(This blog was originally posted on Packaging Digest)
The pandemic lifestyle has dramatically changed how people work, socialize, and purchase products. For many, the brick-and-mortar experience has given way to online shopping as a way to keeping a safe distance and increasing personal safety. As a result, e-commerce has seen a tremendous surge in popularity that shows no sign of slowing down.
Within these newer packaging lines, conveyors can do so much more than just delivering product from one point to another. They are playing vital roles in e-commerce applications involving:
- Merging, diverting, rotating, and sorting products;
- Accumulation systems;
- Depositing and rejects;
- Inspection, testing, and sortation;
- Product handling of all shapes and sizes.
Conveyors today are more robust than ever before, moving loads up to 1,000 pounds over long distances within facilities, while operating 24/7 – which are typical performance specifications required in e-commerce applications and regional distribution centers.
Manufacturers and retailers looking to transition their business to more of an e-commerce environment to capture their share of this growing market should take a closer look at their conveyor systems to ensure (1) they are moving products as quickly and efficiently as possible; (2) they can effectively handle your capacity; and (3) they are able to successfully integrate with other components on the line.
E-commerce has become all about speed; consumers are expecting to receive their purchases within a few days, if not sooner. A well-designed conveyor system that’s working in conjunction with other equipment within your packaging supply chain will complement, and not hinder, your e-commerce business.
One of the bigger challenges created from the growing e-commerce industry is effectively handling capacity. Many companies are smartly looking ahead and evaluating how to position themselves to manage future growth. For example, investing in automation-focused capital improvements — such as adding new pick-and-place packaging lines with the right conveyor system — is a smart way to accommodate both immediate and future growth projections.
(Graphic by Packaging Digest)
A key aspect for any conveyor system operating in an e-commerce environment is being able to successfully integrate with other components on the line. Many e-commerce packaging applications also include robotics in the form of pick-and-place systems. The ability for conveyors to integrate and communicate with robotics is a must-have requirement for project engineers designing these new lines.
While they’re generally not the first thing people consider when evaluating their e-commerce packaging needs, conveyors can make a difference in the overall success of your line.