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Posted by Stephanie on March 27, 2023

A conveyor is a type of material handling system that simplifies the process of transporting products. These items can include everything from bulky items to products with complex geometries. Conveyors are essential for most warehouses because of their ability to safely and efficiently handle sizable volumes of materials.

When you’re selecting a conveyor for your warehouse, there are several types that you can consider. However, they all work by moving objects from one destination to another with a frame that’s comprised of buckets, belts, rollers, or other types of moving parts.

While all types of conveyors have their benefits, the roller conveyor is among the most effective solutions that you can add to your facility. Roller conveyors are available in numerous designs and styles. The following guide goes into detail about roller conveyors and the advantages you can obtain from them.

Warehouse Material Handling Conveyors

The Importance of Roller Conveyors

To better understand what roller conveyors are, you should first know what material handling is. This process involves the protection, movement, control, and storage of products and materials in warehouses, distribution centers, or manufacturing facilities. Material handling can include many different manual and automatic systems that are meant to support logistics and facilitate the supply chain. Effectively using material handling in your facility can help with:

  • Production planning
  • Forecasting
  • Resource allocation
  • Inventory management
  • Flow management
  • Customer delivery
  • After-sales support

These systems are put into place to reduce inventory, lower handling costs, enhance customer service, and shorten delivery time. A roller conveyor is a highly popular conveyor belt that’s designed to allow objects to move along the surface with the use of rollers.

These rollers are equally spaced cylinders that revolve constantly while the conveyor is operational. Roller conveyor systems can transport items from one destination to another with small engines or gravity, which is an integral aspect of the material handling process. Once you’ve installed the right roller conveyor in your facility, you should notice efficiency improvements throughout the entire facility.

How Roller Conveyors Work

As mentioned previously, roller conveyors use rollers to move items from one location to the next. While there are numerous types of roller conveyors, they are all equipped with similar components, which include everything from rollers to bearings.

Overview of Roller Conveyor Mechanisms

When you use a roller conveyor mechanism, the materials that are being transported need to have a relatively rigid surface that’s supported by at least three rollers. These systems are most effective when paired with accumulation applications. It’s possible for the roller to reduce product inertia at higher speeds, which makes it useful when placed after high-speed sorting equipment.

Over the years, several advancements have been made to the construction of these systems to ensure that they remain relevant for the modern industrial setting. For instance, the drive roller conveyor is a somewhat new upgrade that allows each individual roller to be affixed to a motor in a manner that improves system control.

The inclusion of this technology helps to equalize the material velocity, which makes it possible for the conveyors to be put in reverse at low or high elevations. You can also use these specific roller conveyors for any application that requires a bi-direction focus. All you need to do is change the direction of the motor.

Roller Conveyor Parts

Roller conveyors are comprised of four distinct parts, which include:

  • Rollers
  • Frames
  • Bearings
  • Shafts

The rollers that are outfitted on conveyors are cylindrical parts that are positioned along the upper portion of a conveyor frame to accommodate the movement of various goods. These conveyors make the transportation of goods between at least two areas of a warehouse more efficient. Rollers are typically paired with AC motors, of which there are numerous types. For instance, AC induction motors allow for continuous operation in a single direction.

The roller frame can be made from either steel or aluminum. The exact material you choose depends on the frame’s capacity and the amount of loading that you intend to perform. Steel is invariably more durable than aluminum, which means that it has a higher weight capacity. Rollers can be covered in rubber or plastic to increase the amount of friction that occurs.

There are several different types of non-precision bearings that can be found in a roller conveyor. For instance, angular ball bearings are made to support rolling shafts. This is a lengthy structure that makes up the primary portion of the conveyor. Pillow block bearings are pedestals that support spinning shafts with the use of numerous accessories. This assembly consists of a mounting block that contains the bearing. The purpose of these ball bearings is to reduce friction and support axial and radial loads.

Roller conveyor shafts are made to transmit torque and rotation between separate conveyor screw sections. They also deliver radial support and are made from carbon steel or stainless steel.

Types of Roller Conveyors

There are many types of roller conveyors, the primary of which include:

  • Gravity roller conveyors
  • Powered roller conveyors
  • Belt-driven live roller conveyors
  • Chain-driven live roller conveyors
  • Motorized roller conveyors
  • Custom roller conveyors
roller conveyor

Gravity Roller Conveyors

A gravity roller conveyor is the most basic type of conveyor at your disposal. It uses free-rotating rollers that slide materials down the line via gravity. This type of system can transport lightweight and medium weight items that don’t need a motor. You can add accessories to these systems, which extend to slide rails, pop-up stops, curves, and hanging brackets. It’s possible for them to be made with plastic, steel, or aluminum.

Powered Roller Conveyors

Powered roller conveyors are a more advanced form of roller that’s powered by a motor. This power propels the items forward. An internal motor is used to power one out of nine rollers in the system. This type of roller conveyor is ideally suited to transporting lighter and smaller products.

Belt-driven Live Roller Conveyors

Belt-driven live roller conveyors use a motorized belt to provide power to every roller, which means that this conveyor controls how materials move as they’re being transported. When you use this conveyor, you can set specific control points where items can stop momentarily. These conveyors are also recommended when you perform a large amount of side loading.

The belt that’s included with a belt-driven roller conveyor can be either straight or in a V-shape, the latter of which allows for a curved conveyor. The rubber belt that’s positioned below the roller can’t come into contact with debris, excess heat, or moisture. If it does, the system can quickly degrade. These conveyors are commonly used to transport medium and heavy loads.

Chain-driven Live Roller Conveyors

Chain-driven roller conveyors are similar to the belt-driven alternative but will use chains to power the rollers. They’re typically used to convey heavy-duty items. You might also want to use this system if you’re facing adverse conditions and are unable to safely operate a standard belt-driven conveyor. These systems work well with extremely heavy loads as well as reversible operations. The amount of power available with a chain-driven conveyor is high.

Motorized Roller Conveyors

Motorized roller conveyors are relatively modern systems that pair smaller DC motors with the rollers. This type of motor is commonly built inside the roller and will be spread at different intervals throughout the conveyor system. Every motor acts as a type of accumulation zone.

Controller cards provide the operator with complete control over the system’s direction and motor speed. These cards often come with photo-eye inputs to assist with controlling zone accumulation. There are several benefits of using this type of conveyor system instead of an AC motor conveyor, the primary of which is that they are highly effective at handling accumulation because of their smaller size.

Custom Roller Conveyors

A custom roller conveyor can be practically anything you want it to be. By selecting a custom solution, you can design the entire system from scratch, which allows you to match the finished conveyor with the exact application you’d like to use it for. Since you have complete control over how the conveyor is customized, it’s possible to include numerous features and accessories in the final design.

Why Choose QMH?

At QMH, we aim to keep all of our clients satisfied by providing end-to-end solutions that fulfill all of their warehousing and logistic needs. You can significantly bolster the efficiency and productivity in your warehouse by installing the right roller conveyor system. These systems are capable of moving items from one area of your warehouse to another without delay.

The exact conveyor solution that works for you and your warehouse depends on the types of goods you’d like to transport. Belt-driven and chain-driven roller conveyors are best used for the transportation of heavier items. In comparison, gravity roller conveyors and powered roller conveyors can effectively move lightweight goods. Get in touch with us today if you need assistance in selecting conveyors to add to your warehouse.

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With over 32 years of experience in material handling, QMH is committed to providing end-to-end solutions for companies with distribution, logistic and warehousing needs. From permit approval management to full-service execution from the ground up, QMH delivers unique solutions providing distinct value in record time.