conveyor control system

The Key Benefits of a Conveyor Control System

Conveyor controls are critical to the efficiency and optimization of your entire conveyor. Think of your conveyor system as a body. You have good bones, but you need a smart brain. That’s why you need a strong conveyor control. When you enable system integration with your host computer (or other software systems) you have an optimized, holistic system that’s engineered to evolve alongside you.

conveyor control system

The right conveyor control saves time, money, and efficiency. It will allow for variable production rates, and quick production changes. Programmable Logic Controls (PLC) allow for this necessary direct system control. This centralized network-oriented approach is best primed for automation and attaining the numbers you need to thrive.

You also need a system that collects, views, stores, controls, analyzes, and manages conveyor information from the facility floor in real-time, and make it easy to interpret and implement changes or repairs. When operators and maintenance workers don’t have to take as much time troubleshooting, when they have a smart conveyor control that helps process, diagnose and debug issues quickly, it ensures your potential downtime is not your downfall.

The right conveyor control allows for built-in adaptation. Your controls should be expandable and flexible to improve workflow and meet new requirements and accommodate for additions and adaptations as you grow.

A smart system control software even saves lives. A conveyor control should automatically shut down the system in the case of malfunction, because any breach of protocol could not only harm your bottom line – it could potentially harm any worker on the line.

At Richards-Wilcox Conveyor, we specialize in conveyor systems design. We’ve designed conveyor systems for every size and scope of facility. We understand your factory, learn its unique needs, and know what it needs to be future-ready.

It’s essential to make your conveyor design optimized to your own space. It’s why we execute conveyor simulations – computer-generated models to check how a conveyor system will work, before it’s ever built. The right conveyor control can even create these kind of simulations to help evaluate new ideas for optimization.

conveyor simulation

We understand your factory, learn its unique needs, and know what it needs for the future. But whether we’re exploring a new system designed from scratch or testing out proposed modifications to an existing system, the right conveyor control makes it all click. That’s what really makes you engineered for evolution.

Evolving Our Operations to Help the Nation Combat COVID-19


All of a sudden, so much was on the line – the health of our community, the livelihood of our employees, and the future of this great nation. The governor’s orders for all non-essential businesses to shut down, meant that all 150 of our employees had to return home, with the uncertain future of not knowing when they were going to return to work.

“I was thinking what can we do to preserve jobs, but more importantly, help with the COVID-19 crisis?”

– Bob McMurtry, President, Richards-Wilcox.

To bring relief and comfort to many, as well as provide the work needed to keep the Richards-Wilcox family contributing during this time of crisis, we knew we had to be agile, innovative, and ready to adapt at a moment’s notice. After all, this wasn’t the first crisis that Richards-Wilcox brought its resources forward for the good of the Nation. During WWII, we pivoted the factory resources for the war effort. And this was no different. It was time to step up, once again.

Keeping pace with a radically changing world, we evolved our operations and transformed our 365,000 square foot factory into an Emergency Bed critical response manufacturer.

quik bed blog

Within 72 hours of Governor J. B. Pritzker’s Executive Order requiring the entire State of Illinois to “Shelter in Place,” and within 24 hours of New York’s announcement to turn the Javits Convention Center into a 1,000-bed hospital, the Richards-Wilcox teams began working tirelessly to engineer strong, durable and easy-to-assemble emergency beds – the Quik-Cot and Quik-Bed, for medical, overflow and quarantine facilities.

It seemed like the perfect opportunity to do our part in mitigating the crisis while helping our employees keep their jobs.

“I am proud that we’re weathering these difficult times together and are able to help our employees earn a livelihood, support their families, as well as contribute to the greater goal of keeping our nation safe.”

– Bob McMurtry, President, Richards-Wilcox.

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The Richards-Wilcox Quik-Cot and Quik-Bed are being shipped to healthcare facilities across the country, complete with a mattress from local business, Moonlight Slumber, Inc. In the coming weeks, we are hoping to significantly reduce the burden of hospitals facing a severe shortage of beds and improve patients’ access to treatment. If you or an organization you know is in need of emergency beds, please reach out to us immediately.

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Helping the Houston Food Bank Fight COVID-19.

The Richards-Wilcox Powered Overhead Zig-Zag Conveyor in the Houston Food Bank is moving over 750,000 lbs. of food per day to help thousands of American families affected by COVID-19. Here’s the full story.


COVID-19 is impacting our lives in unthinkable ways. While medical professionals are working tirelessly to control the pandemic’s direct impact on health, an army of frontline workers across sectors are taking unprecedented measures to mitigate the indirect socioeconomic impact of the pandemic on the community.

As people continue to lose their jobs, more and more Americans are becoming food insecure. Hunger Relief Organization, Feeding America, is now preparing to feed 17.1 million people, on top of the 37 million that they already serve. Not surprisingly, food banks are starved for resources and manpower needed to meet the growing demand.

As the largest Feeding America Food Bank in the country, our client Houston Food Bank is going above and beyond to ensure every American family is able to put food on their table in these difficult times.

A few years ago, Richards-Wilcox Conveyor had the opportunity to design a conveyor system for the Houston Food Bank. We knew that the Houston Food Bank couldn’t afford downtime. A lot of families depended on them. Our goal was to help automate their process with minimal human intervention and increased efficiency. A goal that seems all the more relevant and significant in the current times.

Randy Degood with Progressive Handling reached out to us to help design a conveyor system for the Houston Food Bank. After several ideas and input from all parties, we developed a system that allows them to prepare 750,000 lbs. of food per day.”

Matt Chorski, Systems Sales Manager, Richards-Wilcox Conveyor.


Today, we’re proud to see our conveyor hard at work in the Houston Food Bank – supporting President Brian Greene and his team on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis.

The COVID-19 crisis also brings to light the importance of cleanliness and hygiene in protecting people from the pandemic. By reducing manual handling of food, our conveyors not only help the Houston Food Bank meet the strict safety and sanitary regulations, but also maximize productivity and process efficiency.

Designed to be durable and reliable — while providing flexibility and customization, our powered overhead Zig-Zag conveyor is helping the Houston Food Bank respond faster, stronger, and smarter to COVID-19. The Richards-Wilcox team is proud to work with clients like the Houston Food Bank, and engineer conveyor solutions that keep factories future-ready at all times.

Building a Brand That is Engineered for Evolution

100 years ago, Richards-Wilcox Conveyor gave the world something no one had seen before.

The overhead enclosed track conveyor. Several generations and two industrial revolutions later, we continue to lead our clients into the future by engineering the world’s most effective conveyor solutions.

conveyor gorilla

Evolution and innovation are at the heart of everything we do.

Inspired by British naturalist Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution: the species that are best able to adapt to changing environments are the ones most likely to survive in the long run – we got thinking about evolution in our industry.

conveyor horse

Today, we live in the world of Industry 4.0.

Manufacturing and distribution operations are getting faster, smarter, leaner, more advanced. To survive, you have to be highly efficient. You have to take advantage of the day’s most effective technology. And you have to be ready to adapt at a moment’s notice.

For centuries, our conveyors have carried the same qualities as some of the most evolved species that walk the surface of this earth.

conveyor leopard

Tested in the Wild for More Than 100 Years…

Our systems are designed to adapt.

Flexible, modular, and integrated with your technology and your evolving floorplan.

Our conveyors are built for the future.

When the world changes and the pace quickens, you will stay at the front of the pack.

Our solutions are engineered to evolve.

Constantly adapting to meet the challenges of the modern factory.

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Our new brand brings this vision to life in every word, pixel and piece of metal.

It stands tall in the form of larger-than-life beasts we built from the same steel structures that make our conveyors – serving as a daily reminder of our power and purpose.

As we celebrate our legacy and look boldly to our future, we encourage you to explore our new website to see how our company has evolved with every creative conveyor solution we engineer.

Where Can You Install Our Zig-Zag Enclosed Monorail Conveyor System?

Since its introduction in the early 20th century, the overhead conveyor has revolutionized several industries. These conveyors use an arrangement of overhead monorail systems to move products connected to the monorail from one point to another, thus allowing for seamless transitions between various process operations. This automated transportation of goods and materials minimizes human labor and, as a result, significantly reduces time, as well as cost.

Overhead conveyors offer numerous advantages. Specifically, they free up valuable floor space, thereby maximizing facility floorplan layouts and increasing plant efficiency and flexibility.

Richards-Wilcox’s Zig-Zag overhead conveyor can be used in almost any industry that requires items to be transported around facilities as part of their daily operations. They are ideal for a number of applications ranging from simple, in-line systems to complex storage retrieval systems.

Conveyor-Assisted Industries

Although the applications for Zig-Zag monorail conveyors can be plentiful, some of their most common industrial applications are:

  • Manufacturing – Overhead conveyors are an essential element in manufacturing automation. Assisting in a broad variety of processes ranging from assembly to fabrication and packaging, Zig-Zag conveyors aid the movement of parts or components – particularly heavy or bulky items – from one phase of the manufacturing cycle to another automatically.
  • Warehouses & Distribution Centers – In the warehouse and distribution industry, sorting, tracking, and packaging large amounts of items are essential to daily operations. Overhead conveyors often deliver the empty cartons or totes to the picking modules while maximizing floor space, thereby allowing workers to focus on specific tasks with minimal obstructions at ground level.
  • Automotive repair – Because automotive parts are often cumbersome, manual transportation can be impractical in the repair industry. As an alternative, Zig-Zag overhead conveyors are ideal for rapidly and consistently transporting car parts and bodies from one repair or assembly process to another. For instance, a car part can be moved from the stamping process straight to painting in an automated and seamless fashion.
  • Paint finishing and detailing – Zig-Zag conveyors are also useful solutions for handling products during painting and detailing operations. Since the monorails are installed overhead to increase available floor area, painters have ample working space to work with bulky and complex shapes.
  • Garment industry – Correctional institutions, hospitals, dry cleaning facilities, and hotels all make use of overhead conveyors to easily store and retrieve garments or textiles. By utilizing overhead space, multiple levels of clothing storage increase storage capacity. Enclosed monorail systems can also be used for highly efficient and automated employee uniform retrieval systems.
  • Food & beverage – Process automation in the food and beverage industry is crucial as increasing consumer demand and fierce competition necessitates faster and more efficient production. Conveyors move food products between various processes ranging from manufacturing to packaging with minimal human intervention and increased efficiency. The use of conveyors and the reduction of manual handling are also essential for meeting strict safety and sanitary regulations.

The versatility of Zig-Zag monorail systems also makes them suitable for other applications such as:

  • Inventory storage
  • Plating rack storage
  • Die-cast rack storage

Installing a Zig-Zag Overhead Conveyor System

RW Zig-Zag overhead monorail systems offer several benefits over conventional conveyor systems. The standard modular construction of the monorails is designed to be durable and reliable while providing essential flexibility and customization for a broad range of applications.

To learn more about how Zig-Zag monorail systems can address your conveying need or to discuss the specifics of our installation process, please contact our technical support team for more information.

Optimize Your Space With Power & Free Conveyors

Many manufacturing and storage facilities are pressed for space, leaving smart plant managers struggling to find ways to optimize their facilities to increase efficiency and save room. Power and free conveyor systems can often provide substantial space savings, helping companies to avoid having to find larger facilities or reduce efficiency by squeezing important processes into their available space.

Richard-Wilcox Conveyor Systems offer a number of power and free conveyor systems to clients in order to help them improve productivity and efficiency in their facilities. Companies considering a conveyor system should study the advantages these systems offer and find the system that best suits their needs.

Power and Free Conveyor Systems Explained

Power and free conveyor systems are built on a two-track system. These conveyors, also referred to as asynchronous conveyor systems, allow loads hanging beneath each track to move at differing paces. Users can program the machine operating the conveyor to have loads start or stop independently of one another. Users can also have loads switch tracks if necessary.

Power and free conveyors are called “power and free” because one track is operated by a powered track while the other track has free trolleys running on the lower track.

Power and Free Conveyor Systems Explained

Power and free conveyor systems are built on a two-track system. These conveyors, also referred to as a synchronous conveyor systems, allow loads hanging beneath each track to move at differing paces. Users can program the machine operating the conveyor to have loads start or stop independently of one another. Users can also have loads switch tracks if necessary.
Power and free conveyors are called “power and free” because one track is operated by a powered track while the other track has free trolleys running on the lower track.

Advantages of Power and Free Conveyors

Power and free conveyors have a wide variety of applications in:

  • Manufacturing facilities
  • Distribution centers
  • Shipping centers
  • Assembly line operations
  • and Paint shops, among others.

Power and free conveyors have the advantage of:

  • Compact design
  • Easy installation
  • Centralized control
  • Modular design
  • and High availability of parts


Richards-Wilcox Conveyor Provides a Single Solution to Integrate Carton, Tote, and Trash Handling

Richards-Wilcox Conveyor Provides a Single Solution to Integrate Carton, Tote, and Trash Handling

Aurora, IL – Richard-Wilcox Zig-Zag® Overhead Enclosed Chain Conveyor provides a singular solution for multiple applications. Manufacturing and Distribution centers can now combine three operations such as carton, tote distribution, and trash handling all in one powerful and durable overhead conveyor system that can integrate with existing floor conveyor systems. By implementing a Zig-Zag system, companies can increase packing efficiency and productivity, realize a cleaner and safer working environment, and automate manual functions to significantly reduce labor hours.

Contact Richards-Wilcox today to get a free copy of our Zig-Zag demo video on CD-ROM and learn how you can increase productivity and streamline your distribution.
Call for more information 888-852-1020 or e-mail .

Richards-Wilcox. American Made. American Owned.

Richards-Wilcox Twin-Trak Power & Free Side-by-Side Conveyor For Limited Space Applications

Richards-Wilcox Twin-Trak Power & Free Side-by-Side Conveyor For Limited Space Applications

Aurora, IL – Richards-Wilcox Twin-Trak Conveyors combine power & free capability with a side-by-side track configuration. Twin-Trak offers the ideal medium-to-high capacity solution for product storage and transportation where limited overhead space is available.

Twin-Trak’s side-by-side design uses only 8” of vertical space and can be installed in facilities where an over and under Power & Free conveyor is out of the question. Twin-Trak is designed for applications such as progressive assembly, finishing systems, and WIP buffer storage.

Twin-Trak increases throughput using controlled accumulation and delivery, eliminating the usual wait time with storage banks. Work in process is stored overhead, freeing floor space, and is transported down to meet production requirements for each stage of the operation. This system delivers the right parts at the right time to the correct operation, making a continuous flow. Twin-Trak eliminates product rehandling and manual transporting by integrating finishing and assembly processes in one material handling system.

Call for more information 888-852-1020 or e-mail

Richards-Wilcox: American Made, American Owned