Some thriving businesses are small enough to fit on a tabletop, but as sales increase, the physical space needed to assemble products grows as well. Conveyor belts play a vital role in bringing all the functions of your manufacturing process together, carrying your bottles from one station to another as they are filled, sealed, labeled and packaged. Some conveyor belts are built to operate in wet or humid environments, some are meant to meet food handling standards, and – in at least one example – a distillery runs a conveyor belt through an oven to dry their wooden barrels. A good relationship with your packaging manufacturer can help you put together the right system for your business.
Deciding When to Add Conveyor Belts
Here are some questions to ask when deciding if adding conveyor belts will be profitable for your business:
• What are your production goals?
• Do you see production increasing over time?
• How much does it cost to transport containers with your current system?
• Will you need to rent or buy more space for conveyor belts to fit?
• Can conveyor belts help bridge awkwardly aligned spaces together (e.g., by maneuvering around corners, or moving containers from one level to another)?
• Can you meet the energy needs of the conveyor system?
While you need to take your own business needs into account, most companies eventually find that conveyor belts are necessary for a smooth-running and profitable production process.
At its most basic, conveyor belts carry your items from one point to another. Loading rotary turntables take a large collection of bottles and load them in single file onto the belt. Accumulating rotary turntables gather them together at the end. Beyond this, and with planning and consultation from a professional manufacturer, this system can be customized in endless combinations to fit your needs.
Check that your manufacturer also offers:
• Standard and custom belt lengths
• Options for curves in L, U or S shapes
• Options for frame and chain materials
• The right-sized width for your container
Make your decision based on quality workmanship and good materials. In addition to a strong support team from your conveyor belt manufacturer, you should also enlist your employees in spotting quality control issues when they first occur. Train them to know how to spot any issues with the belts or rollers, and make sure they learn the best practices for using your equipment.
Regular maintenance will fix other issues before they can disrupt production, such as adjusting the chain take-up device to keep pressure even, keeping contaminants and abrasive materials off the belt, lubricating parts, and not overloading the belt.
Cleanliness is important for any facility, and the standards are even higher for food, beverage or pharmaceutical packagers. Choose equipment with components that help facilitate a sanitary environment, which may include elevated chains and “cleanable belts” that are easier to rinse.
When used properly, conveyor belts can reduce the physical toll manufacturing takes on your staff. But you have to know and follow the guidelines from the Conveyor Equipment Manufacturers Association and OSHA, as well as teach them to all your employees who will be near the belts. Some of the guidelines include:
• Sound an audible alert before the belt begins to move.
• Never step, sit on, or ride the conveyor belts.
• Do not load conveyor belts when they are stopped.
• Never overload conveyor belts.
• Let only trained staff try to fix jams.
• Use the right personal protective gear.
• Keep hair, jewelry and loose clothing away from all moving parts.
Let Apex Help You
Apex offers all of our clients customized solutions to their filling needs. Call us at 219-575-7493 or visit our page here to discuss how our conveyor systems can meet your production needs.