By definition, a conveyor is a machine used to move material from one point to another. It comes in a wide range of sizes and styles, making it a versatile piece of equipment for many different applications. You can find conveyors in almost any industrial facility worldwide, from airports to factories to warehouses.
Selecting the right conveyor for your business is a crucial step in streamlining your production process and ensuring efficient material handling. There are many benefits to having a conveyor system in place, especially one that is automated, compared to manual material handling.
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a conveyor is its capacity, or how much it can handle in terms of weight and volume. This will vary depending on the type of product you are moving, as well as the speed and distance the product needs to travel.
Here is what you need to know about conveyor capacity to ensure you select the right one for your business needs.
Conveyor capacity, a definition
In simple terms, conveying capacity is the maximum amount of product the conveyor can move in a given amount of time. This is typically measured in weight per hour, but you may sometimes see it given in terms of volume per hour.
Even though it sounds like a straightforward concept, calculating maximum capacity can be a bit tricky because there are so many factors to consider. They include:
- The type of product being conveyed – Even if all other things are equal, the capacity of a conveyor will vary depending on the kind of material conveyed. Many materials and product characteristics can affect how much product a conveyor can move, such as size, shape, bulk density or weight per cubic foot, tendency to pack or bridge, and more.
- The speed of the conveyor – Most people think that conveyor capacity is only dependent on its speed. While this is not accurate, speed is still an important factor. The faster the conveyor, the more product it can move in a given amount of time.
- The space of the conveyor – ‘Space’ can mean different things in differently shaped conveyors. For example, if you are using a roller conveyor, the space will be the width of the rollers. If you are using a belt conveyor system, the space will be the width of the belt. For chain conveyors or tube conveyors, the space will be the circumference of their tubes. Logic dictates that the more space a conveyor has, the more product it can carry.
- The angle of inclination – Conveyor systems don’t only have to be horizontal. Often, they can’t be horizontal. The angle of the conveyor will affect its capacity. A horizontal conveyor can typically move more product than a conveyor at an incline. However, a lot of other factors will also play a role here.
- The distance the product needs to travel – All other things being equal, the longer the distance the product needs to travel, the lower the conveyor capacity will be simply because the product will spend more time on the conveyor.
Depending on the type of conveyor you use, there may be more or fewer factors to consider. But, these are the most common ones.
The importance of conveyor capacity
Now that we’ve established what conveyor capacity is and some factors that affect it, you might wonder why it’s so important. If your product is moving from point A to point B, does it really matter how long it takes as long as it gets there eventually?
Actually, yes, it does matter. The conveyor capacity can have a big impact on your business in a number of ways, such as:
- Efficiency – If your conveyor system can’t keep up with the pace of your production process, it will slow everything down and decrease your overall efficiency. On the other hand, if your conveyor system has more capacity than you need, you are wasting valuable resources, including money, energy, and space.
- Cost – Conveyor systems are not cheap. So, it’s important to ensure you are getting the most bang for your buck by choosing a conveyor with the capacity that meets your needs. If you choose one that is too small, you will need to replace or upgrade it sooner than you would have if you had chosen one with a more optimal capacity.
- Product quality – If your product is spending too much time on the conveyor (or is moving too fast), it can be damaged or degrade in quality. This can lead to costly repairs or replacements down the road.
Before you make the final decision regarding a new conveyor system, it’s imperative to take conveyor capacity into account. This will help you choose a system that is not only efficient and cost-effective but also one that won’t jeopardize the quality of your product.
Is bigger always better?
During the decision-making process, it can be all too easy to sway in the direction of choosing the conveyor with the highest capacity. After all, more is almost always better, right?
Not necessarily. While it’s important to choose a conveyor system with enough capacity to meet your needs, you also need to make sure that it’s the right size for your space and budget. A conveyor system that is too big can be just as problematic as one that is too small.
At the same time, you need to factor in where your business will be in the future. If you’re expecting a lot of growth, it might be worth investing in a conveyor system with more capacity than you need right now. However, this can be incredibly tricky to predict.
To avoid making a mistake, be sure to consult with an expert who can help you calculate the optimal conveyor capacity for your specific needs. With their help, you can choose a system that will keep your business running smoothly and efficiently for years to come.
If you’re concerned whether the conveyor you invest in now will have enough capacity one or two (or more) years down the line, you might want to consider a modular conveyor.
A modular conveyor design is a system made up of individual modules that can be added on as needed. This means that you can start with a small system and then add more modules later as your needs change and grow.
Modular conveyors are also much easier to install than traditional conveyors, which can save you time and money in the long run.
Tube conveyor capacity
One of the best conveyor types for a food processing business is the tube conveyor, specifically the tubular cable and disc system.
This type of conveyor is often used in the breakfast cereal, snack food, pet food, and nut processing industries due to its ability to be incredibly gentle on the product while still providing high capacity. Other benefits of a tubular drag cable and disc conveyor include:
- Low energy consumption
- Sanitary design
- No environment contamination
- No product contamination
- Ease of installation and more
The tubular cable and disc system is made up of two parts: a circular tube that the product travels through and a series of discs that move inside the tube. The discs help to move the product along, but they are also specially designed to minimize damage and breakage.
Cablevey tube conveyors can handle capacities of up to 80,000 pounds (36,287 kg) per hour.
When choosing a tube conveyor, it’s important to select one made from food-grade materials that can be easily cleaned and sanitized. This will help to ensure the safety of your product and keep your business in compliance with all food safety regulations. All Cablevey conveyors meet these criteria.
As a broad concept, the capacity of a conveying system is easy to understand: it’s simply the maximum amount of product that a conveyor can transport in a given time. However, many factors can affect conveyor capacity, from the type of product being transported to the specific properties of the conveyor itself.
When choosing a new conveyor system, it’s important to keep conveyor capacity in mind. However, you also need to consider the size of your operation, your budget, and your future needs. With the help of an expert, you can find the perfect conveyor system for your business.
If you need help calculating the optimal conveyor capacity for your needs or selecting the right conveyor system for your operation, contact Cablevey Conveyors today. Our team of experts will be happy to assist you in finding the perfect solution for your business.