Selecting the Right Conveyor

Submitted by James Walker || Valin Corporation
selecting the right conveyor belt

Selecting a proper conveyor is a critical piece of specifying an automation process.  It is not a one size fits all approach as some may assume.  As the applications can be very diverse, the best conveyor for the process is not always obvious.  There are a litany of different options and features, all coming with a price point.  There are two extremes that you want to avoid when selecting the best conveyor for your process. You don’t want to underspecify where your conveyor doesn’t meet your specific needs.  On the other hand, you don’t want to over specify, spending money on options and features that are unnecessary for what you are trying to accomplish.  It’s a complicated process, and the only way to successfully navigate it is by fully understanding your needs and the options available to meet them.

What is the conveyor being used for?  Which part of the automation line?  This will dictate where the drive needs to be on the conveyor you’re selecting.  What kind of products will be accumulating on the conveyor?  Are there friction concerns that need to be addressed?  There are certain conveyors that are cleated while others are flat. One will be a better choice than the other depending on what we’re moving.

Will the motor be pushing or pulling the belt? 

What are the needed dimensions?

Do we need side rails?

These are all questions that should be considered. It’s important to consult with an expert in the field before making a sizeable investment. These are just a sample of the basic questions to ask.

Then there is the question of industry.  Does the conveyor need to be backlit as a means to inspect or measure parts with a vision system?  Are we talking about the food and beverage industry?  As one would imagine there are even more requirements in this industry.  Conveyors may need to have an element of metal detection to keep fragments out of food.

With industry comes the idea of environment.  What is the environment the conveyor will exist in?  Is it a harsh environment?  As one would imagine, the materials used must fit and operate well within the environment.

Finally, what kind of control is required for the process.  Depending on the level of control and nature of it, certain conveyors lend themselves more appropriately than others.

As you see, there are a large number of factors to consider when picking out a conveyor. Fortunately, our Valin experts have ample experience in this kind of guidance.  Next time you’re looking for a conveyor for your process, reach out to Valin first.  We’ll make sure you get exactly what you need.

I penned a couple of articles last year on this topic.  If you haven’t had the opportunity, please check them out.

Talk to one of our experts today at (855) 737-4716, or fill out our online form to learn more.