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Why use a bendy conveyor?

Flexible expanding gravity conveyors

Author: Sharon Ensbury/09 May 2016/Categories: WORKPLACE ADVICE, Goods movement

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There are many trade names covering this product but at the end of the day it is a conveyor that can be bent around corners or obstacles, it is flexible throughout its length, it can expand in length to suit an application plus you have the option of having the conveyor fitted with either rollers or skatewheels. Sound confusing….well it is not really, it`s just a matter of choices that best suit a situation. 

Traditional conveyor systems are fitted on fixed legs and have straight rigid track lengths. Whilst these systems are fine in lots of industrial applications, the flexible expanding gravity conveyor offers you a multitude of other applications where a more flexible approach to conveying is required. The major benefits of this unique system over traditional fixed gravity conveyor are as follows: 

  1. The complete system is fitted on castors, making the movement of the conveyor to the job site far easier and manageable. Wherever you have a loading/unloading or assembly task to complete you can simply wheel the whole conveyor to that point. This is particularly advantageous in a fast moving and ever changing warehouse or factory environment. The castor base is adjustable in height so that you can pre-set your gravity angle of operation.
  2. The system is expandable ie: the conveyor sections can retract or expand in length as determined by the job in hand. The loading and unloading of box vans and container vehicles is particularly a task where a varying length of conveyor is useful. 
  3. The flexible conveyor is just that….it is very bendy! It can be `bent` around corners, through doorways, around obstacles and generally `moulded` to any shape required. The mobile castor base and the lattice design of the track sideframes allow the whole conveyor to twist to the required layout. Whilst twisted or flexed the flow of your boxes or products down the conveyor will still remain self-tracking. 
  4. The flexible expanding gravity conveyor has another advantage in its quest to become truly versatile. It can be fitted either with rollers or skatewheels and these are supplied in low inertia plastic. Truly the choice is yours and all options are covered. Roller track offers higher product stability with track lengths being able to extend up to 9m long and then retracted back down to 3.84m in length when fully closed. The skatewheel option offers a shorter retracted length with a very impressive space saving closed length of only 2.46m. This is really beneficial if space saving is a major consideration when the conveyor system is not in use.   

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The standard sections are usually fitted with the low inertia plastic rollers or skatewheels but mild steel rollers or skatewheels can also be supplied where a more industrial usage is required. Similarly the rollers can also be supplied as a heavier duty construction if loads higher than 100kg per metre are needed. There is a large range of optional extras that can be provided to help augment your conveyor system. These include stainless steel bearings, side guards, end stops and stop rollers. The final option is to make your conveyor electrically powered. A power roller system can be fitted to take the gravity element out of the conveying completely.      

Bespoke variations can also be supplied. One of the UK`s leading brewery companies were experiencing a serious issue across their production lines whereby the flow of goods was being constantly disrupted by other non-core activities. Their first port of call was to Action Handling to arrange a site visit to discuss what improvements could be made. After a study of working practises a solution to the problem was instituted using a flexible expanding gravity conveyor system. The case study in full  highlights some interesting points about the use of our flexible friend in such situations.   

Are you making best use of material lifting and handling aids throughout your business? Flexible expanding gravity conveyors are one of the ways that you can make otherwise manual tasks easier. The Health And Safety Executive (HSE)  has a very useful section on lifting and handling aids that can be referred to when considering such issues.   

For a full showing of the standard types of flexible expanding gravity conveyor the most popular options are viewable here along with other industrial conveyor options currently available.   The selection of a flexible expanding gravity conveyor can be summarised in the form of a checklist. By answering and assessing the questions about your intended procedures or operations a good judgement can then be made as to whether this system is best suited, along with information that will actually be useful to select any type of conveyor.

  • Do you need to or would it be advantageous to be able to move your gravity conveyor system around your premises
  •  Would it be beneficial to be able to `bend` your conveyor 
  • Do you have any obstructions that could be avoided by the implement of a flexible conveyor
  • What is the size or range of sizes of box, carton or product to be conveyed
  • How much or how little does each box, carton or product weigh
  • Will the conveyor be used internally or externally from your building
  • Are there any corrosive elements present that could affect the operation of the conveyor
  • How many operatives will be employed in the task 
  • Are there any gradients to be considered and how good are floor levels
  • What is the maximum flow of goods and how is that controlled
  • What are your storage arrangements for when the conveyor is out of use
  • Do you think that the use of power will be better than manual gravity operation   

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