Finishing Conveyors to Reduce Material Handling Costs

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

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

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

Conveyor Systems: An Important Part of Finishing Lines

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

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

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

Conveyor Systems Can Help Reduce Material Handling Costs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Good News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


push pull conveyor

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

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

push pull conveyor

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

push pull conveyor system

At Richards-Wilcox Conveyor, we can help you understand how these technologies will impact your production line. Then, we create custom solutions and integrate them into your facility.

We use engineering expertise, along with digital simulations that help you see how specific design decisions could affect your overall environment, to help you determine the right machinery, technologies and layout for your factory.

While we specialize in the most fundamental component of the modern factory, the conveyor, we have a holistic understanding of the factory environment and our clients’ various industries. We leverage that knowledge to help you not only build a better factory for today, but evolve your business for the rapidly changing world of tomorrow.

Learn more about Richards-Wilcox Conveyor’s century of innovation—and discover how we can help you create a smarter factory today.

batch systems conveyor

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

batch systems conveyor

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

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

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

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

Let’s take a closer look.

Manual Batch-Type Systems vs. Automated Lines

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

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

So, which is better: manual batch or automated?

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

batch vs automated system

#1: Volume & Regularity

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

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

#2: Floorspace

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

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

#3: Speed

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

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

#4: Budget

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

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

batch vs automated system

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

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

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

Learn more about our work with finishing line systems.

material handling conveyor system

Material Handling Challenges and How to Solve Them

material handling conveyor system

Individuals in the manufacturing and storage space know how intricate the system of processes, machinery, human input, and algorithms are. All of these things work together in fascinating ways to ensure continuity of production and output. However, when it comes to material handling, the available equipment and solutions all have incredibly focused roles in handling, transportation, and storage.

Material handling involves getting products and raw materials from one point to another as efficiently as possible. If there are any material handling inefficiencies, then it’s almost impossible for organizations to reap any profits. Therefore, we have compiled some of the most common material handling challenges and how to solve them in this blog. When done properly, the handling of products runs smoothly and utilizes the available storage space to an organization’s maximum potential.

Material Handling Challenges

Analogous Storage System

One of the most common problems in material handling is failing to account for the diverse materials. If there is no flexibility or diversity in your storage, then you will find that you often run out of space. You want a system that can handle a full variety of your materials and storage systems that can hold your specific materials without wasting any space.

Minimal Research

Times are changing and with these changes come new and innovative ways of doing things. A wise man once said, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over again and expecting different results.” Ensure that you constantly research new developments rather than relying solely on what you already know. You can engage material handling specialists to help you identify areas of improvement which are often overlooked.


This is one of the biggest challenges that organizations deal with when it comes to material handling. Picture a honeycomb in a beehive, there are usually spaces all over. Honeycombing happens when organizations don’t fully utilize the space in their storage units. This is usually a costly mistake because apart from wasting precious space, it also hinders the seamless movement of personnel.

Lack of Scalability

All organizations that get into business primarily seek to make profits and expand. Despite this, most companies lack an effective long-term plan and end up scrambling in the eventuality that business booms. When business is booming, it means that there’s more effort and more energy needed to meet customer needs. Organizations often set themselves up for disaster by failing to plan and then rushing to try to handle the new demands.

Too Much Contact

For effective material handling, you want your workers to deal with each material for as little time as possible. No matter how skilled your personnel is, the goal is minimizing costs and raising efficiency. The less time your workers spend moving or processing materials that can be automated means more time for them to focus on other jobs that require their skills. In material handling, effective time management is often the difference between making profits or losses.

How to Solve Material Handling Challenges?

Process Automation

In a flowing factory, automation using conveyors is a game changer for process and productivity. Manual labor usually works at a much slower pace than machinery resulting in a lot of money spent and can even risk the health of your employees every so often. Richards-Wilcox conveyors are built with redundancy and repetitive decision-making in mind to ensure efficiency and ease of use. Our conveyors are cost-effective and seamlessly integrate into your production line. In addition, the set-up is completely customizable to whatever material type you handle.

Consistent Processing Speed

Another way to overcome the challenges of material handling is to ensure a steady speed of processing goods and materials in your entire system. If one of your systems or processes is too fast or too slow then you will notice problems with overflow or backups. This can cost you precious time and even lead to delayed deliveries. Our conveyors ensure a consistent speed throughout to enable the handling to move like clockwork.

Efficient Use of Space

Most organizations don’t plan their storage arrangements or try out different layouts. As a result, they often settle for sub-optimal storage systems with a lot of wasted space. With proper planning and equipment, organizations can utilize all the space from the floor to the ceiling. Overhead space can also be used to move materials using overhead conveyors. Just ensure that it’s completely safe because falling materials can be dangerous.

Frequent Inspections and Maintenance

A large part of handling challenges in material handling is conducting preventative maintenance. Frequently inspect your systems and machines and fix any problems you come across before they become big issues. These inspections and maintenance can help you avoid breakdowns that halt the entire operation and often cost a lot to repair.


The way an organization’s material handling system operates can be the difference between making profits and incurring losses. Richards-Wilcox Conveyor is a master of conveyor systems engineering. We specialize in engineering systems and creating custom material handling solutions.

Our conveyors are ideal for various material handling equipment situations. If you would like to streamline your material handling and ensure maximum efficiency, contact Richards-Wilcox Conveyor today!

powder coating

Why the Finishing Industry is Betting Big on Powder Coating

powder coating

Driven by technological advancements, external pressures, and opportunities to enter new markets, many producers are switching from liquid paint to powder coatings. Let’s take a look at why this switch is happening and what you should know about powder.

What is UV-Curable Powder Coating?

UV-curable powder coating is an alternative to liquid paint. Applied using an electrostatic spray gun and finished with high-powered UV light, powder is used in a wide range of industrial finishing applications, on products ranging from plastic car parts to wooden patio furniture.
Thanks to its low curing temperature, powder coating can be used on substrates that liquid paint cannot—just one of the many differences between the two.

powder coating

Powder vs. Paint

In terms of the performance and look of their final products, powder coating and liquid paint are comparable. Some newer powder formulations have even outperformed liquid in chemical- and weathering-resistance.

At the same time, there are some major differences between the two.

For one, powder coating can be applied to a variety of non-metallic substrates that liquid cannot. While liquid formulas often require extreme heat to cure, powder coating can cure at a relatively low temperature. Therefore, powder can be applied to materials that cannot withstand ultra-high temps, such as wood composites and plastic. Today, producers are using powder coatings in a variety of non-metallic substrates such as MDF, HDF, glass, gypsum fiber board, ceramics and plastic.

Another advantage of powder coating is the speed and efficiency of its curing process. While liquid paint often takes minutes to cure, powders can be cured in less than 10 seconds using UV light. Thanks to its quick curing, systems that use powder can move faster, produce more, and consume less energy along the way.

A Changing World

powder coat finish

In today’s climate, arguably the most important difference between powder and liquid paint is that powder is seen as a sustainable alternative. In general, powder coatings produce less waste and toxins. Meanwhile, producers are working towards making powder part of a “true circular economy” by reprocessing powder waste and formulating resins from recycled materials.
While not everyone agrees on the relative sustainability of powder vs. liquid formulations, what really matters is that many governments and corporations have reached the consensus that powder is more sustainable. As a result, shifting regulations and corporate commitments are pressuring producers to switch to powder, and those pressures will likely intensify in the years to come.

Recap: Should You Use Powder?

powder coating

While some producers will continue using liquid paint for the time being, many are switching to powder. That’s because powder is:

  • More flexible: Thanks to its low curing temp, powder coatings can be applied to a variety of wood composites and other non-metallic substrates. For those in the finishing business, using powder can open up entire new markets, such as plastic vehicle components and wooden home furniture.
  • More efficient: Powder coating’s low-temperature curing process takes less time and consumes less energy.
  • More sustainable: As governments and corporations pressure producers to use more sustainable processes, using liquid paint is increasingly costly and cumbersome. A system that uses powder coatings may have greater longevity.

Want to Bring Powder Coating to Your Production Line? We’ll Make It Happen.

Richards-Wilcox Conveyor has partnered with a wide range of producers to design, install and integrate finishing applications, including powder coating. From designing layouts to integrating robotic applicators, we leverage decades of experience and partnerships with the best in the business to create smarter, safer, more efficient solutions.

To get started, submit a contact form or call us at 800-253-5668.

For more technology that’s revolutionizing the finishing industry, read our blog How Automated Conveyors are Revolutionizing Industrial Paint Application or take a closer look at Richards-Wilcox’s Finishing Line Conveyors.