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.

Select a Conveyor According to Your Materials

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

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

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

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

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

What is the flowability of the material? 

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

What is the composition of the solids? 

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

What is the particle size? 

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

Look at Your Environment 

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

Some environmental factors include:

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

Assess Your Warehouse Footprint 

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

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

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

Calculate Your Budgeted Conveyor Costs 

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

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

Designing the Right Conveyor System with Richards-Wilcox Conveyor

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

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

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

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

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

High-Performance Conveyor Chain is Durable

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

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

High-Performance Conveyor Chain is Versatile

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

OveR-Way Heavy-Duty Over and Under Conveyor

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

Twin-Trak Side-By-Side Conveyor

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

Zig-Zag Enclosed Track Conveyor

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

Richards-Wilcox Conveyor High-Performance Conveyor Chain

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

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

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

Case Study

Premier Citrus Packers

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

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

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

Richards-Wilcox Conveyor

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

2 Advantages of a Trolley Conveyor System

2 Advantages of a Trolley Conveyor System

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

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

What Are Trolley Conveyor Systems?

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

2 Advantages of Trolley Conveyor Systems

Overhead Trolley Conveyor Systems Use Space Efficiently

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

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

Overhead Trolley Conveyor Systems Are Flexible

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

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

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

Richards-Wilcox Conveyor

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

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

What to Ask When Designing a Conveyor System for Finishing Applications

Conveyor Systems for Finishing Applications

Productive facilities rely on effective conveyor systems for finishing applications to keep their lines running smoothly. Richards-Wilcox Conveyor Systems offers a number of conveyor systems that combine customizable features with cost efficiency. The option you select depends on the finishing applications in which your facility specializes. Below, we’ve put together a handy guide to help you determine the best paint line conveyor system for your facility’s needs.

What Is Your Material-Handling Objective?

The first factor to consider when designing your conveyor system is your handling objective. As you look at the available options, measure the exact specifications of the parts that the system will carry, including their shape, size, and weight.  This information will determine the types and capabilities of equipment needed, including attachments, load bars, and carriers.

The proper selection also relies on an accurate accounting of volume and deadlines as well as how they affect your production rate. Certain conveyor systems handle different speeds, and your production rates will also determine the amount of buffer storage space to incorporate in your design plan.

Which Finishing Application Will Your Conveyor System Handle?

The next aspect to consider is which finishing application your products require. Finishing options come in two categories: dry (powder coating) processes and wet processes. Each process has its own finishing application options that can vary widely, from ovens and washers to spray booths and degreasers.

Powder coating operates via an electrostatic dry finishing process. This process electrically charges and sprays pigment and resin particles onto electrically grounded parts. Powder coating conveyor systems provide a lasting, quality finish.

Wet processes use electrical currents in a technique known as electrophoretic deposition, or E-coating. This process uses an electrically charged liquid-based solution bath to deposit particles onto the product. Parts with crevices or irregular shapes particularly benefit from this process.

Additional wet processes include dip and spray systems, both of which typically use overhead conveyor systems. Dip line finishing uses dip tanks filled with any number of different solutions, into which operators dip their products to evenly apply finish. Sometimes, tanks contain cleaning solutions or chemicals to help prepare an item for its final coating.

Wet spray appears in a large number of applications and can work on almost any product. Paint line conveyor systems apply paint or varnish to a variety of media including metals, woods, and plastics.

Which Conveyor System Is Best for Your Finishing Application?

After you’ve completed documenting your material specifications and have chosen a finishing process, it is time to determine the best conveyor system for your facility’s needs. Several considerations, such as warehouse space and amount of finishing materials, govern this choice. Most products are finished better with overhead conveyor systems, but other parts might require inverted floor-mounted conveyor systems.

Overhead and inverted systems include monorail conveyor systems and power & free conveyor systems.

  • Monorails use a single rail and endless chain system and the entire chain runs at a constant speed. Although they’re simple and cost-effective, they offer little flexibility for process change.
  • Power & free conveyor systems incorporate two rails and a trolley. This allows the system unlimited flexibility, that allows stopping at key locations (e.g., robots, load, unload), carrier accumulation areas and diverting to multiple locations.

How Can Richards-Wilcox Conveyor Systems Help?

No matter the project, Richards-Wilcox Conveyor Systems will help you choose the best conveyor system for your facility. Whether you need a simple spray finish or a complex system that accommodates regular change, we’ll design an efficient and flexible system that will meet your needs.

With over 100 years of experience, we have a reputation for designing and implementing superior conveyor systems for finishing applications.

Contact Us Today

Richards-Wilcox Conveyor Systems offers consulting and engineering services for the most basic to the most complex systems.  Contact us today to request a quote.