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Choosing The Right Conveyor System
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Choosing the right conveyor system can be a massive task for the professionals of warehouse or distribution center. In the process of attempting to identify, develop and purchase the "ideal" material handling system, managers and planners often face a series of dilemmas. Both conventional wisdom and the traditional mindset which have erroneously devalued the use of conveyors over time, regarding them as little more than non-value added equipment that does nothing more than moving the products through a warehouse or distribution center. This is why conveyors (the material handling system which used to move components) are typically the last element considered in the process planning cycle.
As discussed before the conveyors are among the last equipment purchased because the purchase decisions are often based on the initial acquisition cost and not on the basis of total acquisition cost or the overall value. This type of common view on "commoditizing" conveyors is full of risk and exposure during the operation. The wrong conveyor type or a suitable type of conveyor applied incorrectly for the wrong reasons can quickly undermine the operating efficiency and long-term strategy of warehouse or distribution centers which often leads in dissolving profitability or stripping a company of its competitive advantages.
Depending on the operation, the product to be handled and the application requirements and systems can vary from very simplistic to extremely complex products to move. Even though there are various type of equipments are available to satisfy the need of the application, the best mindset when considering a conveyor system is to be sure that the system is designed with specific characteristics in mind like Ease of adaptability to changing needs, Operational safety, Reliable and requires only minimal maintenance, Energy efficient and designed around "green" principles and most important of all is that it is cost effective in operation.
So, what is a more appropriate way in approaching a conveyor system and what should you have to look for in an ideal system? The common requirements for conveyor systems in all the warehouse and distribution environments are to transport the product between successive steps in the fulfillment process and also to provide accumulation buffers throughout the process to allow the workflow balancing when considering the different processing rates which are associated with each step in the process. Accumulation buffers can also enable ongoing production during the localized backups or downtime elsewhere downstream in the process.
Modularity is the feature which explains about the regardless of the type of conveyor required and look for modularity. Select the type of conveyors that feature pre-engineered sections, modules, and components that can be freely combined to provide an initial customized layout, but if necessary it can also be easily reconfigured. Flexibility explains about the search of conveyors that can easily accommodate several product sizes and specifically for greater widths. Also look for conveyors that can satisfy today's demands and also accommodate future throughput of growth requirements. Safety explains the certain types of conveyors include built-in safety features, while others may require additional guarding to protect employees who directly interface with the equipment.
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