distribution conveyors

Distribution Challenges and How to Increase Operating Profits

distribution conveyors

The modern conveyor system offers an efficient and cost-effective way to distribute goods in a variety of industries. Whether it be moving materials, packages, or parts, the right conveyor system helps you streamline production and minimize losses.

Yet as beneficial as conveyors are to productivity, there are some common challenges associated with them that can cause downtime and impact overall efficiency.

Let’s take a look at the most common issues customers experience with conveyors and explore some dynamic solutions that can increase operating profits while decreasing waste. As well as the benefits that come with implementing evidence-based solutions through Richards-Wilcox Conveyor – one of the leading industrial automation companies in North America.

The Top Conveyor Distribution Challenges and How to Solve Them

Conveyors are a vital part of the distribution system in many industries, but they can come with their own set of challenges.

1. Know Everything About What You’re Moving

In order to optimize the conveyor system, you need to know everything about what you’re moving. This includes the weight, size, shape, and fragility of the items you’re moving, as well as environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, and dust. Without properly accounting for all of these factors, your system may not be able to function correctly and could lead to costly repair and maintenance bills.

The Solution: To ensure the proper functioning of your conveyor system, you must take the time to understand the exact parameters of the items you’re moving. With Richards-Wilcox Conveyor’s advanced conveyor engineering, you can receive a custom-made conveyor solution tailored to the exact needs of your business.

2. Improper Maintenance or Lack of Maintenance

Proper maintenance is essential to keep any conveyor system running at peak performance. Unfortunately, many businesses fail to dedicate enough time and money to maintain these systems. This can lead to an inefficient system, as well as costly repairs and maintenance bills.

The Solution: Richards-Wilcox Conveyor’s maintenance programs are designed to help you get the most out of your conveyor system. Our team of experts can help you design and implement a maintenance program tailored to the specific needs of your business. This will help keep your system running smoothly and reduce downtime.

3. Inadequate Design

The design of your conveyor system is critical to its success. If the system is not designed properly, it can lead to costly repairs, inefficient operation, and prolonged downtime. These issues can have a major impact on your bottom line.

The Solution: The team of experienced engineers at Richards-Wilcox Conveyor can help you design the perfect conveyor system for your business. We will work with you to understand your specific needs and develop a system that is both cost-effective and efficient.

4. Dirty and/or Hazardous Locations

Contaminants and hazardous materials can wreak havoc on conveyor systems. These materials can cause corrosion, blockages, or even fires. This can lead to costly repairs and downtime, not to mention, they can be a danger to both you and your employees.

The Solution: An optimized industrial conveyor system from Richards-Wilcox Conveyor can help you avoid these dangerous and costly problems. Our systems are designed with the utmost safety and reliability in mind, and our team of engineers can help you customize a solution that meets your specific needs, even in the most challenging environments.

5. Poor Distribution Efficiency

An inefficient distribution system can lead to lost profits and damage your bottom line. If your system is not working correctly, it can cause slowdowns in production and delays in shipping and delivery. Inadequate inventory management can also lead to additional costs as you are paying for stock that isn’t moving.

The Solution: With Richards-Wilcox Conveyor’s automatic inventory management system, you can eliminate these problems and improve the efficiency of your distribution system. Our advanced technology can help you label, track, and trace all products, ensuring that the right items are shipped on time and minimizing the amount of stock you are carrying.

6. Timely Manual Processes

Manual processes can be time-consuming and require an operator to be constantly on hand. Automation is a great way to reduce manual processes. Automated systems can be set up to operate without a person present, and even identify areas of inefficiency and issue reports. When combined with advanced real time analytics, this can create a powerful, cost-effective solution for better tracking and accountability.

The Solution: Utilizing data-driven analytics and technology to identify areas of inefficiencies in manual processes can help reduce time and costs in the distribution system. An automated system can streamline the process and accurately monitor performance over time. Richards-Wilcox Conveyor offers a wide range of automated solutions and real-time analytics to make distribution more efficient and cost effective.

7. Lack of Visibility in Your Inventory

Maintaining accurate inventory tracking can be a real challenge. If inventory numbers are inaccurate or outdated, it can lead to unforeseen delays and costly mistakes. A lack of visibility also makes it difficult to identify damaged or missing items and effectively track inventory performances.

The Solution: Utilizing RFID technology can help increase visibility and accuracy in tracking inventory. RFID tags can be placed on each item, enabling real-time scanning and tracking. This data can be linked to analytics software for better visibility and tracking of inventory.

8. Lower Transport Efficiency

Lower transport efficiency can lead to longer delivery times, higher operational costs, and customer dissatisfaction due to inaccurate tracking. Having an efficient and cost-effective transport system is essential to any business, especially in the delivery of goods.

The Solution: Utilizing a conveyor-based system can significantly improve transport efficiency. With a wide range of options, Richards-Wilcox Conveyor can create an efficient, automated transport system that moves items through the distribution system quickly and accurately. This can help reduce operational costs and increase customer satisfaction.

Fortunately, there are several solutions that can help businesses address these problems. Dynamic solutions such as improved alignment techniques, upgraded support structures and updated components help ensure smooth operation while comprehensive training and preventive maintenance programs allow for better management of resources and increased productivity.

Implementing evidence-based initiatives like those offered by Richards-Wilcox Conveyor is also key; their advanced systems offer superior control over all aspects of conveyor operations including speed regulation, pressure monitoring and load balancing – ensuring optimal performance every time.

The Benefits of Implementing Dynamic, Evidence Based Conveyor Solutions

Dynamic, evidence-based conveyor solutions offer a range of benefits for businesses in any industry.

By streamlining production and minimizing losses through improved alignment techniques, upgraded support structures and updated components, conveyors can increase efficiency while decreasing downtime.

Through comprehensive training and preventive maintenance programs that address common issues like misaligned belts or worn-out parts, businesses can better manage resources and increase productivity.

Moreover, implementing advanced systems such as those offered by Richards-Wilcox Conveyor ensure superior control over all aspects of operations including speed regulation, pressure monitoring and load balancing – ultimately leading to faster completion times with fewer errors. By investing in dynamic solutions that are based on the latest research and technology trends available today, companies can enjoy greater cost savings while gaining an edge over their competitors when it comes to efficient distribution processes.

The Importance of Conveyor Solutions for Industries

Conveyor solutions have become increasingly important for industries across the globe to help them maximize profits and reduce costs. In today’s competitive market, every business needs to be able to move products quickly and efficiently. By implementing a conveyor system, businesses can quickly transport goods from one place to another without the need for additional labor or costly equipment.

Furthermore, these solutions can help businesses reduce waste and improve safety conditions. By using efficient systems that are tailored to each business’s needs, companies can better manage their inventories and reduce human error. Additionally, with advanced technology like RFID tagging, companies can quickly track goods and ensure that shipments are delivered on-time.

Finally, conveyor solutions can also help businesses meet consumer demands faster. By cutting down on manual operations and improving production accuracy, companies can better respond to customer demands and generate more revenue. Ultimately, implementing dynamic conveyor solutions are essential for modern businesses looking to stay ahead of their competitors.

Benefits of Investing in Dynamic Conveyor Solutions

Investing in dynamic conveyor solutions can benefit businesses in numerous ways. First and foremost, it can help them reduce costs and increase efficiency. Automated conveyors can be tailored to meet the specific production, packaging and distribution needs of a company, saving time, money and labor.

In addition, investing in dynamic conveyor solutions can help businesses improve safety conditions and reduce accidents. Through advanced sensors, automated shutoffs and emergency stop systems, companies can ensure that their operations are more secure and controlled.

Finally, by investing in dynamic solutions, companies can significantly reduce their environmental impact. By investing in low-energy conveyors and reducing the amount of paper and plastic used for packaging, businesses can reduce their carbon footprint while still meeting the demands of their customers.

Ultimately, the benefits of dynamic conveyor solutions are vast and varied, making them an ideal investment for businesses of any size or industry.

How Richards-Wilcox Conveyor Can Help You Increase Operating Profits

Richards-Wilcox Conveyor is a leading industrial automation company that can help you increase operating profits through their advanced systems. By investing in evidence-based solutions, businesses can enjoy greater cost savings while gaining an edge over their competitors when it comes to efficient distribution processes.

Modern shipping requires dynamic solutions designed to streamline production and minimize losses by improving alignment techniques, upgrading support structures and replacing worn-out or broken parts.

With advanced systems that offer superior control over all aspects of conveyor operations including speed regulation, pressure monitoring and load balancing, you get optimal performance every time.

With these modernized solutions, companies can save money on labor costs while maximizing profitability with fewer errors. In addition to increasing efficiency throughout the entire transportation process, Richards-Wilcox Conveyor also offers analytics capabilities which allow customers to gain valuable insights into operational data for further optimization opportunities.

Ultimately this allows businesses to make more informed decisions about how they run their operations – resulting in higher profits at lower costs!

Finishing Conveyors to Reduce Material Handling Costs

From the assembly line to the finishing line, conveyor systems play a major role in making factories more efficient and cost-effective. Beyond its use in industrial applications, conveyor systems can also be used to optimize material-handling operations and free up valuable floor space in factories of all sizes.

Let’s explore the role that conveyor systems play in finishing lines, the benefits they provide for reducing material-handling costs, common challenges with traditional methods for sorting and storing materials at a finishing line and solutions that help reduce costs.

Finally, we’ll introduce you to Richards-Wilcox Conveyor—a solution known for designing high-quality products that help tremendously reduce expenses related to manual labor associated with traditional material handling processes. So let’s get started!

Conveyor Systems: An Important Part of Finishing Lines

Conveyor systems are an integral part of any successful finishing line. By automating the process of moving components between production stages, conveyors drastically reduce material-handling costs and free up valuable floor space in factories.

From sorting materials to delivering them safely to their destination, conveyor systems help maintain a high level of efficiency and accuracy during the entire production cycle. With their ability to carry heavy loads at high speeds with minimal effort, conveyors can help reduce labor costs associated with manual handling processes that are common on traditional assembly lines. They also provide greater flexibility as they can be adjusted depending on product size or type while also ensuring safe transport from one stage of the process to another.

In short, conveying is an important component for optimizing time and resources throughout your finishing line operations!

Conveyor Systems Can Help Reduce Material Handling Costs

Conveyor systems are a cost-effective way to improve the efficiency of material handling operations.

By automating the transport and sorting of materials, conveyors drastically reduce manual labor costs associated with traditional methods.

Additionally, they can be adjusted depending on product size or type, providing greater flexibility for production lines and ensuring safe transport from one stage of the process to another.
Conveyor systems also free up valuable floor space in factories by eliminating bulky storage solutions such as pallet racks and bins which can take up large amounts of precious room. With their high speeds and heavy load capacities, these automated solutions make it easier for businesses to move products quickly without compromising safety standards or incurring additional expenses related to manual labor.

Plus, conveyors provide an efficient means for tracking inventory levels—allowing managers to keep track of stock levels at all times and respond accordingly when necessary. Ultimately, investing in a reliable conveyor system is a great way for any organization looking for ways to reduce material handling costs while maintaining optimal productivity!

Common Finishing Line Challenges and How to Solve Them (or Avoid Them Entirely!)

Common finishing line challenges can be daunting to tackle, but with the right strategies and solutions in place, they don’t have to be.

1. Poor Quality Finishes: Poor quality finishes can result from inadequate surface preparation, incorrect application of the coating, or the coating not being able to withstand the expected conditions. To solve this issue, it is essential to ensure that proper surface preparation is conducted, the correct coating is selected for the application, and the coating is applied correctly according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

2. Delays in Shipment: Delays in shipment can be caused by a variety of factors including poor communication between the customer and supplier, inadequate tracking of inventory, or simply too much work in the factory. To avoid delays in shipment, it is important to ensure that communication is clear and open between all parties involved, that inventory is tracked accurately, and that production is kept organized and efficient.

3. High Costs: High costs can occur when the production process is not optimized or when the wrong materials are used. To reduce costs, it is important to select the right materials, optimize the production process, and look for ways to reduce waste. Additionally, it is important to analyze the cost of each step of the process to identify any areas where costs can be reduced.

4. Quality Control Issues: Quality control issues can stem from inadequate training of workers, lack of proper documentation, or incorrect use of equipment. To avoid these issues, it is essential to ensure that workers are properly trained, that all documentation is complete and up to date, and that equipment is used correctly. Additionally, regular quality checks throughout the production process should be conducted to ensure that all products meet the specified standards.

5. Overproduction: Overproduction can occur when there is an overestimation of demand or when inventory is not tracked properly. To avoid overproduction, it is important to accurately forecast demand and track inventory levels. Additionally, it is important to ensure that production does not exceed the demand for the product.

6. Poor Quality Packaging: Poor packaging can lead to damaged products, delays in shipment, and customer dissatisfaction. To ensure quality packaging, it is important to select the right materials and use the proper packaging techniques. Additionally, it is important to ensure that packaging is tested and approved before the product is shipped.

7. Poor Workplace Safety: Poor workplace safety can lead to injuries, lost time, and decreased productivity. To improve workplace safety, it is important to ensure that all workers receive proper safety training, that the workspace is kept clean and organized, and that the proper safety equipment is supplied and used. Additionally, regular safety checks should be conducted to identify any potential hazards.

8. Inaccurate Labeling: Inaccurate labeling can lead to customer dissatisfaction and confusion. To ensure accurate labeling, it is important to double-check all labels before they are applied to the product. Additionally, it is important to ensure that all labels are clear and easy to read.

9. Poor Logistics: Poor logistics can lead to delays in shipment, increased costs, and customer dissatisfaction. To improve logistics, it is important to ensure that the right materials are selected for the job, that production is optimized, and that communication is open and clear throughout the process. Additionally, it is important to track inventory levels and analyze the cost of each step of the process.

10. Unsatisfied Customers: Unsatisfied customers can result from poor quality products, delays in shipment, or inaccurate labeling. To ensure customer satisfaction, it is important to ensure that all products meet the specified standards, that shipments arrive on time, and that all labels are accurate and legible. Additionally, it is important to provide excellent customer service and promptly address any customer complaints.

The Good News

The good news is that all these problems have solutions: automated conveyor systems provide a cost-effective way to reduce manual labor costs associated with traditional processes while also freeing up valuable floor space and providing an efficient means for tracking inventory levels.

Conveyors are adjustable depending on product size or type, allowing businesses greater flexibility while ensuring safe transport from one stage of the process to another at high speeds without compromising safety standards or incurring additional expenses related to manual labor.

It’s a fact! Investing in reliable conveyors provides peace of mind knowing your operations will remain efficient and productive over time!

At Richards-Wilcox Conveyor, we offer a wide range of solutions to help streamline your finishing line and ensure a successful outcome. Our conveyors are designed to optimize your production process, reduce costs, and ensure quality control. Our state-of-the-art conveyor controls can help you track inventory and optimize your production process.

Additionally, we offer conveyor simulation services to help you identify potential delays and find ways to improve the efficiency of your production line. Finally, our line of packaging solutions and materials can help you ensure that your products arrive to their destination safe and sound. We are here to help you create the ideal finishing line for your needs.

Richards-Wilcox Conveyor: A Solution to Reducing Material Handling Costs

Richards-Wilcox Conveyor is a leading provider of conveyor solutions that help businesses reduce their operating costs. They offer an extensive selection of components and systems to meet the needs of any size or type of production line, from sorting materials to delivering them safely to their destination.

The company prides itself on its highly reliable products which are built with seven decades of experience in the industry and supported by a team of knowledgeable professionals who provide personalized service and support throughout every stage in the process. With Richards-Wilcox Conveyor, you can be sure that your operations will remain efficient and productive over time!

With flexible solutions for each customer’s individual needs; custom conveyors are designed for each project, so you get exactly what you need without compromising safety standards or incurring additional expenses related to manual labor.

With Richards-Wilcox Conveyor as your partner in reducing material handling costs, you can be confident that your production lines stay running efficiently while saving money at the same time!


push pull conveyor

Streamlined Value: Get the Most Bang for Your Buck with the Push-Pull Overhead System

The Push-Pull Overhead Conveyor system offers more benefits than a traditional monorail powered system. Push-Pull is a power & free conveyor that powers carriers through a process area at a constant speed, most commonly a paint line, and will deliver carriers to manual push areas. These manual push areas are typically unload, load or manufacturing cells.

push pull conveyor

A Push-Pull power & free system is simple, accessible and relatively low-tech; a single drive can power carriers through the process with a simple standard control panel. This, along with manual push for multiple spurs, offers great flexibility for managing fabrication and loading areas. This type of system will significantly reduce the overall project cost.

push pull conveyor system

At Richards-Wilcox Conveyor, we can help you understand how these technologies will 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.

material handling and fabrication

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Material Handling Conveyor

material handling and fabrication

At first glance, choosing a material handling conveyor might sound relatively simple. However, there are several important factors that you need to take into account from the cost of the equipment, the material you want to handle, and the type of operation you would like to run. In addition, you should also be aware that there are several material handling challenges and choosing the right material handling conveyor can alleviate them.

When you consider all these aspects properly, you’ll know that you’ll have the best custom material handling solution for your needs. But what are the things you should consider? In this post, we’ll answer this question in detail.


When choosing a material handling conveyor, the type of material you’re planning on handling is perhaps the most important consideration. This means, to choose the most effective material handling conveyor, you’ll need to consider and understand:

  • The state of the material.
  • What the composition and particle size of the material is.
  • How flowable the material is.
  • How abrasive the material is.
  • The temperature and moisture content of the material.

These aspects will shape the custom material handling solution you choose and will give you peace of mind knowing that you’ve chosen the right solution based on your unique needs and requirements.


Apart from the type of material you plan on handling, how you want to handle it is also an important consideration. In other words, you should take into account the type of operation you’ll be running. Here, you’ll determine whether your operation is:

  • Conveying. Conveying simply means transporting the material from one point to another.
  • Feeding. Feeding is more intricate and requires that the material be fed into the system at pre-determined rates.

No matter what your specific requirements are, certain conveyors work better for certain types of operations.


Understandably, you’ll also consider the cost of the conveyor. However, this is not as simple as choosing the most affordable option due to budget constraints or choosing the most expensive because you want better quality. When choosing the most affordable conveyors, you might pay more in the long run on maintenance or lose income when the equipment fails. Conversely, you might feel that you’re not getting your money’s worth when going for the most expensive conveyors if it’s not the right fit for your needs.

Ultimately, to choose the right material handling conveyor, you’ll need to find the balance between your budget, the cost of the equipment, and what your return on investment will be. In other words, you should consider the value you’ll be getting. Fortunately, material handling manufacturers like Richards-Wilcox Conveyor can help you assess your needs and what solution will be best suited to you.


Your material handling conveyor will inevitably need maintenance. It has mechanical parts that need to be inspected and maintained regularly in order to ensure efficiency. If not, it could have a negative impact on your revenue and business. With this in mind, you’ll need to consider the maintenance requirements when choosing a material handling conveyor.

In addition, while the cost of the equipment is the initial investment, maintenance also carries a cost component that you’ll need to consider.


When choosing a conveyor, you’ll also consider the work environment you plan on using it in. This is simply because the environment might dictate what equipment you need. For instance, if there’s the potential for fires or explosions, you’ll need special equipment. Likewise, when your employees work closely with the equipment, there are some health and safety concerns you should consider as well.


Finally, you should also consider the footprint of the conveyor. You’ll have to consider the size and design of the conveyor as well as the space you have available. Understandably, you want to make the most efficient and effective use of the space you have.

Fortunately, a conveyor systems and engineer specialist like Richards-Wilcox Conveyor can provide you with invaluable information and assistance to ensure you get the most efficient system based on the space you have available.

Find the Right Material Handling Conveyor with Richards-Wilcox Conveyor

Choosing the right material handling conveyor will ensure that you achieve your throughput goals and that your processes are as effective and efficient as possible. Hopefully, this post helped illustrate the aspects you should consider when choosing a material handling conveyor.

To learn more about custom material handling solutions, get in touch with Richards-Wilcox Conveyor. We are specialists in conveyor systems engineering and we focus on creating custom solutions that meet the needs of our valued customers.

assembly line conveyor systems

Assembly Line Challenges and How to Solve Them

assembly line conveyor systems

As a manufacturer, your business depends on your assembly line. It helps you serve your customers better by providing the high-quality products they want and expect. Selling these products, in turn, ensures that you generate consistent revenue. So, it makes sense that you want your assembly line to be as efficient and reliable as possible.

Unfortunately, at some stage, you’ll face some assembly line challenges that could impact your output and, as such, your revenue. Fortunately, many of these challenges can be avoided or solved relatively quickly. And when they are, your assembly line can be up and running as fast as possible.

Lack of Maintenance

Lack of maintenance is a major problem that can lead to reduced output and significant maintenance and repair expenses when equipment breaks. A lack of maintenance can be for a variety of reasons from a lack of skills to deal with modern equipment to budget constraints.

There are a few simple solutions to this challenge. For example, monitoring systems allow you to monitor your assembly line constantly, which allows you to identify any issues before they become significant enough to cause complete breakdowns. Likewise, the right equipment can also play a role. For instance, Richards-Wilcox Conveyors’ range of assembly conveyor systems are reliable and require less maintenance. In turn, this ensures more productivity.

Decreased Efficiency and Productivity

Another major challenge is decreased efficiency and productivity. This can be a result of wear and tear, which then reduces output. We’ve already mentioned that monitoring and using the right equipment can be effective strategies to eliminate these challenges.

Another cause, however, is unbalanced station workloads. These lead to bottlenecks in the system that not only decrease efficiency and productivity but could also lead to reduced quality. The main cause of these imbalances is a lack of visibility over the system and improper planning.

As a result, the solution is, to a large extent, proper planning. At Richards-Wilcox Conveyor, we engineer custom assembly line solutions that are engineered for maximum speed and efficiency, taking into account the customer’s budget and space constraints.

Low Product Quality

When your assembly line does not perform optimally, you’ll inevitably face product quality issues at some stage. As mentioned earlier, all these issues stem from improper planning. Fortunately, they can be eliminated if you follow the right process from the start.

At Richards-Wilcox Conveyor, we design assembly line conveyor systems that are best suited to your factory’s unique needs, and our design process starts with proper planning. This gives you a system that’s optimized for productivity with a layout that facilitates the smooth transfer of products from one point to the next and allows for easy loading and unloading.

Also, during the design process, conveyor simulation is a crucial component. The purpose of this is to demonstrate the system’s operation, identify any potential issues, and fine-tune the design before installation. This allows us to explore different designs while at the same time, saving you time and money.

Long Changeover Times

By now, you know that market trends evolve consistently, and, with this evolution, the demand for products changes. As such, it’s crucial that you understand this evolution and you’ll need to adapt your offering based on what the market expects. At other times, especially with advancements in technology, all or part of your assembly line should be replaced.

Either way, this will require a changeover. Unfortunately, for many manufacturers, this takes up too much time. In turn, this leads to reduced output. Conversely, because this takes so much time, manufacturers avoid changeovers altogether, which then leads to inventory overproduction.

The solution is proper planning and taking the right approach to changeovers. For instance, you could implement your assembly line in such a way that it’s not necessary to shut the entire system down during a changeover or utilize long weekends to minimize downtime. At Richards-Wilcox Conveyor, we focus on understanding your unique needs and can incorporate the necessary measures to reduce changeover times into your design.

Human Error

Finally, you should never discount human error when it comes to the efficiency and reliability of your assembly line. In fact, it could be one of the most common challenges you’ll face.

Eliminating this hinges on two aspects – incorporating more automation and improved training. With automation, you’ll eliminate manual tasks, which, by design, reduces human error and training gives your team the tools they need to be more efficient and productive.

The Bottom Line

Hopefully this post helped illustrate some of the common assembly line challenges you’ll face. More importantly, we hope that you now have some idea of how to solve them. To learn more about our range of solutions to these challenges, including our monorail conveyor systems and enclosed track conveyors, and how we can make your assembly line more efficient, get in touch with Richards-Wilcox Conveyor today.

batch systems conveyor

Manual vs. Automated: What’s the Best Powder Coating Line for You?

batch systems conveyor

As powder-coating applications take the finishing industry by storm, clients are coming to Richards-Wilcox Conveyor for help designing, integrating and reconfiguring their own finishing lines.

These clients have a lot of questions about powder coating. But there’s one we’ve been hearing more than any other:

“When designing a powder-coating line, should I invest in a manual batch-type system or an automated line?”

The answer isn’t as clear-cut as you might think. In fact, it all depends on your workflow, your volume, your budget, and your floorspace.

Let’s take a closer look.

Manual Batch-Type Systems vs. Automated Lines

For those who don’t know, a manual batch-type system is the more hands-on variety of powder-coating production line. In batch systems, operators begin by manually preparing parts, moving items from one device to another using carts or a manually operated conveyor. Once a batch of parts is ready, it is then coated and cured.

As the name suggests, an automated line automates this process. Rather than using human labor to prepare batches of parts, an automated conveyor system continuously moves individual parts through the entire process, from prep and drying to application, curing and cooling.

So, which is better: manual batch or automated?

The truth is that neither system is inherently better—both have their benefits and drawbacks. One is more efficient, while the other is more flexible. One is more expensive, while the other is more labor-intensive.
How do you find the right system for you? Start by considering these four factors.

batch vs automated system

#1: Volume & Regularity

In general, automated lines are best suited to coating higher volumes of parts, as long as those parts have consistent sizes and shapes. If you’re coating thousands of similarly sized parts per shift, automated is probably the right fit.

Batch systems are typically slower than their automated counterparts, but they’re also more versatile. While automated systems must be reconfigured to account for irregularly shaped parts, manual systems don’t. It may be more efficient to go manual if you’re working with lower volumes of irregular parts.

#2: Floorspace

Manual systems typically require fewer components – for example, one oven can be used to both dry and cure parts – which makes them a good fit for businesses with limited floorspace.

However, just because you’re tight on space doesn’t mean an automated line is impossible. Richards-Wilcox Conveyor has worked with clients to make automated lines fit in surprisingly limited spaces.

#3: Speed

Manual batch systems are generally slower than automated. If your powder-coating system outpaces the manufacturing process, then that may not be an issue. But if your powder coating process is delaying output, then you may need to speed things up with automation.

Automated lines can be designed for rapid throughput, creating a constant flow of parts to keep pace with other manufacturing processes. If you need speed, go automated.

#4: Budget

Manual batch-types systems are typically seen as the budget-friendly alternative to automated lines. The upfront cost of manual systems is significantly less; and although they require more human labor, their maintenance costs and operating costs are often much lower.

Then again, the relative efficiency of a system all depends on the other three factors we listed here. If your system is operating at full capacity, producing thousands of products per shift and keeping pace with your other manufacturing processes, an automated line may be necessary to help you meet production goals.

batch vs automated system

We’ll help you identify and design the optimal system for your finishing line.

Whether it’s a smaller manual operation or a large-scale automated line, Richards-Wilcox can create a system that maximizes your efficiency and helps your business achieve its goals.

From designing layouts and installing conveyors to integrating robotics and automation, we leverage decades of experience and key partnerships to create the right solution for your needs.

Learn more about our work with finishing line systems.

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.