At Dorner, we put a lot of focus into making sure our conveyors will stay up and running at our customer’s facilities. This is achieved through design, service and programs such as our Parts Auditing Program.
But, how can conveyors help reduce downtime when other equipment in a facility isn’t functioning? A flexible conveyor system can allow manufacturers to quickly adapt to unplanned events and keep their products moving.
In this recent application, the system is moving polymer blocks to a grinder. The system has three product inputs leading into the conveyor system and three product outputs to grinders.
What makes this system unique, is the ability for any of the product inputs to lead to any one of the grinders. This means that in the event that one of the grinders or other downstream equipment is not functioning or is already full, the product can be re-routed to a currently operational grinder.
This was achieved with three 3200 Series vertical switch conveyors. There is one of vertical switch conveyor towards the infeed end of each line. These have a 3-position pneumatic cylinder that allows the discharge of the conveyor to alternate between the different output lines.
In the above photo you can see one of the vertical switch conveyors in the downward position. The switch conveyor moves product onto an intermediate conveyor that has a roller chute at the discharge end.
To keep this line running at maximum efficiency, the grinders need to be constantly fed with product, so product needs to accumulate. The final discharge conveyors into the grinders are 3200 Series Curve Conveyors with low backpressure chain, allowing product to stop and accumulate behind the piece that is currently being processed.
To avoid too much product accumulating on the curve, a photo-eye at the discharge end of the curve senses when product is there and a short 3200 Series Belt Conveyor in front of the curve will stop. The high friction belting on this conveyor will ensure product will not slip or be pushed off, and allow additional product to accumulate on the roller conveyor.
There is also a sensor at the top end of the roller conveyor to monitor the amount accumulating. When the roller conveyor is full, the vertical switch conveyor will activate and begin moving product to a different grinder, allowing the manufacturer to avoid downtime.