As the world embraces Industry 4.0, manufacturing and distribution operations are becoming more streamlined and efficient. Finishing lines are no different, as automation revolutionizes the industry.
With so many moving parts in any operation, it’s important that the finishing line receives the same attention and strategy as the rest of the production and manufacturing process.
The Importance of the Finishing Line
Manufacturers need to be fast and lean to remain competitive in the current environment. A finishing line can be used for wet spray painting, powder coating, dip lines, cleaning and pretreatment, and more. As such a versatile element in your conveyor system, it is a large factor in how efficient your entire system is.
Conveyor belt technology is at the heart of these operations. These systems play a critical role in transporting products and materials from one point to another. When strategically operated, conveyor belt technology helps to increase productivity and optimize the distribution process.
Tips for Maximizing Your Finishing Line
With technology and the use of space in mind, consider the following top tips for maximizing your finishing line.
1. Reduce material handling costs
Profit is the end goal in most businesses, and efficient finishing line conveyor systems help to boost profit by lowering expenses associated with material handling costs. Finishing line conveyor systems use automation to transport and sort materials, reducing manual labor costs for repetitive tasks.
Conveyor belt systems also help to free up space in the warehouse or factory by removing bulky storage solutions. Instead of relying on pallet racks and bins, conveyor belt systems use space efficiently, helping to reduce the demand for space and the overhead cost associated with it.
2. Optimize conveyor design
Various finishing lines require different design elements. Make sure you choose the best finishing line conveyor system design to meet your needs. Whether you need large-scale robotics systems or simple paint line conveyors, it’s important to choose a system that offers flexibility, reliability, and customization.
For example, standard (monorail) systems are a simple and cost-effective solution for straightforward processes as the system follows a single path. These can be installed manually or by a continuous chain, such as safe-rail, zig-zag, or inverted zig-zag for batch paint systems. A chat with our expert team will guide you in the right direction.
Power & free systems are other options for finishing line conveyor systems. Overhead power & free conveyors offer flexibility to adjust to operational needs. With the option to operate at different speeds, divert to multiple locations, and provide part-tracking analytics, these systems are versatile and help to maximize the finishing line productivity.
3. Incorporate automation
There are many different benefits to incorporating automation into your finishing line, all of which promote efficiency. Automation helps to reduce labor costs by training robots to perform mundane, repetitive tasks, freeing up manual labor that is better suited elsewhere. These robots work for longer hours with less risk of injury. Robots are reliable and consistent, producing fewer costly errors.
Robotic finishing systems use various tools and techniques to automate processes, saving time and money. For example, sensors and automated controls ensure that the conveyor system operates efficiently and that products are transported smoothly from one process to the next.
Consider how automated conveyors are revolutionizing paint applications. Automated paint finishing systems use robotic arms with servo motors integrated into conveyor systems, improving precision and flexibility. With sensors and robotics to assist the process, businesses experience less waste, greater flexibility, and improved production volume compared to manual capabilities.
4. Think vertically
Conveyor systems are often thought of in horizontal terms, but they can be even more effective when installed vertically. Rather than rely on horizontal systems to move items along a flat plane, vertical systems send products up and down, efficiently using the space. Taking advantage of vertical space cuts down on expensive overhead linked to renting larger spaces.
Overhead conveyor applications utilize the open space above to transfer items and materials, freeing up valuable floor space and reducing the need for a possible expansion.
Vertical design can also be incorporated by rethinking vertical transport units (VTU). Innovative VTUs are supported on all four sides, resulting in a robust mechanical design. By using an electric servo to control the VTU positioning, the movement is smoother and quicker. Finally, the servo stops the conveyor deck more precisely at multiple positions, which assists with accuracy.
5. Extend conveyor life
If you want to maximize your finishing line, you need to keep downtime to a minimum. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is to keep your finishing conveyor systems in tip-top shape. Wear and tear occurs in many ways, and maintenance is imperative.
To keep your conveyor on track, lubrication should be applied appropriately, a schedule of chain conveyor maintenance should be followed, and the manual should be studied to understand specific maintenance needs better. By conducting regular and preventative maintenance, the system will keep operating smoothly and keep pace with a radically changing world. Any questions on how to properly maintain your conveyor? We’re here to help!
Maximize Your Finishing Line with Richards-Wilcox Conveyor
At Richards-Wilcox Conveyor, we’ve created flexible, modular, and automated systems designed to last. Whether you’re looking for a standard monorail system for a simple process or a power & free system that offers unparalleled flexibility, we’ve got you covered.
If you’re ready to get started on a new conveyor project — or give an existing project an overhaul — we’d love to hear from you. Contact our team today!