Unit Handling Conveyors Information
Unit handling conveyors are designed to handle packages, pallets, or any other unit format. They are used to transport large, discrete items that can be handled independently. There are many types of unit handling conveyors. Examples include air transfer tables, ball transfer tables, belt conveyors, bucket conveyors, cart-on-track conveyors, chain conveyors, chute conveyors, drag conveyors, monorails, and two-line conveyors.
Air transfer tables and ball transfer tables are unit handling conveyors used in applications which require the manual rotation or positioning of products. For example, an air transfer table or ball transfer table may be used at a workstation where an operator needs to quickly process packages for shipment. Air transfer tables and ball transfer tables can also be used when more than two unit handling conveyor lines converge and packages must be transferred from one line to another.
Belt conveyors and bucket conveyors are common types of unit handling conveyors. Belt conveyors include flat belt, magnetic belt, and trough belt conveyors. They use an endless, fabric-covered belt that traverses between two or more pulleys. The belt is supported by idler rolls at intermediate points. Bucket conveyors consist of a bucket elevator and a belt or chain with a series of attached buckets. The buckets are filled and lifted vertically to a head pulley or sprocket, and dumped. Bucket unit handling conveyers are then returned to a tail pulley or sprocket at the bottom.
Cart-on-track conveyors are unit handling conveyors that are used to pull a cart along a track. Basic components include a rotating tube, track, and cart. The rotating tube, which is similar to a screw, transports the cart. The drive wheel is connected to the cart, which rests on the tube. Varying the angle of contact between the drive wheel and the tube can control the speed. Because these unit handing conveyors are independently-controlled, multiple carts can be located on the tube. These carts can accumulate on the tube and remain stationary when drive wheel is parallel.
Chain conveyors are unit handling conveyors that can be divided into five sub-categories: push-bar conveyors, twin chains conveyors, sliding chain conveyors, heavy-duty plates for assembly conveyors, and apron or slat conveyors. Each type of chain unit handling conveyor is designed to support the product being conveyed, and carry the actuating elements between the two chains.
Chute conveyors and drag conveyors are the least expensive types of unit handling conveyors. Typically, chute conveyors are used to link two powered conveyors together, and for accumulation in shipping areas. Spiral chutes are used to convey items from floor to floor without using much space. The main limitation of chute unit handling conveyors is the lack of control over the items being conveyed. Drag conveyors or drag chain conveyors pull or drag material through a tube or U-shaped trough. Sub-categories for drag unit handling conveyors include tubular, round bottom, flat bottom, and V-groove drag conveyors.
Unit handling conveyors include monorails, roller conveyors, tabletop conveyors, and tow line conveyors. Monorails are self-powered vehicles that ride on an overhead track. Roller conveyors can be powered or non-powered. Non-powered roller conveyors work like gravity conveyors. Powered roller conveyors are either belt-driven or chain-driven. Table top conveyors are ideal for conveying bulk food, parts, or packages for assembly or product packaging lines. Other unit handling conveyors include tow line conveyors, overhead trolley conveyors, vertical continuous unit handling conveyors, and vibrating unit handling conveyors.