About Roller Conveyors - Types, Design, and Uses
25th February 2022
Conveyors are material handling systems that allow for easy transporting of products, from powder to bulk to complicated geometries. They are integral to all kinds of systems, as they provide a fast and safe method of handling large volumes of materials. There are many kinds of conveyors, but their working principle remains constant across each type; move objects via gravity or by mechanical power from one destination to the next by using a frame that holds belts, buckets, rollers, or other moving components. The roller conveyor, or conveyor roller, is the focus of this article and is one of the most popular conveyor varieties employed. The types, designs, and uses of roller conveyors will be explored, as well as how to specify one of these systems for any application.
What are roller conveyors?
Simply put, roller conveyors are a form of conveyor belt that utilizes rollers - evenly-spaced rotating cylinders - to allow objects to skate across its surface. They move material from one place to another destination, and often leverage gravity or implement small motors to do so. The transported material must have a rigid riding surface that is supported by a minimum of three of the rollers. They are ideal for accumulation applications, and the rollers can reduce the inertia of products at a higher speed, making them useful conveyors after high speed sorting machinery.
Since the design of these conveyors is simplistic, many advancements have been made to allow roller conveyors to keep up with industry trends. The biggest innovation is the drive or live roller conveyor, where each roller is connected to a motor via a belt/chain/shaft to increase controllability. This equalizes the rate with which materials move down the pathway, and also allows these conveyors to have limited use in reverse, i.e. from low to high elevation. They can work well in bi-directional applications, as the rollers can direct material in either direction by switching the direction of the motor. In the next section, we will investigate the different kinds of powered roller conveyors, as there are many kinds suitable for use with a wide range of materials.
Types of roller conveyors
This section will detail the important kinds of roller conveyors present in the industry. We are highlighting the major designations here, but know that more types exist and that there is a lot of overlap between these different types. Also, these roller conveyors can be a mix of many designs, depending upon the manufacturer.
Gravity roller conveyor
The simplest of this list, the gravity roller conveyor is a frame that holds free-rotating rollers and uses gravity to slide material down the line. They are used to carry light to medium weight products that do not require a motor, which makes them economical solutions for designers. They can be purchased with accessories such as curves, pop up stops, supports and hanging brackets, slide rails, and more, and are often made from steel, aluminum, and plastic. They are often implemented as temporary conveyors, alternatives for skate wheel conveyors, heavy-duty applications, and accumulating loads that do not require any specialized timing.
Belt driven roller conveyor
The belt-driven live roller conveyor utilizes a motorized belt to power each roller, allowing this conveyor type to control the motion of the materials being transported. They are preferred over typical belt conveyors when items must be stopped momentarily at control points, items must be turned, and/or side loading or slide unloading is necessary. The belt can be straight or can be in a V shape for curved roller conveyors. Some belt-driven roller conveyors can support products wider than the frame width, thanks to the rollers being higher than the frame. In any arrangement, the rubber belt underneath the rollers must not encounter moisture, excessive heat, or debris as these conditions can quickly degrade the system. These conveyors are often used for handling medium to heavy loads that are dry and clean, and which require periodic stopping and/or reversible action.FROM:Thomas