Distribution Conveyors - box on conveyors

Conveyor Systems & Engineering for Distribution Applications

Richards-Wilcox Conveyor is well-versed in conveyor systems and engineering.

We have options available for many different purposes and needs, such as belt conveyors, roller conveyors, carrier conveyors, and enclosed track conveyors. This is because we know that conveyors are key not only in assembly applications but in distribution applications as well.

We can ensure that your distribution center is as efficient, clean, and streamlined as possible. Richards-Wilcox Conveyor has solutions that trim down features such as tote handling, empty carton return, and more. This saves on precious time, labor costs and efforts, and means that our uniquely designed trash conveyors can deposit waste to your recycling area automatically.

Distribution Conveyors - box on conveyors

Some excellent options for distribution applications are our Inverted Zig-Zag Conveyor & Zig-Zag Enclosed Track Conveyors.

The Richards-Wilcox Inverted Zig-Zag Conveyor is the way to go for distribution applications where slick operation is paramount. It is an ideal solution for electronics manufacturing, pin systems, kitting assembly, tote conveyors, pan conveyor assembly, and package handling.

This system has an inventive design in which our inverted pendants provide vertical flexibility that is impossible to achieve otherwise. They pivot forward and backward on the wheel axel which allows rotations of up to 30° without torque and wear on the chain. Additionally, they have adjustable (and removable) load centers, modular components that allow for a speedy installation and incredibly precise use, minimal headroom requirements so that your production space is maximized, and removable pendants for ease of maintenance, replacement, and reconfiguration.

Their capacity ranges from 25-75 lbs. per load pin.

We specially designed these inverted monorail conveyors to bring the future to your factory. They accomplish this goal in a few ways:

  • – They eliminate drip pans and sanitary hooks, extend chain and track life – the pivoting pendant means no torque and wear on chain assembly
  • – Reduces maintenance – this reduces costs and downtime
  • – Reduces operational costs – the pendants last longer
  • – Increases production – with less downtime, maintenance and conveyor costs, there is a more streamlined, efficient, and cost-effective operation

Richards-Wilcox Conveyor also offers the Zig-Zag Monorail Enclosed Track Conveyor, which is the product of almost a century of invention. Our first iteration of it launched in 1938 and since then we’ve continuously been refining it.

With its simple and modular design, this is ideal if you’re looking for overhead conveyor applications. The Zig-Zag Monorail Enclosed Track Conveyor is easily installed on manufacturing floors, in auto-body shops, receiving areas, etc. It is an ideal solution for (but not limited to) paint finishing systems, WIP buffer systems, investment casting, progressive assembly, trash conveyors, tote handling, die cast rack storage, empty carton return, plating rack storage, silver can delivery, and robotic interface.

Our Zig-Zag Monorail system has a 75 lbs./load capacity, standard packages up to 750 lb. chain pull, and vertical wheels on 6’ centers. It has many benefits:

  • – Highly adaptable system – the only overhead chain conveyor that may be upgraded to a power and free system with only its existing components
  • – Enclosed track design – products are protected from contamination that is typical from open-chain conveyors. This protection also means that the chain life is prolonged.
  • – Standard, modular components – ease of installation, modification and maintenance.
  • – 6-inch pitch – shortest in the industry. This provides tighter horizontal curves, closer load pendants and less wheel loading. These add up to as much as 33% more productivity
  • – Standard 1’-6’ horizontal and 2’-0’ vertical curves – these can allow for tight changes in direction and elevation. Floor space is therefore freed up for other operations
  • – Vertical wheels on 6’ centers – load is distributed evenly across more wheels which reduces wear. Product damage is minimized as the system can transport product anywhere

If you need more information or have more questions in order to find the perfect conveyor solution for your needs, we are always available to help you.

Here at Richards-Wilcox Conveyor, we can increase your productivity, streamline your distribution, and revolutionize your operations. Contact us for design simulation, a quote, or simply more info, and allow us to bring the future to you with our customizable, innovative solutions.

material handling conveyors

Conveyors For Custom Material Handling & Fabrication

Richards-Wilcox Conveyor is the master of conveyor systems engineering. We specialize in engineered systems and creating custom solutions. Material handling and fabrication are crucial warehouse operations, and we excel in optimizing conveyor systems design to solve for custom material handling & fabrication. But before we talk conveyor design, there are many factors to consider about your factory and your needs

Our conveyors are ideal for many types of material handling equipment situations, like fulfillment centers and fabrication facilities.

material handling conveyors

Material handling is about getting goods and raw materials from point a to point b in the most efficient manner possible. Your chosen solution should correspond to your needs: if your traffic is intermittent or has insufficient volume and needs a variable path, then an industrial truck may do the trick where the cost of a conveyor cannot be justified. But in a flowing factory, material handling equipment manufacturers, a conveyor is a game changer for process and productivity. Cardboard boxes hanging from hooks on an overhead make for an effective pick and pack solution. A floor-mounted conveyor belt can make for effective tote handling. It’s important to have the correct corresponding types of industrial material handling equipment including hand trucks and pallet trucks (make sure they are equal to the height of the fixed conveyor for easy loading and unloading at conveyor stops).

Sometimes materials are not headed to market, but destined for warehouse storage systems like push back racks: we can also help with high-density storage solutions.

To accommodate all these various needs, there’s no better bulk material handling system than a monorail conveyor. Custom material handling solutions call for ease of use, and so Richards-Wilcox Conveyors are built with redundancy and repetitive decision-making in mind to ensure efficiency and ease of use. These cost-effective workhorses seamlessly integrate into your production line, and the setup is completely customizable to whatever type of materials order pickers need. Whether you go with our Zig-Zag® Monorail Enclosed Track conveyor, or one of our inverted floor-mounted models, your workflow comes first.

The same considerations can be said of fabrication applications.

Fabrication is a catchall term for many methods of molding and manipulating metals into various shapes and states. Machining; where excess metal is removed to achieve the desired shape, through drilling, turning, or milling; punching, the process of piercing holes through the metal; and many more permutations from folding to shearing and stamping.

Conveyor systems design can be crucial for the flow of fabrication. For such intensive volume of often dangerous work, automation is essential. Precision is a key consideration, so each Richards-Wilcox system is deftly timed, and even run through simulations so the end-user can see how the system will work, before it’s even built. Furthermore, each of our conveyor systems can be seamlessly integrated with robotic components. In this exacting world, both operator and OS enjoy extensive safety measures with built-in tolerances. We even consider your trash conveyors: the slider bed with a guardrail that creates a trough to dispose of debris to disposal points, from cardboard to metal scrap.

At Richards-Wilcox, we’ve designed conveyor systems for a vast array of companies over a number of decades. Let’s fabricate a solution together: we have the materials, and the minds to handle them.

monorail conveyors for finishing

Monorail Conveyors For Finishing Applications

Monorail conveyors are an essential starting point for any factory – they’re clean, simple, and efficient, with a low initial cost to build and maintain. With load-carrying and drive derived from a single endless chain, these efficient powerhouses are essential units in any facility. But while they can be the beginning, monorail conveyors can also bring the finish.

monorail conveyors for finishing

Because they only follow a single path, they are best dedicated to a single function or part, like a finishing application. For this reason, we offer customizable monorail systems perfect for painting applications and more.

Before you choose the system for you, it’s important to consider the following factors:

  1. What is the optimal layout for your physical space?
  2. How heavy are the parts you’ll be processing, and what size?
  3. The make of the material matters: is it plastic, metal, wood?
  4. How are you curing the product? Ovens, dip tanks, or chemical processes?
  5. Do you want the item attached to an overhead conveyor system, or will you need to use a ground-level cart on your monorail?

Should an overhead solution be the right call for you, there’s our tried and true Zig-Zag® Monorail Enclosed Track. As the industry standard for overhead enclosed track conveyors, Zig-Zag’s modular design and smooth operation make it an ideal for overhead hook painting processes and material handling necessities.

While overhead systems tend to be an industry standard, we like to flip the script on traditional systems. Our PaintLine™ Inverted Monorail Conveyor pioneers the painting process. It’s perfect for when the situation requires a clean environment like paint finishing or varnishing. Thanks to a flexible vertical pendant, PaintLine eliminates the need for add-ons like drip pans and sanitary hooks. Better yet, the pendants pivot forward and backward on the wheel axel, allowing free rotation of up to 30 degrees with no torque or wear on the chain.

Whatever part you’re looking to complete, we’d like to be part of your solution. Finish the job with the best in the business at Richards-Wilcox Conveyor.

overhead conveyor systems

Getting Ahead With Overhead Conveyor Applications

overhead conveyor systems

Things are looking up: literally. There are many benefits to using an overhead conveyor system.

An overhead can be great for your overhead. They are efficient, versatile, and can follow nearly any consecutive path – and if you have the ability to use multiple drives, that path can follow several thousand feet.

The word “system” makes one think of a very A/B/C, linear manner. But while it is a production line we’re talking about, your thoughts and plans don’t have to be linear. It’s important to think of your space in 3 dimensions, and that’s just what an overhead conveyor allows you to do.

Think of the underutilized vertical space in a factory. In many instances, there is an entire duplicate of your floor plan above a factory floor. By going beyond the floor level and suspending your system from the ceiling, overhead chain conveyors allow you to better utilize floor space and organize the flow of your factory. More floor space can mean more product, particularly when every inch of your warehouse is a valuable commodity. This solution allows you to easily move products in bulk and calibrate operations to a variety of specialized or general tasks.

At Richards-Wilcox Conveyor, we specialize in power and free conveyor systems.

What “power and free” conveyor means is that these systems (sometimes called asynchronous conveyor systems) are built on a two-track system: one track is operated by a powered track, while the other track has free trolleys running on the lower track. This allows loads hanging beneath each track to move at differing paces. Users can program the machine operating the conveyor to have loads start or stop independently of one another. Users can also have loads switch tracks if necessary. In short, power and free conveyor systems can often provide substantial space savings, helping companies to avoid having to find larger facilities or reduce efficiency by squeezing important processes into their available space.

The advantages don’t stop there. Overhead power and free conveyors offer operators unparalleled flexibility for a variety of parts and processes. From a functionality standpoint, an overhead conveyor system can move in any direction, has the capability to stop and start parts easily, perform at multiple speeds, divert to multiple locations, and provide part-tracking options, as needed. These systems use pusher dogs to engage and disengage connections between chains and trolleys. They can also accumulate loads between work cells, with multiple loops to buffer product for continuous workflow.

Richards-Wilcox Conveyor offers several high-end power and free conveyor systems primed for peak performance: we consult with clients to find and create the system that best suits their needs.

You can fuse power & free flexibility with a heavy duty over under conveyor configuration, like our OveR-Way™. A reliable, enduring, high-capacity solution for storing and transporting parts, OveR-Way™ allows operators to enhance efficiency without sacrificing quality. The equipment also enables operators to adjust production rates and minimize lead times.

By ensuring the right parts arrive like clockwork in a continuous flow, OveR-Way™ conveyor systems optimize production and boost efficiency. Quality control comes from eliminating unnecessary manual transportation or production rehandling by achieving assembly processes with a single material handling system. It even boasts an enclosed track conveyor that keeps contaminants from falling on the product, and protecting the chain from dirt and other abrasive elements to further prolong chain life. These features make this system an ideal solution for Assembly Lines, Paint Finishing Applications, WIP Buffer & Retrieval, and Long Load Handling.

But say you’ve got limited overhead space. As an additional solution to our time-tested monorail conveyors, the Richards-Wilcox Twin-Trak® Side-by-Side Conveyor boasts a side-by-side track configuration, creating a high-capacity, space-saving dual-track system. This powered overhead conveyor system is well-suited for applications like Paint Finishing Systems, WIP Buffer Storage & Retrieval, Progressive Assembly, Extrusion Material Handling, and Typical Curing Applications.

With an overhead conveyor system, you can reap all the benefits of a beam conveyor or enclosed track overhead conveyor system as long as you plan for and anticipate future needs. It helps to have a trusted partner to ease that burden and plan with you. Our full-service design team has been building future-proof and future-ready conveyor systems for decades. We assemble your assembly lines with the utmost craft and consideration. Optimize the bearing capacities of load bars and ensure the efficiency of free trolleys. We even run through a simulation so you can see how all conveyor components will operate in real-time, before it’s even fabricated and installed.

Our systems are ideal for a wide line of industries, like Distribution Centers, Automotive, Appliance, Telecom, Electronics, Contract Furnishings, Consumer Goods, Aerospace, and many more. See how we can engineer your factory’s evolution.

monthly conveyor safety and preventive maintenance checklist

Monthly Conveyor Safety and Preventive Maintenance Checklist

>monthly conveyor safety and preventive maintenance checklist

Working with an efficient conveyor application not only enhances productivity, but also promotes a safer work environment. Therefore, it is imperative to ensure that your conveyor system routinely undergoes monthly maintenance and inspection to proactively detect any issues or miscalibrations. As a result, you can prevent major, expensive breakdowns that halt your production line. In the content below, we discuss monthly conveyor safety procedures and provide a comprehensive preventative maintenance checklist to ensure optimal machinery performance.

You can also download our quick, easy-to-follow guide on keeping your conveyor on track for the future.

Knowing When Your Conveyor Needs Maintenance

Conveyor safety begins with understanding the equipment in your conveyor application. To best forecast the necessary maintenance tasks associated with your desired cleanroom conveyor system, answer the following questions:

  • How often does the system require scheduled maintenance and repairs?
  • How easily can inspection and repairs be completed?
  • What components or tools are required to successfully maintain and keep the conveyor clean?

Consider each conveyor component, such as the high-performance chain, belt and track. Are each of the components’ replacement parts easily accessible? Keep in mind – replacement parts with lower availability could result in paused or delayed production for your business.

Monthly Conveyor Safety and Preventative Maintenance Checklist

While many maintenance tasks only require quarterly or annual servicing, it is imperative to regularly inspect every conveyor component to detect malfunctions or miscalibrations. Below, we provide a comprehensive monthly conveyor system maintenance checklist as per each compartment type.

Motor

Conveyor maintenance begins with the motor, for no other functions operate properly without a working engine or propeller. Three actions pertain to the motor:

  • Monitor the noise output of the engine. While these tasks fall under monthly maintenance, it is highly recommended to complete this step on a weekly basis. As a result, in the event the motor sound rings at a different output, you can quickly detect and remedy the issue.
  • Check and record the motor temperature. By evaluating and documenting the temperature each month, you can later identify any temperature abnormalities.
  • Assess the motor’s mounting bolts to ensure conveyor safety. If you notice a loose mounting bolt, promptly secure it and document which bolt was loose for future monitoring.

Reducer

Upon completion of your conveyor motor inspection, turn your attention to the reducer. Then, complete each of these three actions below:

  • Listen to and examine the noise output of the reducer. If you notice the reducer’s noise level reaching a unique output or frequency, or even makes a clanging noise, you can then quickly identify and repair the issue.
  • Measure and document the reducer’s temperature. As a result of routinely evaluating and reporting the temperature on a monthly basis, you can later identify any temperature abnormalities.
  • Check the reducer’s oil levels. Like a vehicle, it is imperative to ensure the reducer’s oil levels are neither too high nor too low. By regularly inspecting the levels, you can better determine how often the reducer experiences oil changes and identify if oil is burning faster than normal.

Drive Chain

The purpose of a conveyor is to carry the manufactured products along the conveyor, especially for assembly processes. In the event your conveyor’s drive chain runs out of order, your entire production process could be jeopardized. Therefore, continue practicing conveyor safety by applying preventative drive chain conveyor maintenance through completing the following inspection checks:

  • Test the tension. While often completed on a monthly basis, we recommend that you monitor the tension weekly to easily notice subtle changes such as the tension tightening or loosening.
  • Lubricate the drive chain. Like a well-oiled machine, lubricating the drive chain enhances the conveyors performance by eliminating excess friction. Be sure to utilize the proper lubrication products as recommended by the manufacturer to avoid rusting or product malfunction.
  • Evaluate for wear and tear. The longer your conveyor is in production, the greater chance you have of noticing wear and tear. While that is normal to a certain degree, it is wise to prevent excessive wear and tear through routine maintenance. Therefore, evaluate the chain to notice any signs of rusting, snagging or the drive chain falling off the track.

Sprockets

The conjoining element between conveyor chains and belts, sprockets are pivotal conveyor elements. Therefore, stay on top of preventative maintenance by completing the following inspection checks:

  • Examine for wear and tear. As sprockets are toothed gears or profiled wheels that cause a conveyor chain or belt to transmit rotary motors, it is detrimental to the successful operation of your conveyor if a sprocket breaks. Therefore, evaluate each sprocket in attempt to detect early signs of excessive wear and tear.
  • Assess set screws and keys. By evaluating the current condition of your set screws and keys on a monthly basis, you can quickly notice any areas needing maintenance or immediate repairs.

Belt

The conveyor belt is only as successful and smooth as its main conveyor components. As a result, enhance your conveyor safety and efficiency by completing the preventative maintenance tasks below:

  • Evaluate the tracking. By assessing the tracking for the conveyor belt, you will notice signs of wear and tear. In the event you find a damaged section of the tracking, you can quickly replace the segment before it causes additional reparations.
  • Test the tension. Monitor the tension to ensure the belt is not held too tight or too loose. Either scenario may result in conveyor breakdowns that cost your operation both time and money to correct.
  • Check the lacing. Like a broken zipper, conveyor chains fail to operate successfully when the lacing is off or not congruent with the rest of the conveyor. Therefore, inspect the lacing for any abnormalities.

Bearings (Pulleys and Rollers)

  • Listen to the noise level and output. Similar to the process of motor and reducer preventative maintenance, assess and record the noise level and output of the bearings.
  • Evaluate the mounting bolts. If you notice a loose mounting bolt, promptly secure it and document which bolt was loose for future monitoring.

V-Belts and O-Rings

  • Test the tension. Monitor the tension to ensure the V-belts and O-rings are not too tight or too loose. Either scenario may result in conveyor breakdowns that cost your operation both time and money to correct.
  • Examine for wear and tear. Evaluate both the V-belts and O-rings to identify any premature signs of excessive wear and tear.
  • Check sheave alignment. By routinely inspecting the sheave alignment for any unbalancing, you can quickly notice if something appears out of alignment.

Structural

  • Evaluate every bolt. If you notice a loose bolt anywhere on your conveyor application, practice conveyor safety by promptly securing or replacing it and documenting which bolt was loose for future monitoring.

Safety

  • Evaluate machine guard placement. This maintenance task applies to all belts, pulleys, sprockets, and any other pinch point on your conveyor system. Ensure the guard placement is in optimal condition and proper place.
  • Check emergency stops functionality. Practicing conveyor safety ends with routinely inspecting the functionality of emergency stops. In the event of an emergency, you will want the stops to function instantly and effectively. As a minimum requirement, test every emergency stop on a monthly basis if not weekly.

High-Quality Conveyor Solutions with Richards-Wilcox Conveyor

Performing preventative maintenance to a conveyor can improve productivity and longevity radically, but not all models are made with high-quality materials. However, from design simulation to customizing conveyors for your specific needs, we can help you create a conveyor system perfect for your application and ready for the long-haul.

At Richards-Wilcox Conveyor, our customized conveyor designs are engineered for innovation – radically changing with an evolving world. With numerous applications and capabilities, we find and manufacture ideal solutions for your conveyor system needs. If you have any further inquiries or would like to request a quote, contact us today!

finding the right conveyor for your operations curing ovens

Finding the Right Conveyor for Your Operation’s Curing Ovens

finding the right conveyor for your operations curing ovens

Industrial curing ovens are indisputably one of the most essential components in the heat processing industry. Conveyor systems compliment curing ovens to produce a smooth, consistent process.

However, challenges may arise when selecting the best components for your specific system. Are you unsure which curing oven is right for your existing conveyor operation? Have you selected the right curing oven, yet are indecisive when selecting the best conveyor system?

We understand that selecting both the proper oven and conveyor system is crucial to a successful heat processing operation. Therefore, we provide and discuss below our brief guide to finding the right conveyor for your curing oven.

Brief Overview of Curing Oven Applications

As aforementioned, curing ovens serve as essential equipment. Utilizing curing ovens helps engineer raw materials such as rubber or synthetic adhesives. By accelerating chemical and physical reactions, curing ovens improve the durability of certain materials. This is often achieved by increasing the temperature of the material to or above a specific limit.

Regardless of application, curing ovens are powerful tools within a plethora of manufacturing operations. However, the oven itself is simply part of a larger conveyor system, and finding the right conveyor is critical. Below are a few common curing oven applications.

Chemical Curing

Chemical curing is another common practice that incorporates catalyzing agents into the process to facilitate a material’s chemical reactions. For successful chemical curing that enhances construction components, the curing oven is utilized.

Polymerization

One thermal processing equipment supplier explains polymerization, another common curing oven application:

Polymerization refers to the formation of complex polymer chains from small molecule monomers across a broad range of chemical species and functional groups. This reaction is responsible for some of the most industrially-consumed plastics worldwide, including polyethylene, polypropylene, and polyvinyl chloride. Curing ovens are used to encourage the formation of high-strength bonds between monomers and synthetically ‘grow’ these materials in high-temperature environments. … Epoxy resins can also be formed through industrial curing, by heating liquidized polyethers to create a network of long-chain molecules. These products are ubiquitous in construction and engineering, with countless applications as an intermediary product.

Powder Coating

Powder coating is yet another curing oven application, a painting process in which powdered molecules are heated until they bond together, coating an intended surface. Powder coating is often preferred to liquid painting because contaminants are eliminated, and the paint lasts longer.

Finding the Right Conveyor for Your Curing Ovens

Have you selected the proper curing oven for your application and are in search of the right conveyor system? Perhaps you operate with an existing system and want to expand or improve the conveyor. Regardless, selecting the right system begins with understanding the ins-and-outs of the curing oven you utilize and available conveyor system properties.

Tip#1: Consider the Curing Oven(s) You Utilize

While benchtop, cabinet and walk-in industrial ovens are often utilized for curing applications, conveyor ovens for continuous processing require an excellent conveyor system for operation.

Conveyor curing ovens are designed for versatility, reliability and temperature uniformity. The continuous belt is utilized for large quantities of similar processed materials. For example, the automotive, electronic, manufacturing, electrical, and construction industries utilize curing ovens for consistent, high-volume production.

Tip#2: Evaluate Your Application

Ultimately, your specific application will determine which conveyor best suits your operation. Answer the following questions:

  • Do you have an existing conveyor system but need a finishing line application?
  • Does your operation require a holistic material handling system that interacts with your curing ovens?
  • Or perhaps you need an assembly conveyor?

Determining your specific needs will greatly influence the right conveyor for your curing oven operation.

Tip#3: Establish Your Conveyor Needs

Finishing Line: For flexible and reliable finishing conveyor applications, finishing line conveyors are ideal. Depending on your needs, finishing conveyors are available as monorail or power and free systems.

  • Monorail systems: Simple and cost-effective, monorail systems follow a single path, working best in straightforward applications. They can be powered manually or by a continuous chain.
  • Power and free systems: These overhead systems offer operators flexibility for various parts and processes. Power and free systems easily stop and start conveyor components, perform at varying speeds, divert to multiple locations, and provide part-tracking options. Pusher dogs engage and disengage connections between chains and trolleys.

Material Handling & Fabrication: Conveyors designed for material handling and fabrication are complex. Able to transport material in a seamless, this establishes a flow-through operation from welding cell to assembly line to wash and finishing to packing and distribution. Material handling conveyors are often automated, reducing errors in repetitive processes.

Richards-Wilcox Conveyor’s material handling and fabrication conveyors are reliable, low-maintenance systems, available in space-saving overhead configurations. These conveyors are designed with automatic control systems that support tracking, switching, merging, diverting, color type, and signaling “paint” or “don’t paint.” Finally, automatic rotations allow for dense pack accumulation and reduced curing oven size.

Assembly: Assembly conveyors are designed, of course, for efficiency assembly operations. Within a mass assembly operation, every second counts. Thus, equipment must be able to fit into as little space as possible.

Once again, Richards-Wilcox offers excellent assembly systems. These conveyors are efficient and economic, designed with inclines and curves to move products efficiently and save space. These systems are reliable and low maintenance. Perfect for many curing oven applications, assembly conveyor systems provide continuous delivery of parts with automated controls. Finally, the assembly conveyor interfaces with floor assembly line conveyors, creating a holistic operation.

Create the Right Conveyor Application at Richards-Wilcox Conveyor

At Richards-Wilcox Conveyor, our products are engineered for evolution, designed to last. Each modular, flexible design is built for the future and simple to customize or change with your operation as needed.

We manufacture and customize conveyors to complement your existing systems. Perfect for a variety of curing oven operations, Richards-Wilcox systems are built to fit and enhance your methods.

If you are unsure how our conveyors can work with your curing oven systems, we are willing to answer any questions and look for a solution that enhances your operation. To get in touch with our team, please feel free to reach out at 888.852.1020 or via our online contact form.

 

 

5 factors to consider when choosing cleanroom conveyor system

5 Factors to Consider When Choosing Your Cleanroom Conveyor System

Cleanroom production lies at the heart of numerous of the world’s leading industries. Many industries, including food production, pharmaceutical, medical, semiconductor, and solar power, require a clean industrial environment. Typically, the clean industrial environment encompasses the entirety of an assembly/manufacturing process, leaving only packing and shipping tasks in a non-cleanroom area. Alternatively, a manufacturer could opt to isolate only certain facets of the process as a cleanroom environment.

When analyzing a cleanroom conveyor, consider and evaluate its classification, initial and total cost of ownership, maintenance needs and technological changes, flexibility and energy consumption. In the content below, we discuss the five most important factors to consider when choosing your cleanroom conveyor system.

Cleanroom Classification

Evaluating the classification of a cleanroom conveyor system serves as the paramount consideration. Cleanroom class requirements in the United States derive from the number of allowable particles, 0.5 micrometers in diameter per cubic foot of air, ranging from class 100,000 to class 1 (the very cleanest class). This system is known as Federal Standard 209E. Cleanroom conveyors rate to a class corresponding with the appropriate cleanroom facility.

When purchasing or building a conveyor for any cleanroom process, make it a priority to implement a system with a cleanroom rating at least as strict as the environment for its intended application. For example, a conveyor with a cleanroom rating of 100,000 would be inappropriate for use in a class 1,000 cleanroom. Additionally, it may sometimes be wise to get a conveyor with a higher rating than is necessary, in the event of future upgrades in clean environment ratings.

Initial and Total Cost of Ownership

While deciding on your cleanroom system, staying within your initial budgeted costs prevents your business from acquiring excess debt. However, though initial cost of ownership serves as an important consideration when choosing your cleanroom conveyor system, examine also the total projected amount of expenses included in your conveyor investment. Allow your analysis to extend beyond the initial capital investment and installation costs by asking four questions:

  • How will energy costs affect long-term return on investment?
  • What are the preventative maintenance requirements?
  • How often will the belt need to be replaced – at what cost?
  • What is the expected lifespan of the equipment?

Answering these questions helps narrow down your options and ultimately select the best conveyor system choice for the long-term. As a result, search for a “standard” conveyor system that automatically meets or exceeds your cleanroom environment needs with little to no additional cost on the conveyor.

Maintenance Needs and Technological Changes

As you calculate and forecast any expected costs associated with eventual maintenance and repairs, consider also the types of maintenance and repairs your desired cleanroom conveyor system could require. With each component requiring maintenance, does the expense and level of the repair justify the reasoning to purchase your desired conveyor system?

Maintenance Needs

To best forecast the necessary maintenance tasks associated with your desired cleanroom conveyor system, answer the following questions:

  • How often does the system require scheduled maintenance and repairs?
  • How easily can inspection and repairs be completed?
  • What components or tools are required to successfully maintain and keep the conveyor clean?

Consider each conveyor component, such as the high-performance chain, belt and track. Are each of the components’ replacement parts easily accessible? Keep in mind – replacement parts with lower availability could result in paused or delayed production for your business.

Technological Changes

In the event you later wish to upgrade either the clean environment or other technological aspect to reduce overall costs, assess if the conveyor system you choose is capable of modification. Additionally, it may be advisable to select a conveyor with a higher cleanliness class, such as reconfigurable modular conveyors with a Class 1 rating, to avoid later upgrades and alterations.

With any conveyor operation, especially cleanroom conveyor operations, noise can quickly become an issue. Although the maximum permissible exposure limit for noise set by OSHA is 90 dBA, a range of 50 to 60 dBA is considered most suitable. Unfortunately, noise is inevitable when taking into account all the working and moving parts that most conveyor processes involve. As a result, evaluate the generated range of noise from your desired cleanroom conveyor system, and assess if the application creates a suitable workplace environment for your staff.

Flexibility

Do the production needs of your industry suddenly change? Do you commonly encounter sudden innovation? If so, a conveyor with flexibility – such as the ability to be reconfigured like Lego building blocks – helps manufacturers meet the demands of new developments and manufacturing changes. Therefore, ask yourself the following question: How flexible is the conveyor system in length, configuration and the addition of accessories?

Reconfigurable cleanroom conveyors offer the flexibility and capability to withstand multiple rearrangements to continually meet revised production needs. Additionally, modular conveyors allow for easy adaptation of cleanroom accessories and components such as HEPA filters, tunnel enclosures, ionizers, and hermetically sealed entry/exit gates. Furthermore, adaptable cleanroom conveyor systems allow certain stages to effortlessly conform to sudden isolation or integration in accordance with updated requirements or cleanliness standards.

Energy Consumption

In terms of energy consumption, regardless of conveyor requirements, most manufacturers use the same, large, horsepower motor on all conveyor models. Based on each cleanroom conveyor application, reconfigurable modular conveyor systems utilize energy-efficient motors ranging from 1/30 HP to 1 HP. However, lowering the kilowatts used not only saves your operation money but also reduces total carbon emissions. Therefore, assess the size of your overall cleanroom conveyor system to determine the amount of energy consumption necessary for a successful operation.

Find Reliable, High-Quality Conveyor Solutions with Richards-Wilcox Conveyor

Installing a conveyor in a cleanroom can improve productivity radically, but not all models are suitable. From design simulation to customizing conveyors for your specific needs, we can help you through any step of the process. At Richards-Wilcox Conveyor, our designs are engineered for innovation – radically changing with an evolving world. With numerous applications and capabilities, we find and manufacture ideal solutions for your conveyor system needs. If you have any further inquiries or would like to request a quote, contact us today!

Top 6 Considerations When Selecting the Right Conveyor Design

Top 6 Considerations When Selecting the Right Conveyor Design

Are you beginning the process of constructing or expanding the conveyor system in your warehouse? Deciding which conveyor system and layout works best for your business can feel inundating if you don’t consider both your operation and limitations. There are several key factors to think about and prepare for, as it’s easier to change your design on paper than after breaking ground. Below, we discuss the top six considerations to keep in mind when designing and selecting the right conveyor design.

Reflect on Your Conveyor History

Before exploring your conveyor options, take a moment to reflect on past conveyor experiences. Have you built and used a conveyor in your warehouse before? If so, assess the success or lack thereof with the model or design used. Once you define what elements need improvement and discover how to remedy the issues, be sure to add revised components into your new conveyor design. Doing so will help ensure the success and productivity of your conveyor design, reducing the amount of time spent in repair and stunted production.

Consider Your Conveyor Operation 

Every manufacturer’s warehouse customizes their use of conveyors to further the specific components of their production process. When mapping the design for your new conveyor system, specify what you need the conveyors, various components and entire system to do. Consider your product type. If your warehouse manufactures for the pharmaceutical industry, your conveyor needs drastically differ from the auto industry.

Specifying the operation of a conveyor consists of:

  • Defining how many materials need moving and the window of time in which it must be completed.
  • Knowing the demand at each drop point. In some cases, there may be multiple discharge points.
  • Determining which conditions initiate or stop a refill. In multiple discharges, develop a suitable sequence of operations to establish refill priority so the process does not delay or halt.
  • Deciding if cross-contamination could be an issue. This is especially imperative when considering a single conveyor for multiple materials.

Select a Conveyor According to Your Materials

If you are new to conveyor design, it’s good to familiarize yourself with the different materials you use in manufacturing your product. Though many go by more than one name, you can categorize your materials by any of these methods:

  • An esoteric or trade name (example- SnoMelt)
  • A generic name (example- salt)
  • A chemical formula defined by its primary ingredients (example- sodium chloride, NaCl)

With your given materials, there are a few additional questions to answer that will help select the right conveyor design for your warehouse.

What is the form or state in which the material must be handled?

Determine if the solids are in a free-flowing or semi free-flowing state, note the loose bulk density. Loose bulk density is the weight per given volume of the material in its reduced state. However, don’t confuse or interchange the term loose bulk density with specific gravity – both are very different. Specific gravity is the weight per given volume of a substance in its most natural, concentrated, unreduced solid form.

What is the flowability of the material? 

Flowability is one of the most important characteristics to understand about any solid material. However, it lacks a universal, standardized method of measurement across industrial disciplines. Most often, it is defined as very free flowing, free flowing, average flowability, or sluggish. If you suspect that your material is challenging due to its flowability, it’s best to send a sample to the equipment supplier for review.

What is the composition of the solids? 

Note if they are powder, prill, granule, pellet, fiber, or flake.

What is the particle size? 

Usually, symmetrical solids are described in terms of their ability to pass through the screen of a certain size. Additionally, asymmetrical solids are sized by their minimum and maximum geometric dimensions.

Look at Your Environment 

You need to consider several environmental factors when selecting the right conveyor and equipment design.

Some environmental factors include:

  • Open sources of ignition
  • The potential for a flammable or explosive atmosphere
  • Corrosive vapor
  • High humidity
  • Temperature
  • Vibration
  • Pressure or vacuum (at inlet, discharge or both)

Assess Your Warehouse Footprint 

What are the warehouse space constraints for the new equipment? Evaluate your product dimensions and weight.

When designing and selecting the right conveyor equipment, consider the following:

  • What feeds the new equipment and its discharge elevation of the upstream equipment.
  • What the new equipment discharges into and the inlet elevation of the downstream equipment.
  • The centerline distance between the proposed inlet and discharge.
  • If the proposed route runs as a straight line or if it must turn a corner or change elevation more than once to avoid an existing structure.
  • Width and depth available to accommodate the conveyor equipment.
  • The warehouse ceiling height.
  • Any other layout considerations, temporary or permanent.

Calculate Your Budgeted Conveyor Costs 

We understand that there’s a financial limit as to what you can do. Overall cost certainly plays a role in the feasibility of every project. Therefore, take a moment to calculate total budgeted costs for your conveyor project. Is there a payback formula you need to follow?

Though cost impacts the decisions you make in conveyor component selections, it’s good to invest in quality products such as high performance chains for your operation. Some companies prioritize the long-term cost of ownership in their justification calculation – focusing more on reliability, reduced energy consumption and maintenance. However, other companies emphasize the initial investment. Once your budget is in place, discuss cost with potential suppliers as soon as possible to determine the financial feasibility.

Designing the Right Conveyor System with Richards-Wilcox Conveyor

From design simulation to customizing conveyors for your specific needs, we can help you through any step of the process. At Richards-Wilcox Conveyor, our designs are engineered for innovation – radically changing with an evolving world. With numerous applications and capabilities, we find and manufacture ideal solutions for your conveyor system needs. Explore our wide range of conveyor systems further by viewing our inventory. If you have any further inquiries or would like to request a quote, contact us today!

The Benefits of Investing in High-Performance Conveyor Chain for Your Operation

The Benefits of Investing in High-Performance Conveyor Chains for Your Operation

In any industry of mass production, efficiency and durability are of utmost importance. To those looking from the outside-in, the manufacturing space is more complex than many imagine. Harvard Business Review illustrates this well: “Most Americans believe factory work is mechanical, snapping together plastic parts or assembling electronic devices. No thinking required; just put in these four screws 2,400 times a day… Many of the jobs in the most advanced semiconductor-manufacturing plants are as complex as a lunar-landing mission… Producing biologics involves enough biochemistry, chemical engineering, and cell biology to make a graduate student wince.”

Manufacturers exploring efficiency from the inside-out understand that high-quality, reliable equipment – from conveyor systems to conveyor chain – is crucial. Purchasing high-quality, excellent systems is absolutely worth the investment. Below, we explore a few of the many benefits high-performance conveyor chains provide any operation.

High-Performance Conveyor Chain is Durable

As the name implies, a high-performance conveyor chain performs excellently in a variety of harsh, demanding environments, including those with long runs and sharp turns. A high-performance chain is built to function reliably every time for a long time. In The Competitive Edge: Research Priorities for U.S. Manufacturing, the importance of making substantial investments for reliable equipment is insightfully discussed:

Substantial capital investments, in the form of facilities and equipment, are required for manufacturing almost all goods of economic significance. The productivity of these investments is a fundamental element of competition among companies and nations. Events that slow or interrupt the manufacturing process or degrade the product impair the competitiveness of a manufacturing enterprise. The term equipment reliability and maintenance (ERM) encompasses not only equipment, such as machines, tools, and fixtures, but also the technical, operational, and management activities, ranging from equipment specifications to daily operation and maintenance, required to sustain the performance of manufacturing equipment throughout its useful life.

High-Performance Conveyor Chain is Versatile

A high-performance conveyor chain is suitable for use in multiple types of overhead conveyor applications, both heavy duty and lighter systems. A high-performance chain can be implemented in OveR-Way, patented Twin-Track, and lighter systems using Zig-Zag or Inverted Paintline. A high-performance conveyor chain is both versatile and consistent, enhancing each overhead application explored briefly below with reliability:

OveR-Way Heavy-Duty Over and Under Conveyor

This system is the ideal solution for paint finishing applications, WIP buffer & retrieval, assembly line systems, and long load handling. The OveR-Way Conveyor utilizes the same components as every Richards-Wilcox chain conveyor – trustworthy and reliable. OveR-Way conveyor systems are built to withstand the rigor of a variety of applications; utilizing a high-performance conveyor chain, these systems can also endure rigorous environments. OveR-Way systems boast impressive lifting capacity. Single Over-way carriers support loads up to 1,000 pounds, while Tandem carriers hoist up to 2,000 pounds. Using OveR-Way Heavy-Duty conveyor systems and a high-performance chain, equipment can do all the heavy lifting.

Twin-Trak Side-By-Side Conveyor

Strengthened with a high-performance conveyor chain, Twin-Trak systems bring unlimited power to limited spaces, designed for paint finishing systems, WIP buffer storage & retrieval, progressive assembly, extrusion material handling, and typical curing applications. Twin-Trak systems stand apart due to the ease of switching into and out of the main line of travel with greater frequency than other power and free conveyor designs.

Zig-Zag Enclosed Track Conveyor

The Zig-Zag system is the result of a century of innovation, an effective, efficient system. This conveyor utilizes standard components built for long life. The Zig-Zag conveyor is simple and modular, and easily installed in a wide variety of locations, including manufacturing floors, auto-body shops, receiving areas, etc. Thus, the list of potential applications is nearly endless. A few include paint finishing systems, WIP buffer systems, investment casting, progressive assembly, trash conveyors, tote handling, die cast rack storage, empty carton return, planting rack storage, silver can delivery, and robotic interface.

Richards-Wilcox Conveyor High-Performance Conveyor Chain

Richards-Wilcox Conveyor’s high-performance conveyor chain is designed with countless benefits in mind. A unique caged bearing design is one such customization that changes the nature of a conveyor chain. The bearing design results in longer chain life, smoother operation, quieter operation, less downtime, and greater reliability. When used with inverted track or specialty carriers, e-Chain is an excellent option. e-Chain can be utilized for clean applications, when sanitation is prioritized, such as merchandise distribution and fulfillment.

Furthermore, Richards-Wilcox Conveyor’s high-performance conveyor chain is made with high-quality components, resulting in lower replacement frequency. Reduced system drag increases system life. The chain is more ergonomic and easier on manufacturers and plant workers. The system demands less expensive maintenance and, ultimately, lower total system costs.

The system is built to improve efficiencies, lower overhead cost, and provide reliability for your operation. Below, we explore how Richards-Wilcox Conveyor’s equipment has impacted real companies.

Case Study

Premier Citrus Packers

Major international fruit producer, Premier Citrus Packers handle 2 million boxes of produce annually. Essentially, the market depends on them. The plant contacted Richards-Wilcox Conveyor with an old, outdated conveyor system that caused problems. Neither the Florida-based fruit plant nor the global market could afford the downtime caused by an inefficient conveyor operation. Grocery chains globally relied on Premier Citrus Packers distribution, packaged under a wide variety of private labels.

The Premier Citrus Packers line relies on both an overhead system and a belt conveyor. The overhead system supplies boxes to line workers, while the belt conveyor delivers fruit to packing stations. For the entire facility to operate, both conveyors must be properly working. When the Packers contacted Richards-Wilcox, both conveyors were worn-out – the system broke down constantly.

Utilizing Richards-Wilcox Conveyor systems, Premier Citrus Packers can depend on their equipment. The conveyor is built to last, stronger, more adaptable, and ready for the future. The international fruit producers now experience less downtime, higher productivity, and greater yield.

Richards-Wilcox Conveyor

Richards-Wilcox Conveyor builds conveyor systems engineered for evolution. Our systems are flexible, modular, and designed to keep pace with the radically changing world. We help industries keep on track for the future. If you are interested in upgrading your efficiency and durability, get in touch today at (888) 852-1020 or via our online contact form.

2 Advantages of a Overhead Trolley System

2 Advantages of a Overhead Trolley System

As the world changes, industries are forced to incorporate equipment designed for adaption and built for the future. Efficiency, quality, and quantity are simultaneously demanded by companies and consumers alike. In the face of extraordinary demand, selecting equipment strategically is crucial. Conveyor systems are a piece of equipment often found in the warehouse and manufacturing plants behind dozens of industries – and a specific variation can provide the efficiency required to meet and exceed demands.

Below, we explore two key advantages of utilizing a trolley conveyor system in a modern, efficient industrial setting.

What Are Trolley Conveyor Systems?

Trolley conveyor systems take many forms; however, overhead conveyor systems are most common. Simply put, overhead conveyor systems are a continuous chain or cable loop, suspended from a track. At times, carriers are attached to augment various processes. Overhead trolleys are often categorized into several different types, including manual systems, push systems, and power and free conveyors.

2 Advantages of Trolley Conveyor Systems

Overhead Trolley Systems Use Space Efficiently

As their name implies, overhead trolley conveyor systems are installed out of the way, above ground-level operations. Efficient use of space is absolutely crucial for locations with limited space.

The Twin-Trak Side-by-Side Conveyor system provides unlimited power while using space efficiently. A small factory may have limited ground level and overhead space. The Side-by-Side system is built with a dual-track for optimal volume and efficiency. Freed space can be used for other equipment. The Twin-Trak also stores work-in-process projects overhead. When needed, each piece of a project can be called down in the exact quantity and order required. However, when in disuse, the projects are stored out of the way.

Overhead Trolley Conveyor Systems Are Flexible

Most overhead conveyor systems are designed with intense, complex environments in mind. Trolley systems transport huge and varied loads at high temperatures. Often, the equipment is developed for sensitive, highly contaminated applications. The Over-Way Heavy Duty Over and Under Conveyor system is built to withstand the rigor of a variety of applications.

2 Advantages of a Overhead Trolley System

As a general task, overhead trolley systems are often used in painting systems, transporting parts through the cleaning, coating, drying, and cooling processes. Overhead trolleys find their way into a variety of industrial settings as well, playing crucial roles in transporting products among manufacturing applications. For example, trolleys may provide new supplies of cases or cartons. A trolley system may be utilized for carrying thousands of pounds of equipment. The Over-Way transports loads up to 1,000 pounds.

What makes overhead trolley conveyor systems different from a conveyor belt system? Quite simply, flexibility. Trolley systems can transport unique products, odd-shaped parts, and other items difficult to transport on a traditional belt system.

Richards-Wilcox Conveyor

At Richards-Wilcox Conveyor, we are accustomed to the demand for innovation – meeting and succeeding expectations. This is why we provide conveyor solutions designed to keep pace with a radically changing world. Each system we produce is modular, flexible, and adaptable. We have the right overhead trolley system for your applications.

To learn more about our conveyor solutions, contact us today at (888) 852-1020 or via our online contact form.