Busy distribution center warehouse. Loading products onto truck.

Best Conveyor Solutions for Warehouse and Distribution

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In the age of online shopping and the continuous demand for fully stocked stores, the warehouse and distribution industry must stay updated with the latest solutions. Every facility is unique and therefore requires material handling products that provide results specific to what they demand.

When first deciding on what conveying equipment you will need in your facility, consider what your center will distribute. Will it distribute small and large cartons, totes, pallets, polybags, or a range of all these? Knowing the range of products your conveyor system will convey will be key in designing a system with the correct capabilities. Every warehouse or distribution center has specific requirements so the conveyor system will be tailored to the need.

Conveyors

The weight of the conveyed product must be considered when selecting the proper equipment.  If the product in your facility is heavy and bulky, consider selecting roller conveyors with 2.5 or 3.5 inches diameter rollers or a heavy-duty belt-over roller conveyor. This type of equipment can move products efficiently and hold up for many years when properly selected. Standard duty 1.9-inch diameter roller conveyors are ideal for smaller to average weight products traditionally handled by individuals and can run at higher speeds than heavier products.

Some applications require products to be handled specifically on belts rather than rollers. If accurate positions of cartons must be maintained while being conveyed, a belt conveyor is the best choice. Examples of applications where accurate position and tracking of the products are needed include label applicators, carton sizing, or cubing. Belted conveyors are also useful when exact spacing is important for diverting or sorting of products.   

Often within warehouse and distribution operations, cartons must be buffered or metered into applications such as picking, packing, merging, or sorting systems. This is done by using zero-pressure accumulation conveyors. These conveyors allow the conveyor to convey, store, and meter our products as the demand requires. These accumulation conveyors allow cartons to continually be loaded into a material handling system while they are indexed out as needed. Zero-pressure or minimum-pressure helps alleviate bottlenecks, allows merging, and creates gap inflow to occur.

In addition to electrically powered conveyor products, gravity-powered products also fit well in warehouses and distribution centers. These gravity flow conveyors are often installed at a decline and are a cost-effective way to get products moving. Conveyors can also be placed horizontally and provide a support table for manually pushed products along for picking, packing, or other manual operations.

Sortation

Sortation is critical in this industry with multiple product types needing to be sorted quickly and efficiently.

Sorters are used to distribute products to specific areas within a facility or to specific outbound lanes or shipping doors. These conveyor sorters use various ways to move cartons or packages from the sorter to a divert lane based on rates required and product weight and size. Popular sorters include belts with pivot or pop-up wheels, narrow belt sorters capable of sorting at angles, or high-speed sliding shoe sorters that offer high rates with positive divert capability.

These conveyor sortation systems utilize gapping conveyors to set predetermined gaps for the cartons based on size and divert rate requirements. Complete sortation control systems scan cartons and route to specific destinations.

Accessories

Often the differentiator in a system working and working well is the accessories provided. Some applications may require accessories that lift and rotate products, turns large pallets, or diverts and converges a wide range of items. The equipment you chose will be based on what size and weight your products are and what you are trying to accomplish.

Guide rails are often important in controlling the flow, especially in overhead applications, to save on valuable floor space. These guide rails, or guardrails, must be designed with consideration of carton types to make sure they do not interfere with the flow. The rails must be much more robust when handling rugged applications with a pallet handling system.

Summary

The warehouse and distribution industry is on the rise and will continue to grow as the world navigates the digital age. In this industry, you need quality products with a guiding hand to help guide you through creating effective and efficient systems. As an exclusive Hytrol distributor, we have a wide range of products that will fit your needs, along with teams that will lead you through creating a system to care afterward. 

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    Article Credit: This story was first published on Hytrol. March 25, 2021. Best Conveying Solutions: Warehouse and Distribution  Author Credit: Boyce Bonham