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What is a Conveyor System?

A conveyor system (also known as a belt conveyor system or simply conveyor belt) is an apparatus designed to transport items through an area with speed, efficiency, and minimal human labor. When most people think of a conveyor belt, they rightly imagine a warehouse or factory with conveyor belts loaded with boxes snaking through a facility. However, one can find conveyor systems at work at supermarket checkout counters, ski lifts, and in department store escalators for instance. In fact, due to their remarkable utility and versatility, conveyor systems are employed in just about every type of business and facility.

The conveyor belt system, in its most basic form, consists of a belt of fabric stretched between two pulleys, with at least one pulley operating under power. The pulley under power is the drive pulley, while the idle pulley is aptly called the idler. The belt, which is the transport medium, is wrapped around the pulleys in a closed loop which allows it to rotate around them. This action allows items, materials, and objects placed on the belt to be rapidly moved from one location in an area (i.e. building, facility) to another.

The conveyor belt itself is generally a two-sided medium, with the differing materials on each side serving a unique purpose. The underside of the belt, called the carcass, is composed of a rough, sturdy material to provide strength and durability. The top layer, called the cover, is outfitted with the material best suited for the items or objects to be transported. This material is usually softer, like rubber or plastic. Not all conveyor systems use belts, but instead features surfaces such as small metal rollers as the transport medium.

Conveyor systems have served a crucial role in the manufacturing and industrial sectors for over a hundred years. When there is a need to transport bulky, cumbersome, or simply a large volume of items, materials, or objects through a building in an expedient and orderly matter, conveyor systmes are indispensable. They remain reliable, durable, inexpensive, and sturdy components of any automated warehousing and distribution operation. They’re also considered a labor-saving system that facilities the rapid and organized flow of large volumes of materials through a process, making it possible to receive, transport, and ship with reduced labor expense.

Conveyor systems are fashioned in many styles and configurations depending on their intended utility. There are, for example, horizontally oriented conveyor belts like the kind you’d find in a warehouse, vertical conveyor belts for transporting items up an incline or a grade, and circular conveyor belts used for airport baggage claims. They also handle more than boxes and manufacturing parts; they can also be used to transport agricultural materials like coal, salt, sand, and grain, with them being equipped with an appropriately styled belt for the task. And when there’s a need for complex and discriminating rerouting of items and objects, there are the aforementioned metal roller conveyor belts, which features such versatile functionally as:

End Pushers
Pull Off
Plow Diverter
Escapement Stop
Crossover Transport

Additionally, conveyor systems are used in self-unloading bulk freighters and trucks. And when you see a moving sidewalk at an airport terminal, that’s a conveyor system at work as well. In short, conveyor systems are everywhere, and remain a key cog in a multitude of businesses and industries worldwide.