distribution conveyors

Conveyor Design Considerations for Pharmaceutical Distribution

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

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

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

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

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

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

distribution conveyors

Systems Built Specifically to the Needs of the Distributor

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

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

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

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

High Output Low Downtime

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

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

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

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

material handling and fabrication

What Is Material Handling?

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

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

material handling and fabrication

Storage and handling equipment

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

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

Bulk material handling equipment

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

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

Industrial trucks

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

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

Automated handling

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

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

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

conveyor control system

Benefits of Conveyor Automation

Automation has become an integral part of the manufacturing industry.

Stiff competition and the need for efficiency has compelled manufacturers to automate the various key processes.

Apart from picking and packing, managers should also automate conveyor systems. Automation of conveyor system designs makes moving raw materials, finished products, and other goods easy and is cost-efficient.

At Richards-Wilcox Conveyors, we create automated systems for assembly, material handling, and fabrication, finishing line, and specialty applications like robotic integration into a paint line for car parts.

Automation may require a huge investment, but in the end, its advantages are apparent.

Benefits of Automated Conveyors

conveyor control system

Reduced Labor Costs

Installation of automated conveyors costs a lot. However, they result in overall reduced day to day labor costs and a high return on investment (ROI).

Unlike humans, robots do not get fatigued, don’t require off days, holidays, and overtime pay. Additionally, they don’t get injured in accidents and definitely won’t sue for damages.

They can perform the work faster and consistently without the need for more human labor. All you’ll need is an overseer and a few engineers to handle any software or hardware problems that may arise.

At Richards-Wilcox Conveyors, we design conveyors customized to your factory’s needs and optimize productivity while cutting human labor costs.

Reduced Error and Injuries

Humans are intelligent but not perfect.

While robots require human supervision, they’re reliable and more consistent. Proper programming of conveyors and automation makes it less likely for costly errors to occur.

Our conveyor systems and engineering come with conveyor controls with Operator Interface Displays, the latest hardware, straightforward software configurations, and a Graphic User Interface (GUI) where the operator can see the real-time production information.

Additionally, they also feature emergency shut-down capabilities, thus reducing errors and preventing injuries. The conveyor controls also come with support documentation and comprehensive training on operation and maintenance.

Saves Space

Automated conveyor systems require less space on the passageway between conveyors as there’s no room required for forklifts and manual machines.

The production floor can open up and look less cluttered. Moreso, automated conveyors do not necessarily require to be on the floor.

If there’s limited space, we can design and install a conveyor that suspends from the ceiling to reclaim the space on the floor. But first, our conveyor simulation will demonstrate how it will work.

Before installation, we design a conveyor simulation, a computer-generated model that demonstrates how your conveyor will work. It shows you the exact components of the system and how it will function in your space.

The conveyor simulation shows how effective the system is, allows modification to customize the system to your needs, and detects any problems before it is installed.


Automation is the future of manufacturing. At Richards-Wilcox Conveyor, we will build and install automated conveyor systems for you. We will provide you with a simulation before installation to make sure the system will work as expected. Our conveyor systems design comes with conveyor controls and everything you need to make conveying seamless.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


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.


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!