Powered roller conveyors are the best conveyor systems for transportation of heavy materials such as in construction or warehousing industry. They are also widely used for moving discrete packages like in the logistics. They are generally stronger and more durable than belt conveyors and are able to handle heavier loads or loads that might tear, abrade (or melt) a fabric belt.
Powered roller conveyors can be categorized by the type of object and load they are required to move. They can be divided in broadly three classes. For light to medium loads like in logistics or food packaging, shaft drive conveyors is the best option. Chain drive roller systems are more suited to moving bulky and heavy packages, such as palletized goods. Finally, individually powered rollers offer the most flexibility and strength for the largest loads.
Each roller in the line shaft drive conveyors is joined to a ‘drive shaft’ located in the middle of the conveyor by a fabric drive belt. It has got a feature that it forms an automatic accumulation conveyor which is suitable for light loads. The drive belts act as a simple ‘clutch’ so that when the product reaches the end of the conveyor and the rollers underneath it will begin to ‘slip the clutch’ and stop turning, allowing products to remain stationary without the underside being scourged by a turning roller.
In chain drive conveyors each roller is attached to a chain that runs down the length of the conveyor and connects to a drive motor. This ensures that each roller turns at the same speed, and is driven very firmly. It is a popular method for moving heavier loads that would overwhelm a lineshaft conveyor and cause it to ‘slip’
Unlike other conveyors, in powered roller conveyor, each roller has a separate motor build inside. Due to this property, the system is capable of carrying heavy and bulky loads easily. Power conveyors are the most powerful conveyor systems among all others and can be customized to electronically create and move the accumulation zones. Different sections of the conveyor can effectively run at different speeds, or stop altogether, independently of one another. A variation of this system is to intersperse powered and unpowered rollers to reduce cost.
With the labeled benefits of being powered, Accumulation facility can also be achieved simply by means of an electronic switch. This means that the conveyor can be made to stop at a point without stopping the rest of the machine when a package reaches the final destination. Hence packages can gradually “accumulate” at the end of the conveyor, awaiting human intervention or automatic transfer to another conveyor etc. The drive shaft powers each roller by means of rubberized bands.
Powered roller conveyors find applications in a wide range of industries that require products be moved from ‘a’ to ‘b’ within a building. Factories often have assembly lines where a product is gradually constructed; perhaps packaged, and then moved into a storage or dispatch area. Warehouses often have complex “pick-and-pack” lines. In some cases, bulk goods simply need to be stored, and then retrieved, end masse for forwarding.