Overhead Conveyors: Warehouse Basics
An overhead conveyor gets it name from where it is normally found in a plant, factory or warehouse: up high, overhead. Overhead conveyors use the open space above machines and people in a warehouse, which quite often is unused space.
Enclosed Track Conveyor
The mechanism is quite simple. There is a chain consisting of bearings and links, which is pulled through a track. This overhead conveyor is called an enclosed track overhead conveyor because the chain is almost completely covered by the track. This is safer for operators to use. It is also less likely to become contaminated with dirt, dust, paint and other particles. Open style conveyors are also available but these can be less appealing in some applications.
Conveyor Definition of Terms
Each overhead conveyor consists of:
- A continuous circuit of chain running through track, plus a variety of vertical and horizontal curves.
- A drive unit that grabs the chain and pulls it through the track.
- A take-up unit that ensures the chain is always stretched tight, even as it wears over years of use.
- Electrical controls. This may be a simple on/off motor starter; a variable speed controller; or it may have an industrial grade programmable logic controller. It may even have a PC or host system.
The term “synchronous” is often used to describe a type of overhead conveyor system where all loads move at the same harmonized pace. That is because the chain that carries them is continuous.
A load is carried with some sort of fixture. It can use a simple or more complex carrier, that may have moving parts to lock in the load. This allow operators to swivel it, etc. These are designed to move up and down along the track without problems.
Overhead Conveyor Carries Non-Conveyable Loads
The overhead conveyor can carry loads that are often considered to be non-conveyable because of the load’s shape. The overhead conveyor is traditionally used in industrial painting systems, where product cannot be handled by humans. It can carry the loads through harsh environments like caustic washers, spray or paint application booths. Overhead conveyors can also be used in very hot drying and baking ovens.
Energy Efficient Conveyor
The other advantage of overhead conveyors is the ease of use. Most conveyors have only one motor and can still power 7000-800 feet of conveyor. It consumes less energy than a typical hair dryer. This makes it a more environmentally friendly option for your warehouse space. At the same, it time saves you money. For more detailed information check out this video on overhead conveyor basics: