With controlling whole life costs right at the top of everyone’s agenda, Richard Cole, materials handling industry sector manager at Habasit Rossi, looks at how the latest developments in conveying solutions technology can deliver tangible improvements.
In order to maximise plant output, the industry requires solutions that are durable, reliable and built to withstand the demands of today’s demanding manufacturing environments, where systems are often required to run for 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.
The performance of conveying systems makes a real difference to overall efficiency of materials handling plants and as such, the industry as a whole stands to benefit from some measureable improvements by re-assessing its current systems.
However, to fully maximise the potential output of a plant, engineers must ensure that they select the right conveyor belt for the right application. They must look at whole life costs, energy efficiency and maintenance, as well as whether a belt is really suited to the application that it is intended for.
Actual belt cost is always going to be an issue for the industry – now more so than ever. However, increasingly the value of reducing whole life costs through reduced maintenance and energy consumption is being recognised. High performance, well specified belts will result in far more efficient production lines and reduce the amount of unplanned production stoppages, minimising losses in productivity and processing wastage.
Using their expert industry specific know-how, application engineers, technicians and joining specialists are now at customer’s disposal to supply professional consultation and excellent support when it comes to providing outstanding belting solutions of the highest quality, tailored to their specific needs.
Choosing the Right technology
Choosing the right technology can ensure that a plant is working at its maximum capabilities. Whether fabric, plastic modular or power transmission, belts must be able to offer reliability, an increase in system speed, low noise operation, a short turn around time and system flexibility.
There is a vast selection of high performance belting solutions available to the materials handling industry. For example, PVC coated fabric belts are available in a wide range of surface types, structures and belt strengths and offer excellent cost-value ratio suitable for ascending, descending and horizontal conveying and merging applications.
Leading providers also offer nonwoven belts, which are suitable for rough and rugged conditions, as well as power transmission belts, which are well proven in live power drive applications and can be tailor made to suit specific needs.
These high efficiency flat and tangential belts are ideal for high power transmission and provide energy savings, with leading solutions providing savings of 6% – 8% in certain situations because of their flexible bending properties.
Right on Time
Designed for use in general conveying and linear movement applications where exact product placement and precise component positioning is required, timing belts can improve efficiency in a broad range of applications, such as automotive assembly, furniture manufacture, component assembly and pick and place systems.
Leading providers offer timing belts that have been designed for applications where traditional belt options are unable to provide performance synchronisation. Precisely formed teeth with accurate tooth tolerance and robust steel and aramide cords, ensure consistent and exact positioning of the product being conveyed.
The latest generation of plastic modular belts, which are used in a wide range of belting applications in materials handling and general conveying, have been manufactured with a variety of surface profiles to grip products such as boxes, travel up steep inclines and maintain product orientation.
Leading providers offer plastic modular belts which reduce product damage, downtime and overall maintenance, which in turn provides increased belt life and increased throughput.
The all plastic design of these belts promotes long life and superior performance in many applications. Multiple widths are achieved by using a ‘bricklayed’ pattern, which also promotes high lateral and diagonal belt strength and stiffness.
A range of friction plastic modular belts, which can be used in distribution centres, airports, general conveyor systems, packaging end-lines and checkouts, have also been developed with a variety of surface profiles to grip products such as boxes travelling up steep inclines and maintain product orientation.
Looking to the Future
Like virtually all sectors, the UK materials handling industry is facing a real challenge in this economic climate to ensure they stay cost effective and achieve high levels of sustained productivity. Importantly, leading belt manufacturers have developed truly innovative products that will ensure production facilities continue to run at optimum efficiency to control costs, minimise downtime and maximise productivity during the difficult times ahead.