Material handling is a broad subject that involves the transfer of cargo on conveyors during manufacturing, warehousing, and distribution. Conveyors are widely used to move quantities of raw materials, work-in-process, and finished goods. They are often the most cost-effective means of safely transporting large volumes of product, and they lend themselves to automated operation. There are two material handling subcategories in belt conveyors: unit handling and bulk handling. Unit handling deals with discrete items or packages, while bulk handling refers to relatively dry materials in loose bulk form, often transporting massive volumes at high speeds.
We caught up with Todd Swinderman, CEO emeritus at Martin Engineering to get his take on the best way to build conveyors. He discusses conveyors made from fabric or steel cable and having elastomeric, wear-resistant, and friction covers that can be flat or formed into a troughed configuration.
Design News: What is the best design approach in creating a conveyor operation?
Todd Swinderman: Because they are so common, conveyors are often considered a commodity, but to design a system that is consistently safe and productive requires close attention to detail and specialized knowledge. Conveyor design programs with the right inputs can deliver accurate power requirements, but typically do not guide how to design a clean and efficient conveyor.
Read more: How to Build a Better Conveyor System