In Asimov’s epic series The Caves of Steel, The Naked Sun, Robots of Dawn and Robots and Empire, Earth has a public transport system based on conveyor belts. It’s the primary mode of travel for citizens of this imagined future.
That sci-fi vision wasn’t so far fetched though, especially for industry. In 2005, India and Bangladesh commissioned the longest conveyor belt in the world to be built. The belt is over 21 miles long.
The longest conveyor belt system is in the Western Sahara. It’s 62 miles in length and has been in operation for over 30 years.
Almost any business relying on the movement of large amounts of materials can benefit from some sort of automation system, one of the most versatile of which is the conveyor. Conveyors move objects more quickly, efficiently and safely than human labor can, increasing profits, cutting costs and reducing accidents.
A closer look at these devices reveals why Asimov was on the right track (no pun intended).
The conveyor is one of the least expensive methods of materials handling over short distances, since trucks, forklifts and other motorized devices must expend the energy to move their own bulk as well as the merchandise.
Motorized transport requires a track or some other surface for the movement of the vehicles. A track is unnecessary for a conveyor belt, which only needs room for itself. The space saved allows the business to function in a small area and make maximum use of its room.
Fast Material Handling
Faster materials handling allows orders to be filled more quickly and reduces the time items must be in storage. Quick filling of orders is great for customer relations, and shorter storage time allows a smaller warehouse area. In some cases, the business may even be able to move to a smaller location.
For jobs requiring the delivery of precise batches, the belt can be slowed until their removal and placement is convenient. In jobs where speed is the goal, a large conveyor system can move up to 10,000 tons per hour.
Conveyors are also an environmentally responsible process improvement, since they don’t burn fossil fuel. That allows the reduction of air emissions, making the workplace safer and sometimes entitling the business to subsidies or rebates.
Air pollution is not the only hazard eliminated by conveyors. Motorized devices such as forklifts make a great deal of noise, endangering the hearing of employees and making the job more unpleasant. Conveyors are not exactly quiet, but they make much less noise than gasoline engines.
The conveyor’s design is adaptable to almost any scale, allowing them to carry items in a wide range of sizes. Older models may have been prone to jams, but newer ones have belts running all the way to the edge so objects will not slip into the mechanism.
The Soft Touch
A conveyor belt system handles merchandise more gently than other forms of transport, resulting in practically no degradation. Unloading things from trucks or carts invariably tears packaging and jostles the contents, things that very rarely happen with belts. In situations where spillage is a problem, the belts can have weighing capacity for continuous monitoring during movement.
Belts can take some repetitive drudgery off human workers, decreasing the risk of muscle, bone and joint problems. This results in better employee performance, fewer sick days and less claims on insurance.
No matter which way it is considered, conveyors make sense for businesses now, and far into the future.
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For a quote regarding to your heavy duty industrial projects, call toll free at 1-888-317-8959 ext.26 today.