The lack of ample floor space is a reoccurring problem for manufacturers. Cramped factory floors can create many issues for operation teams from safety concerns to costly product change overs, capacity restraints and restricted access to equipment.
Fortunately, elevating conveyor solutions can easily solve space constriction issues without the need to increase manufacturing footprint. By utilising the height of production facilities, manufacturers can reclaim valuable floor space. This in turn enables operation teams to add more production capacity and increase accessibility for operators. Refined design and standardised interfaces to the up- and downstream equipment make elevating solutions not only efficient but also accommodating to a wide range of products.
“When choosing the right elevating solution it’s important to consider factors such as throughput, the processes involved and the features of the products as they appear in the line. You want to make sure that you design a continuous flow, without stops or capacity losses. Well-engineered overhead conveyor systems can increase floor space by up to 40 per cent and can improve production efficiency by up to 98 per cent.” – says Rob Winterbottom, Technical Sales Engineer at FlexCAM.
The most common elevating solutions include incline elevators, spiral and alpine elevators as well as wedge conveyors.
The incline elevator conveyor is designed for single or multiple lane elevation. It provides gentle handling of sensitive products. This conveyor can be complemented with friction top chain to achieve steeper inclines and can be easily adjusted to accommodate different product sizes.
The spiral or alpine elevator is a compact and high throughput solution for up or down elevation. The purpose of these elevators is to transport products vertically to bridge a difference of height or to function as a buffer zone between processes. Most importantly, it ensures continuous product flow and seamlessly integrates to an existing production line. The application range is wide, from the handling of individual items such as loose bottles and bags, parcels or totes to packed items such as shrink-wrapped bottle packs or cartons to loose food items such as biscuits or cakes.
A wedge or gripper conveyor uses two conveyor tracks facing each other fitted with cleated chains that grip the product to provide fast and gentle transport both horizontally and vertically. Wedge conveyors can also be used to turn bottles upside down for air rinsing or for product inspection and labelling, as the item is fully accessible from the underside with this conveyor style. They can also be supplied with width adjusters for simple product size changeovers.
“Elevating solutions suit all production environments and can be designed in either aluminium or stainless steel to meet specific manufacturing requirements. The modular aspect of our conveyor systems allows for easy and quick assembly, and reasonably simple future line modifications and maintenance“ says Winterbottom.