distribution conveyors

Conveyor Design Considerations for Pharmaceutical Distribution

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

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

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

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

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

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

distribution conveyors

Systems Built Specifically to the Needs of the Distributor

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

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

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

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

High Output Low Downtime

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

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

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

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

material handling and fabrication

What Is Material Handling?

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

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

material handling and fabrication

Storage and handling equipment

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

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

Bulk material handling equipment

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

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

Industrial trucks

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

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

Automated handling

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

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

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

conveyor rotation

The Rotation Revolution: How Pendant Rotation Can Overhaul Your Conveyor


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

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

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

conveyor rotation

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

price of steel

The Steel Skyrocket: Explaining the New State of Steel Production

price of steel

In the 20th century, steel made in America forged the American manufacturing empire.

But now, the price of steel itself is forging a 21st century chain reaction.

We want to advise our clients and partners how to proceed in a new market with steel prices at an all-time high and explain why this change has come to be.

Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. Steel production fell by 17.2% and global crude steel production fell by 0.9% in 2020. With the looming economic shutdown last March, auto and appliance factories closed driving down demand for steel.

In response, steel manufacturers shut down the steel mills to reduce capacity. But then American factories went back to work. This is where the balance of supply and demand broke down – because the steel mill furnaces were stopped to cut costs and mills couldn’t boot them back up fast enough to meet demand when “essential” work returned a month later, the demand outpaced the supply.

Exacerbating the issue even further, tariffs on Chinese, Russian and Brazilian imports ramped up the cost of raw materials. The expense spiral continues – even scrap steel is skyrocketing.

With supply and demand so out of sync, there’s simply more need than inventory. Costs have nearly doubled since August of last year. Sadly, this means there’s a price increase coming for every industry connected to steel, across the manufacturing and contracting world.

We’re keeping our prices locked until the end of the first quarter, 2021. After that however, it may become too costly for your customers to proceed with projects. Nor can we universally guarantee there will be enough steel to complete projects at our typical rapid pace and reasonable cost.

Because we value trust and transparency with our clients and partners above all else, our advice is to order now, when you can still get steel for a steal. If you don’t believe you can complete a contract in Q1, you need to inform your customer that price and delivery are not locked in and will be negatively impacted by delaying their decision. Reiterate to your clients that that it could be up to a year before the volatility begins to stabilize under new supply and new administration.
We’ve been around for over 140 years, so we’ve seen stocks and steel rise and fall and rise again.

Steel yourselves. We’ll get through this, and Richards-Wilcox always finds a way for our customers.

Top 6 Considerations When Selecting the Right Conveyor Design

What to Expect During the Conveyor Design Process

We know how daunting it can be when beginning the process of creating a conveyor system in a warehouse. Deciding what conveyor system to pick, deciding on a conveyor design and conveyor controls, we would like to help break it down for you. In short, we:

  • – Align conveyor function and purpose to optimize productivity
  • – Obtain plant layout to determine where the conveyor is to be installed and create a path that connects it with load-unload areas and process equipment for smooth operation
  • – Identify size and weight of product to be transported and consider any process equipment the product passes through to design a carrier that allows easy loading and unloading
  • – Identify electrical characteristics, carrier spacing and track elevations to enable easy and safe interaction between worker and carrier
  • – Calculate chain pull to maintain the normal operating speed of a conveyor under a rated capacity load

Top 6 Considerations When Selecting the Right Conveyor Design

6 Considerations when Picking the Right Conveyor System

The first step of any conveyor design process is choosing a conveyor systems design. We already have a full article on the top 6 considerations for the right conveyor system to ensure you make the best decision for your warehouse, but here’s the quick version.

In order to pick from our designed conveyor systems, it is advisable to do a few things. Reflecting on conveyor history is first. Past conveyor experiences, successes and problems should be noted.

Next is specifying the conveyor operation. This is done by:

  • – 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.

A conveyor also depends on the materials used. You can categorize materials by 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)

The form or state in which the material should be handled in is also important, along with the flowability, composition of solids, and particle size.

The environment in which your warehouse is located is key in the decision-making process.

Finally, space constraints and budgeted conveyor costs are considerations as well.

what makes our conveyor system design process unique

Designing the Right System with Richards-Wilcox Conveyor

Once we’ve consulted with you, we will choose the best conveyor fit for your operations, be it inclined conveyor design or flat, and what conveyor controls you need. There are choices that best suit electronics manufacturing, and others that are a solution for factories with limited headspace.

To ensure that you can see our choice for you in motion, we also offer you conveyor simulation to observe what the specific conveyor system looks like for your factory.

Conveyor simulation is a computer-generated model that displays the ins and outs of a proposed conveyor system. This allows the user to see exactly where the various components of a system would fit into existing space. It’s important to understand that these models are far from fixed, schematic diagrams; the simulation software is designed to imitate the workflow produced by a functioning conveyor. To that end, the software shows the conveyor system in motion, allowing the user to see graphical representations of products being moved through the various workstations in real time and in three dimensions. In addition, the user can also see the conveyor from multiple angles for detailed analysis. It’s even possible to “zoom in” for a closer look.

Conveyor computer simulation may be used either to design a new system from scratch or to explore proposed modifications in an existing system.

We also offer robotic integration for your factory, because at Richards-Wilcox Conveyor, we believe in Industry 4.0 – where machines and robots work in harmony to achieve your goals. We seamlessly integrate conveyor systems with existing and engineered robotic systems, while still exceeding the quality engineers have come to expect.

Robotics integration is second nature in Industry 4.0, as more and more companies add automated solutions to their existing systems across a wide range of general industries. We are specialists in conveyor robotics integration, with quite a simple approach to a complex process: conveyor and computer work as one. Thanks to adaptive modular design, we can make any of our lines robotic.

Today, we live in the world of Industry 4.0. Manufacturing and distribution operations are getting faster, smarter, leaner, more advanced. It’s a jungle out there. To survive, you have to be efficient, effective and ready to adapt at a moment’s notice. It all starts with your conveyor. Richards-Wilcox Conveyor. Engineered for evolution. Contact us to get started.

robotics conveyor integration

Key Benefits of Robotic Integration

At Richards-Wilcox Conveyor, we believe in Industry 4.0 – where machines and robots work in harmony to achieve your goals. We seamlessly integrate conveyor systems with existing and engineered robotic systems, while still exceeding the quality engineers have come to expect.

Robotics integration is second nature in Industry 4.0, as more and more companies add automated solutions to their existing systems across a wide range of general industries. We are specialists in conveyor robotics integration, with quite a simple approach to a complex process: conveyor and computer work as one. Thanks to adaptive modular design, we can make any of our lines robotic.

robotics conveyor integration

We’ve been in the business since before the dawn of robotics, and we’ve led the way as robotic interfaces have grown ever more integral to our industry. Our highly evolved systems meld seamlessly with our conveyor designs to facilitate safe, efficient processes where conveyor and computer work as one.

One of the key benefits of robotic integration is an easily accessible graphical user interface. From here, you can set process parameters. For instance, you can set defaults on your finishing robots, with built-in tolerances. We set up a robot cell: a complete system comprised of the robot, operator, and other components like a part positioner and safety environment. These cross compatible safety features include an emergency stop triggered by fault commands the instant the built-in tolerance is out of place: both robot and conveyor freeze to ensure the safety of all workers, and can just as quickly resume when the fault is corrected to minimize downtime. This workflow maximizes efficiency and minimizes risk, ensuring your industrial robots and finishing processes proceed with streamlined safety.

An additional benefit is just how thoroughly you can evolve your automated painting and finishing applications. Robotic arms are finely calibrated for automated finishing. Finishing systems can enjoy an untold level of precision and security: we ensure explosion proof parts and emergency protocols for several lines of safety.

The same principles apply to painting application. An industrial painting robot has finely tuned processes, and our painting robots are primed for pinpoint precision. Robots can load and unload, paint, QA a part, and use laser tech to scan and analyze any flaw thanks to instantaneous conveyor integration.

Yet another benefit is collaborative robotics. A common concern with robotic automation is the threat of lost jobs: this is not the case. Robots step in when a job is too hazardous or for a human, and every robot still needs an operator or two to ensure safety and efficiency of workflow. In fact, many times, thanks to new advances, robotic integration is not replacing and removing employees, but aiding and assisting workers on the floor. Collaborative robotics is an exciting new field where robots and people work in tandem on the line. Think of the expedited material handling in a fulfillment center with a robotic helper. This is perfect for automation situations when space is scarce and a human monitor is desired.

Contact a Richards-Wilcox Conveyor representative to learn how you can join the robotic revolution.

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.



Richards-Wilcox Conveyor Responds to Illinois State-Wide Executive Order

After careful consideration of Illinois Governor Pritzker’s Executive Order in Response to COVID-19 and under the advice of experts and professionals, we have developed the following plan for Richards-Wilcox Conveyor and our employees.

Pursuant to the Executive Order, Richards-Wilcox Conveyor is an “essential business.” The relevant portion of the Executive Order is shown below (emphasis added).

“The following manufacturing facilities, distribution, and supply chains are considered essential and may continue to operate. Employees are considered essential and may continue working in your facilities. Manufacturing companies, distributors, and supply chain companies producing and supplying essential products and services in and for industries such as pharmaceutical, technology, biotechnology, healthcare, chemicals and sanitization, waste pickup and disposal, agriculture, food and beverage, transportation, energy, steel and steel products, petroleum and fuel, mining, construction, national defense, communications, as well as products used by other Essential Businesses and Operations.”

Accordingly, we will resume operations this week as listed below.

On Monday, March 23, 2020, a limited staff will return to work to disinfect and clean our facilities and to prepare for the re-start of production activities on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. We will resume production and shipping on Tuesday, March 24, 2020.

We intend to continue “business as usual” as much as is reasonably possible.

If you have any questions, please contact your Regional Sales Manager.

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.

Choosing 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!