material handling conveyor system

Material Handling Challenges and How to Solve Them

material handling conveyor system

Individuals in the manufacturing and storage space know how intricate the system of processes, machinery, human input, and algorithms are. All of these things work together in fascinating ways to ensure continuity of production and output. However, when it comes to material handling, the available equipment and solutions all have incredibly focused roles in handling, transportation, and storage.

Material handling involves getting products and raw materials from one point to another as efficiently as possible. If there are any material handling inefficiencies, then it’s almost impossible for organizations to reap any profits. Therefore, we have compiled some of the most common material handling challenges and how to solve them in this blog. When done properly, the handling of products runs smoothly and utilizes the available storage space to an organization’s maximum potential.

Material Handling Challenges

Analogous Storage System

One of the most common problems in material handling is failing to account for the diverse materials. If there is no flexibility or diversity in your storage, then you will find that you often run out of space. You want a system that can handle a full variety of your materials and storage systems that can hold your specific materials without wasting any space.

Minimal Research

Times are changing and with these changes come new and innovative ways of doing things. A wise man once said, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over again and expecting different results.” Ensure that you constantly research new developments rather than relying solely on what you already know. You can engage material handling specialists to help you identify areas of improvement which are often overlooked.


This is one of the biggest challenges that organizations deal with when it comes to material handling. Picture a honeycomb in a beehive, there are usually spaces all over. Honeycombing happens when organizations don’t fully utilize the space in their storage units. This is usually a costly mistake because apart from wasting precious space, it also hinders the seamless movement of personnel.

Lack of Scalability

All organizations that get into business primarily seek to make profits and expand. Despite this, most companies lack an effective long-term plan and end up scrambling in the eventuality that business booms. When business is booming, it means that there’s more effort and more energy needed to meet customer needs. Organizations often set themselves up for disaster by failing to plan and then rushing to try to handle the new demands.

Too Much Contact

For effective material handling, you want your workers to deal with each material for as little time as possible. No matter how skilled your personnel is, the goal is minimizing costs and raising efficiency. The less time your workers spend moving or processing materials that can be automated means more time for them to focus on other jobs that require their skills. In material handling, effective time management is often the difference between making profits or losses.

How to Solve Material Handling Challenges?

Process Automation

In a flowing factory, automation using conveyors is a game changer for process and productivity. Manual labor usually works at a much slower pace than machinery resulting in a lot of money spent and can even risk the health of your employees every so often. Richards-Wilcox conveyors are built with redundancy and repetitive decision-making in mind to ensure efficiency and ease of use. Our conveyors are cost-effective and seamlessly integrate into your production line. In addition, the set-up is completely customizable to whatever material type you handle.

Consistent Processing Speed

Another way to overcome the challenges of material handling is to ensure a steady speed of processing goods and materials in your entire system. If one of your systems or processes is too fast or too slow then you will notice problems with overflow or backups. This can cost you precious time and even lead to delayed deliveries. Our conveyors ensure a consistent speed throughout to enable the handling to move like clockwork.

Efficient Use of Space

Most organizations don’t plan their storage arrangements or try out different layouts. As a result, they often settle for sub-optimal storage systems with a lot of wasted space. With proper planning and equipment, organizations can utilize all the space from the floor to the ceiling. Overhead space can also be used to move materials using overhead conveyors. Just ensure that it’s completely safe because falling materials can be dangerous.

Frequent Inspections and Maintenance

A large part of handling challenges in material handling is conducting preventative maintenance. Frequently inspect your systems and machines and fix any problems you come across before they become big issues. These inspections and maintenance can help you avoid breakdowns that halt the entire operation and often cost a lot to repair.


The way an organization’s material handling system operates can be the difference between making profits and incurring losses. Richards-Wilcox Conveyor is a master of conveyor systems engineering. We specialize in engineering systems and creating custom material handling solutions.

Our conveyors are ideal for various material handling equipment situations. If you would like to streamline your material handling and ensure maximum efficiency, contact Richards-Wilcox Conveyor today!

powder coating

Why the Finishing Industry is Betting Big on Powder Coating

powder coating

Driven by technological advancements, external pressures, and opportunities to enter new markets, many producers are switching from liquid paint to powder coatings. Let’s take a look at why this switch is happening and what you should know about powder.

What is UV-Curable Powder Coating?

UV-curable powder coating is an alternative to liquid paint. Applied using an electrostatic spray gun and finished with high-powered UV light, powder is used in a wide range of industrial finishing applications, on products ranging from plastic car parts to wooden patio furniture.
Thanks to its low curing temperature, powder coating can be used on substrates that liquid paint cannot—just one of the many differences between the two.

powder coating

Powder vs. Paint

In terms of the performance and look of their final products, powder coating and liquid paint are comparable. Some newer powder formulations have even outperformed liquid in chemical- and weathering-resistance.

At the same time, there are some major differences between the two.

For one, powder coating can be applied to a variety of non-metallic substrates that liquid cannot. While liquid formulas often require extreme heat to cure, powder coating can cure at a relatively low temperature. Therefore, powder can be applied to materials that cannot withstand ultra-high temps, such as wood composites and plastic. Today, producers are using powder coatings in a variety of non-metallic substrates such as MDF, HDF, glass, gypsum fiber board, ceramics and plastic.

Another advantage of powder coating is the speed and efficiency of its curing process. While liquid paint often takes minutes to cure, powders can be cured in less than 10 seconds using UV light. Thanks to its quick curing, systems that use powder can move faster, produce more, and consume less energy along the way.

A Changing World

powder coat finish

In today’s climate, arguably the most important difference between powder and liquid paint is that powder is seen as a sustainable alternative. In general, powder coatings produce less waste and toxins. Meanwhile, producers are working towards making powder part of a “true circular economy” by reprocessing powder waste and formulating resins from recycled materials.
While not everyone agrees on the relative sustainability of powder vs. liquid formulations, what really matters is that many governments and corporations have reached the consensus that powder is more sustainable. As a result, shifting regulations and corporate commitments are pressuring producers to switch to powder, and those pressures will likely intensify in the years to come.

Recap: Should You Use Powder?

powder coating

While some producers will continue using liquid paint for the time being, many are switching to powder. That’s because powder is:

  • More flexible: Thanks to its low curing temp, powder coatings can be applied to a variety of wood composites and other non-metallic substrates. For those in the finishing business, using powder can open up entire new markets, such as plastic vehicle components and wooden home furniture.
  • More efficient: Powder coating’s low-temperature curing process takes less time and consumes less energy.
  • More sustainable: As governments and corporations pressure producers to use more sustainable processes, using liquid paint is increasingly costly and cumbersome. A system that uses powder coatings may have greater longevity.

Want to Bring Powder Coating to Your Production Line? We’ll Make It Happen.

Richards-Wilcox Conveyor has partnered with a wide range of producers to design, install and integrate finishing applications, including powder coating. From designing layouts to integrating robotic applicators, we leverage decades of experience and partnerships with the best in the business to create smarter, safer, more efficient solutions.

To get started, submit a contact form or call us at 800-253-5668.

For more technology that’s revolutionizing the finishing industry, read our blog How Automated Conveyors are Revolutionizing Industrial Paint Application or take a closer look at Richards-Wilcox’s Finishing Line Conveyors.

material handling and fabrication

Conveyor Design Considerations for Material Handling

When you want the highest levels of efficiency in your operations, it’s crucial that you use the right conveyor system. However, finding the right conveyor system that helps you achieve this and meets your reliability and performance expectations can be challenging.

But how can you eliminate these challenges? In this post, we’ll look at this question in more detail and discuss the vital conveyor design considerations for material handling that you should take into account.

material handling and fabrication


The first key consideration is the material you want to convey. In this respect, there are several aspects that you need to consider that will, ultimately, influence the custom material handling solutions you choose. These aspects include:

  • The form or state of the material.
  • The composition of the material.
  • The material’s particle size.
  • The flowability of the material.
  • The abrasiveness of the material.
  • The material’s temperature.
  • The moisture content of the material.


When considering the operation of the material handling conveyor, you’ll first need to consider the function of the conveyor. In other words, you’ll have to consider what you want the conveyor to do, whether it’s conveying or feeding. You’ll then also consider the performance requirements of the conveyor.

When considering the performance requirements, you’ll typically look at aspects like the amount of material you want to convey, the time in which you need to convey it, and the demand for the material at each drop-off point.

When considering the operation of the conveyor, you’ll also need to decide which parts of the system should be automated in order to make the system more efficient.


The next key consideration when designing a material handling conveyor is several environmental factors. These factors relate not only to the environment necessary to convey the material, but also includes health and safety considerations.

As such, these aspects include the humidity and temperature of the environment and the impact of vibrations on the environment. You should also take into account if there are any open sources of ignition, the possibility of a flammable or explosive atmosphere, and the presence of any corrosive vapor.


Space can have a significant impact on the conveyor’s design and the space you have available for the system can dictate, to a large extent, several of the design considerations. As such, you’ll need to consider the distance you’ll need the material to travel, as well as any height and length constraints you face.


When designing a custom material handling conveyor system, cost is also a vital consideration as it plays a crucial part not only in the viability of the project but also in its return on investment. When it comes to cost, you have to consider what your main focus will be. Firstly, you can focus on the initial investment into the system.

This means your chief consideration will be on the initial capital required to design and install the system. Or you can focus on the long-term maintenance and operating costs of the system. Either way, it’s important to remember that these aspects are not mutually exclusive and what you’ll focus on depends on your specific needs, requirements, and budget.


The final consideration relates to the history of your existing conveyor systems if you have them. For example, the history will show you where you can make improvements to make the system more efficient. Moreover, if you’ve experienced reliability issues in the past, you’ll learn what design measures you can implement to eliminate these issues.

The Bottom Line

Hopefully, this post helped illustrate the key aspects you should consider when it comes to designing conveyors for material handling. If you want to learn more about these considerations and find the best conveyor for your needs and requirements, get in touch with Richards-Wilcox Conveyor. With over 125 years of experience in conveyor systems and engineering, we are material handling equipment manufacturers that can build you the best possible conveyor system.

automated conveyors

How Automated Conveyors are Revolutionizing Industrial Paint Application

automated conveyors

When it comes to automation, the most traditionally labor-intensive processes are the ones that stand to gain the most.

So why has painting been so slow to catch up? What recent advancements are changing that? And how can automated conveyor systems make your production line more productive and efficient than ever?

The Painting Paradox

In the world of industrial production, painting has long been a paradox.

On the one hand, it seems like a natural fit for automated conveyor systems, robotics and other Industry 4.0 technologies. Traditionally, painting is a labor-intensive process; in some facilities, employees must manually transport each product via forklift or wheel cart to a booth, then manually spray the product, drag it out of the booth to dry, and push it into a hot oven. All that manual labor makes the process slow and expensive—not to mention a potential safety liability, as employees must work in close contact with hot surfaces and machinery. Therefore, you would think these facilities would be eager to find solutions that would help them cut down on labor, right?

painting conveyors

Historically, that hasn’t always been the case. In fact, many businesses that paint products on an industrial scale have been slow to adopt the very technologies that would help them cut labor costs and achieve better production volumes.

Why? In many cases, it’s because painting is a delicate, exacting process that requires fine motor control and adaptive decision-making—capabilities that were, until fairly recently, beyond most automated technologies. And the equipment that could achieve this level of precision and flexibility was out of the price range of most operations.

Fortunately for these businesses, the technology has caught up to their needs, costs have dropped significantly, and a growing number of painting operations are now embracing automation. In fact, this technology is becoming so widely used that many businesses must adopt it simply to stay competitive.

More Than a “Fresh Coat”

painting conveyor

For painting applications, automated conveyor systems are more than just a “fresh coat” of tech. They transform nearly every step of the process.

Now, rather than a forklift or manual wheel cart, conveyor systems can transport products across a facility, freeing floorspace and reducing the need for labor. Meanwhile, robotic arms equipped with servomotors integrated into conveyor systems offer the precision and flexibility that was once only possible with human labor, and Richards-Wilcox’s innovative Conveyor Rotation system allows parts to be indexed on a rotating axis, helping facilities further automate their painting processes.

Businesses that paint products on an industrial scale have a lot to gain from automating their production line with conveyor systems. When implemented properly, these technologies can make your operation:

  • More efficient, allowing you to cut labor costs, reduce waste, and increase your available floor space.
  • More productive, increasing your production speed and volume, while reducing the probability of human error.
  • Safer, reducing the need for employees to be in close contact with hot surfaces and potentially dangerous machinery.

Transforming Omega’s Painting Process

robotic conveyor

One of our clients is now seeing the benefits of these technologies in action.

Omega Tool Corp, a global company that paints plastic vehicle components in their Canadian production facility, recently partnered with Richards-Wilcox Conveyor to help automate their painting process. Using simulations and in-depth knowledge of their workflow, our team designed and installed a highly adaptive solution. Thanks to sensors and robotics integrated into their conveyor, the system not only transports and paints products automatically, but adapts to different sizes and shapes of components as they come down the line.

For Omega, the payoff of integrating this technology has been huge—they have less waste, greater flexibility, and better production volume than they could achieve manually.

Their facility is real-world proof that automation can revolutionize the industrial painting process. Businesses just need the right partner to bring it to life.

How Richards-Wilcox Can Help Transform Your Industrial Painting Process

When it comes to painting applications, most facilities are just scratching the surface of what automation, robotics and advancements in conveyor systems can help them achieve. At Richards-Wilcox Conveyor, we help you integrate these principles and technologies in a way that makes sense for your facility, your workflow and your output goals.

From designing conveyor solutions for new facilities to integrating Industry 4.0 technology into existing lines, Richards-Wilcox helps you create a smarter, faster, safer and more efficient operation—one that’s ready to compete today and evolve for the rapidly changing world of tomorrow.

Learn more about our legacy of innovation or get in touch with Richards-Wilcox to learn what we can do for you.


Pivotal Parts: How Servomotors are Powering Industry 4.0


Today, servomotors are all around us. They open the automatic doors at your local grocery store, they lower the windows in your car at the press of a button, and they (hopefully!) make your next elevator ride feel nice and smooth.

While these examples are pretty simple, servomotors are also pivotal—literally—in the high-tech evolution of the factory environment. As facilities increasingly integrate robotics, automation, functional safety principles, preventative maintenance, and other Industry 4.0 concepts into their production lines, smart factories are using devices equipped with servomotors to be safer, faster and more efficient than ever.

In this blog, we’ll take a quick look at what makes servomotors unique, how they are being used in modern factories, and how Richards-Wilcox Conveyor can help you integrate smart technologies into your facility.

What are servomotors? What makes them unique?


Servomotors enable robotic devices to independently perform applications that previously could only be done with human intervention.

Applying paint to car parts, distributing foods and medicine to containers, configuring the thousands of intricate components of an aerospace engine: all of these applications require a high level of precision, detail and flexibility. Until recently, most of them were beyond the capability of even the most advanced devices, requiring at least some human intervention. In recent years, however, the evolution of the servomotor, along with related computing and robotic innovations, has changed that, opening an exciting new chapter for robotics in the factory environment.

A servomotor is a rotary or linear actuator (a device that converts energy to motion) that can be moved to particular angles at particular velocities. Rather than a single part, a servomotor consists of a motor—a DC or AC, depending on the application—along with an output shaft and a controller equipped with sensors that allow for positional feedback.

The controller and its sensors are the key components. These parts allow the motor to ‘know’ precisely where it is positioned and to adjust automatically. That ‘spatial awareness’ is what makes this type of motor so uniquely capable. While other motors can produce power and determine their positions to a certain degree, servomotors bring a level of precision and adaptability that allows machines to not only match but outperform humans in the kind of applications that require fine-motor capabilities and ‘judgement calls.’

When combined with computers equipped with powerful algorithms, servomotors allow factories to create truly closed-loop systems, environments that automatically regulate themselves—no humans required.

Thanks to servomotors, applications that were once potentially dangerous, slow, tedious and expensive can be performed by robotic devices. That means a faster, safer, more efficient factory.

How are servomotors being used in today’s factory environments?


As we mentioned above, servomotors are a critical component in robotic devices and automated systems, allowing for greater precision and efficiency while reducing the need for human intervention. Due to the rise of the smart factory, these devices have become so ubiquitous that they are currently used in nearly every manufacturing sector, from food and beverage to aerospace and automobiles.

At Richards-Wilcox Conveyor, we design, create and install advanced conveyor systems in factory environments. A key part of our job is incorporating robotics, automation and other Industry 4.0 technologies and concepts into factory environments, while using simulations and engineering expertise to ensure that every element is optimized for maximum safety and efficiency.

While servomotors have long been an important component in our clients’ facilities, we have recently seen a sharp rise in their usage, especially when it comes to painting applications.

A good example is our client Omega, a Canadian company that produces vehicle components.

As part of their manufacturing operation, Omega paints thousands upon thousands of plastic truck parts. As these parts move down the conveyor line, a programmed robot sprays the parts with a liquid paint. Sounds simple enough, right? Not exactly—these components have fairly complex shapes, and they come in a variety of models and sizes. In order to get the correct aesthetic and avoid wasting paint, the application device must apply the paint at precisely the right angle and make adjustments based on varying sizes and shapes.

Our engineers worked with Omega and machine manufacturers to design a solution that automated the process, using robotic devices equipped with servomotors. The result was greater precision and speed, and a more efficient factory environment. Rather than having to make manual adjustments to the machine controls each time a new size or shape of truck part came down the line, the servomotor-equipped robots are able to quickly adjust to new conditions.

Today, Omega’s factory has less waste, greater flexibility, and better production times—all thanks to servomotors.

Richards-Wilcox can help you integrate edge technologies for a smarter factory.


Servomotors aren’t exactly new, nor are they considered an ‘edge’ technology in 2022. But they are pivotal in robotics, automation and other technologies and concepts that are transforming the modern factory.

At Richards-Wilcox Conveyor, we can help you understand how these technologies can impact your production line. Then, we create custom solutions and integrate them into your facility.

We use engineering expertise, along with digital simulations that help you see how specific design decisions could affect your overall environment, to help you determine the right machinery, technologies and layout for your factory.

While we specialize in the most fundamental component of the modern factory—the conveyor—we have a holistic understanding of the factory environment and our clients’ various industries. We leverage that knowledge to help you not only build a better factory for today, but evolve your business for the rapidly changing world of tomorrow.

Learn more about Richards-Wilcox Conveyor’s century of innovation—and discover how we can help you create a smarter factory today.

conveyors for finishing systems

Power & Free Conveyors for Finishing Systems

Power and free conveyor systems, also typically referred to as asynchronous conveyor systems, are built on a two-track system where one track is powered and the other is not. This offers several advantages. Possibly the biggest advantage is that it allows loads to travel at different speeds and loads can be started or stopped independently of each other.

This provides enhanced flexibility in finishing systems and can make production processes more efficient and improve product quality. In this post, we’ll look at Richards-Wilcox Conveyor’s range of power and free conveyor systems in more detail.

conveyors for finishing systems

The Richards-Wilcox Range of Power and Free Conveyor Systems

The range of power and free conveyor systems provide unparalleled flexibility for a variety of parts and processes. Let’s look at our range in more detail.

Twin-Trak Side-by-Side Conveyor

The Twin-Trak Side-by-Side conveyor system is the ideal solution if you have limited overhead space and need to free up space for other power and free equipment. It features weight capacities that allow you to carry loads of 10 to 1,000 lbs, and, with the system, you can switch into and out of the main line of travel more frequently. In addition, you’re able to build the system from existing Richards-Wilcox systems, which, in turn, brings about a cost saving.

With its features, the Twin-Trak system can help you increase throughput by eliminating typical wait time and optimize production by ensuring the right parts arrive at the correct operations in a continuous flow. This ensures that you improve your efficiency while, at the same time, maintaining product quality.

Over-Way Heavy Duty Over and Under Conveyor

With a carriage capacity of up to 2,000 lbs in a tandem configuration, the Over-Way Heavy Duty Over and Under conveyor system combines power and flexibility with a heavy-duty over under conveyor configuration. This is a result of its rugged design and the fact that it’s constructed of high-quality components. For example, its enclosed track ensures that no contaminants enter the system and protects the chain from dirt, abrasion, and solvents.

These features, combined with its state-of-the-art control systems, allow you to optimize production and ensure that the right parts arrive at the right operations at the right time. It also eliminates unnecessary production rehandling and manual transporting and maintains a full log of production information. This results in the ability to increase efficiency and maintain production quality.

Over-Way Inverted Floor-Mounted Conveyor

The Over-Way Inverted Floor-Mounted conveyor is the ideal medium-capacity solution in robotic finishing systems, and combines power and capability with the flexibility of floor-mounted systems. The system is available as modular components that are pre-welded at the factory and, as such, is easy to install, maintain, and change.

Despite its ease of installation, the system’s self-supporting structure is designed with an additional guide track that provides enhanced stability where position accuracy is critical, and it offers weight capacities ranging from 10 to 1,000 lbs.

The system is also designed to keep products clean and provides optimal ergonomics in that the work surfaces can be adjusted. Ultimately, by integrating processes typically serviced by multiple types of conveying equipment, it’s able to optimize production while reducing energy expenditure.

The Bottom Line

Hopefully, you’ve now learned more about our range of power and free conveyor systems and how they can help you make your finishing processes more efficient. To learn more about these systems, get in touch.

With extensive experience, our expert staff can help you engineer a finishing system based on your unique needs, requirements, and budget that will improve your production quality, make your operations more efficient, and help deliver higher quality products.

conveyor productivity

Tips to Improve Conveyor Productivity

If you’re looking to improve the productivity of your conveyor system, there are a few key things you can do to make a big difference. These tips will help you get the most out of your conveyor from integrating robotics to increasing speed and adding accumulation.

conveyor productivity

1. Robotics Integration

One of the best ways to improve conveyor productivity is to integrate robotics into the system. Robotics can automate many of the tasks associated with running a conveyor, from sorting and loading to unloading and packing. This can free up your employees to focus on other tasks, and it can also help to improve accuracy and efficiency.

What is more, integrating robotics into your conveyor system can help to improve safety as well. By removing the need for employees to be in close proximity to moving parts, you can reduce the risk of accidents and injuries.

Robotics integration may sound like it takes away jobs, but oftentimes, adding the assistance of robotics can help to create new positions that wouldn’t have existed before. For example, positions may be created to manage and oversee the robotic system itself.

2. Consider Increasing Speed

Increasing the speed of your conveyor can also help to improve productivity. Obviously, the faster your conveyor moves, the more product it can handle in a given period of time.

Of course, you don’t want to sacrifice safety in the name of speed, so it’s important to make sure that your conveyor is able to operate at the increased speed without putting employees at risk.

3. Add Accumulation

If your conveyor system doesn’t already have accumulation, adding it can be a great way to improve productivity. Accumulation allows your conveyor to stop and start as needed, without losing product.

This can be a huge help when you need to make sure that each product is properly sorted or positioned before it continues down the line. It can also help to reduce the risk of product damage, as the product is less likely to be jostled when it’s not moving.

4. Try an RFID Reader System

Adding an RFID reader system to your conveyor can also help to improve productivity. RFID stands for “radio frequency identification,” and it can be used to track products as they move through the conveyor system.

This information can be used to improve the efficiency of your system by ensuring that products are properly sorted and routed. It can also help to reduce the need for manual product tracking, which can free up your employees for other tasks.

5. Diverting & Merging

If your conveyor system handles a lot of products, you may want to consider adding diverters and mergers. Diverters allow you to send products down different paths, which can be helpful when you need to sort products or send them to different areas. Mergers, on the other hand, allow you to bring two or more conveyors together, which can help to increase the capacity of your system.

Both of these additions can help to improve the productivity of your conveyor system by increasing the amount of product it can handle.

6. Training and Maintenance

Another important factor to consider when trying to improve conveyor productivity is training and maintenance. Your employees need to be properly trained in how to use your conveyor system, and they also need to be aware of its capabilities and limitations.

Conveyor systems require regular maintenance to keep them running smoothly. This may include tasks such as lubricating moving parts, checking for damage, and troubleshooting any issues that arise.

By properly training your employees and keeping your conveyor system well-maintained, you can help to improve its overall productivity.

7. Consider What Works for You

When it comes to conveyor productivity, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The best way to improve productivity is to consider what will work best for your specific operation.

For example, if you have a large operation with a lot of products to move, you may want to consider adding an accumulation zone to your conveyor. This will allow your conveyor to store products until there is enough space to move them, which can help to improve the flow of your operation.

If you have a smaller operation, you may want to focus on increasing the speed of your conveyor. This can help to move products through your operation more quickly, and it can also help to improve accuracy.


There are a number of other ways to improve conveyor productivity, but these are some of the most effective. By increasing speed, adding accumulation, or integrating robotics, you can make a big difference in the efficiency of your system.

distribution conveyors

Conveyor Design Considerations for Pharmaceutical Distribution

A Busy Future for Pharmaceutical Distribution Needs a Conveyor that’s Built to Keep Up

Pharmaceutical distribution systems have been getting some due attention lately. With the current demand fueling industry projections distributors are upgrading. Is it time for you to think about upgrading to a Richards-Wilcox conveyor?

The world of pharmaceutical distribution comes with its own set of requirements. A conveyor designed for cleanliness and accuracy is exactly what pharmaceutical distributors need.

A Richards-Wilcox conveyor is an ideal solution for the needs of pharmaceutical distributors. Our systems use the power of robotics and automation to ensure the greatest accuracy and output. Richards-Wilcox engineers our conveyors to meet the specific needs of the client. These systems meet and exceed the highest standards of material handling equipment cleanliness.

Our material handling solutions come with automatic control systems. Tracking, switching, diverting, merging color typing and more. The user can have all these systems automated to their requirements.

Industries know our systems for their accuracy and dependability. We will introduce every possible variable to the system to show you just how flexible it is.

distribution conveyors

Systems Built Specifically to the Needs of the Distributor

It is safe to say that most pharmaceutical needs for conveyor systems center on material handling and distribution. This is true when it comes to medicine and the components that make them. Some pharmaceutical distributors may have production uses for applications like producing equipment.

We cannot overstate the importance of taking all the clients’ needs and challenges into consideration. When designing a customized conveyor system, we engineer every detail.

If space is an issue, high-density storage is the best way to maximize what you are working with. Combine this with a side-by-side conveyor to make the most of your floor space.

Our systems also support many load and unload points. Overhead systems using your building’s airspace and floor space provide options. What challenge is your space dealing with? Our team can help you to make the best of it, without shutting down the show for months.

High Output Low Downtime

In the world of manufacturing, accuracy is crucial. Pharmaceutical distribution is certainly no exception. We design our systems to operate smoothly to maximize output. The goal of maximizing output involves minimizing downtime. To do this we design our machines with intelligence built-in.

Richards-Wilcox designs its systems to cut wear on components. This makes troubleshooting and servicing them as efficient as possible. We build our conveyors to cut downtime. We build them intuitive and accessible: reducing how often systems need maintenance work.

With Richards-Wilcox, you get 125 years of experience, dedicated engineering and in-house simulations. This means the downtime is minimal and the benefits are exponential. The whole world is watching pharmaceutical distribution: it is time to produce.

Get in touch today and let us build you the best possible conveyor system

material handling and fabrication

What Is Material Handling?

The manufacturing chain is an intricate system of processes, machinery, human input and algorithms, all designed to engage with materials in fascinating ways. When it comes to industrial material handling, however, the equipment and solutions available all have incredibly focused roles in handling, storage and transportation.

Material handling solutions are woven throughout the supply chain and in the very procurement of resources and raw materials. Given its importance, what is material handling and how does it affect so many moving parts in industrialization?

material handling and fabrication

Storage and handling equipment

When it comes to equipment, storage simply refers to the infrastructure used to temporarily house materials. Because of the broadness of the term, storage equipment can refer to anything from a single shelf to a freight container.

However, one of the most common features of storage equipment is the utility of space. From making use of vertical space in warehouses and shelving to lighter and stronger storage boxes to reduce weight and the resource cost of storage.

Bulk material handling equipment

Now we start getting into some of the specifics. Material handling equipment manufacturers design their handling solutions around the product that either needs storage, transportation or altering. One of the most common material types is bulk material, which refers to materials that are handled in loose bulks.

Loose bulks can include ball bearings, grooms, pellets, stacked piles and a host of other materials. Bulk handling technology is built around keeping this material in the appropriate predetermined clusters. There might not be much reason to reinvent the wheel, but when it comes to bulk material handling, the bucket has seen plenty of innovation.

Industrial trucks

In an increasingly globalized world, long-distance custom material handling solutions have never been more important. The industrial revolution brought about the ability to transport large quantities of goods with the power of steam and coal engines. Today, freight ships and trains represent the technological edge of industrial transportation.

There is one vehicle, however, with the mobility and capacity to keep operations running on land from small businesses to vast industrial networks: the truck. Lighter on fuel than its counterparts, more versatile in distance management and certainly easier to maintain, trucks are the lifeblood of transportation when it comes to material handling.

Automated handling

The word “handling” tends to conjure up images of delicate packages, which we in turn associate with human handling – care. For those who work with automated handling systems, however, it will come as no surprise that industrial handling technology has advanced to the point where machines form an important part of the handling process.

From the conveyer belt to the loading dock, engineers have worked for decades to create capable and reliable automated handling systems. They’ve progressed in leaps and bounds thanks to innovations both in software development and hardware design.

The result is a system of automated machines that allow the handling process to move like clockwork, creating a more reliable and efficient supply chain and manufacturing process.

conveyor rotation

The Rotation Revolution: How Pendant Rotation Can Overhaul Your Conveyor


Want to turn your factory around? Then we’ve engineered a literal way to level up your system.

Conveyor rotation allows you to index a part 180 degrees on a spinning axis – basically, the ability to turn a part and flip the script on your system. This powerful process can benefit your business in a multitude of ways.

Rotation can cut labor costs. If a part in a paint line can spin, a single robot can cover the entire component with pigment. If a fulfillment line utilizes auto-tote rotation, the ergonomic solution makes processes easier for a single operator. Rotation frees up valuable workers and resources for further productivity, streamlining your efficiency.

conveyor rotation

Because of this, rotation can simultaneously optimize your layout. For example, if you eliminate the need for workers or robots on one side of the system, a belt can now be placed up against a wall to free space for another component, making you the master of your floorplan.

While Richards-Wilcox Conveyor thrives on technical and sophisticated systems, sometimes the simplest solutions are the best. Of course, there are other methods to create rotation, but bump turns require rods, wheels, and UHMW shapes and can only do 90-degree indexing. Dual conveyor turners necessitate two belts and allotted distance to reorient product. With pendant rotation, we can reduce unnecessary elements and electronics to rely on time-tested mechanic solutions. With our 30 years of experience, our conveyors accommodate all different styles of rotation.

For example, the pivoting pendant on our Inverted Zig-Zag® Conveyor facilitates free rotation up and down vertical inclines, and also extends chain and track life: less torque, friction and wear on the chain assembly means lower maintenance costs and downtime.

Sometimes, productivity just needs a pivot. Discover how rotation can revolutionize your facility.


Each solution is completely customizable to your situation, and each of our systems can be easily adapted for rotation and indexing:

  • With ZigZag® chain conveyors, various styles of rotation pendants allow for free spin, 90 degree indexing, or a powered rotator that engages at a trigger point.
  • With TwinTrak® and OveRWay, we utilize free spin and index rotation on the fly.
  • With inverted floor conveyors like MonoCart™, we create a system that locks the rotational part of the carrier in place, then rotates at the correct station.

We have over 30 years of rotation experience. Think you could use it in your facility? Let’s circle back.