A Closer Look at Gravity ConveyorsJune 11, 2018
Conveyor systems are available in a number of operational configurations. To illustrate that point, consider non-powered conveyor systems. There’s no electrical drive unit engaging some cleverly integrated geartrain, no coupled motors and gears in evidence whatsoever. Known as gravity conveyors, these mechanisms use inclined decks to send their loads skating along a frictionless surface. Having described their basic functional elements, don’t these slightly tilted conveyers deserve a closer look?
The anatomy of this type of conveyor deck seems to be on the move all the time. As it turns out, after breaking down the tightly assembled parts, there are all kinds of rolling elements in motion. One gravity conveyor solution is using an array of mechanically linked skatewheels. Theses rolling wheels are mounted on toughened rods, typically in groups of five, and equally spaced. A shift in rod placement alters the position of every second line, so the roller wheels deliver a stable transportation base. Utilized as a lightweight material conveyance solution, skatewheel gravity conveyors are generally found inside packaging facilities, stock rooms, and other lightweight application sites.
Built from steel or aluminium, the wide rollers stretch from one side of the surface deck to the other. Now, while skatewheel systems are usually configured with a reduced incline, full roller models require a greater angular spread. As for the rollers, they come in light, medium, and heavy-duty forms, so expect to see these adaptable gravity conveyor systems in factories and similar industrial complexes. Furthermore, roller beds are designed to handle differently shaped loads, so one of these equipment lines can easily handle objects and products that have uneven bases.
Examining the Mechanical Linkages
Given a gentle push or receiving the lightest nudge from a processing line, the materials slide along and slightly down the gravity conveyor. On the skatewheel system, the equally spaced axles are separated by friction-reducing wheels. Then, in-between each wheel, a steel or aluminium spacer tube keeps the rolling discs in place. Meanwhile, over at a light-duty roller deck, bed spacers and spring-loaded axles attach to a channel frame as it straightens or curves through packaging rooms and factory floors on a series of stationary support posts.
And so it goes, with the gravity conveyor system operating as an inclined deck. For the ultimate in system flexibility, though, these systems can be used with powered conveyors. Constructed from non-powered segments and geared motorized drive sections, the equipment uses cost-saving gravity when possible, then it switches to a powered stretch when extra drive energy is needed.
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