manufacturing process requires a single product to be shipped back and forth to different departments. Like with old bikes, the reverse gear on a conveyor can alternatively serve as a brake, although most models come with an emergency brake. In general, they are machines with moving parts, so manufacturers take great care of safety and neither the worker nor the operator is in any sort of danger if they adhere to safety instructions.
The conveyor belt revolutionized the industrial segment of human manufacturing. Modern mines and factories are unimaginable without it and even airline passengers are impressed looking at its mechanism while they wait for luggage to be smoothly delivered to them.