What Is Involved in Conveyor Installation?

Paul Scott

Most industrial, manufacturing or warehousing installations that utilize conveyors as material transport systems periodically have to embark on new conveyor installation projects that might, depending on the particular industry, be fairly straightforward or extremely complex. In either case, a conveyor installation requires careful planning based on a clearly defined set of parameters. These include the predicted loads that the conveyor will carry, the linear route and the topography of that route. These facts will allow the project designers to choose the correct type of conveyor system with a relevant rating. They also are a critical part of project loss control because they allow engineering crews to adequately prepare for the job, reducing installation downtime in the process.

A conveyor automatically moves goods and supplies around a facility.
A conveyor automatically moves goods and supplies around a facility.

Conveyors are, in many heavy industrial, manufacturing and warehousing environments, the workhorses of the installation. They might be very short and transport delicate items that weigh very little, or they might be extremely long and moving extremely heavy raw materials. In most cases, though, one inescapable fact characterizes conveyor based material transport systems, that being new installations. Whether the reason is plant expansion or the inclusion of new product lines, a conveyor installation is generally necessary at some point in most industries. This project might be relatively small and simple, requiring little or no disturbance to the existing operation, or it might be extensive and complex, requiring a total plant shut-down with the commensurate loss of production.

A conveyor belt must be wide enough to hold the products and to fit into the machine that processes the products.
A conveyor belt must be wide enough to hold the products and to fit into the machine that processes the products.

In both cases, the success of any conveyor installation depends on exact planning based on a clear knowledge of all the project specifics and of available technologies and products. Some of the first variables that require defining are the predicted load specifics for the new conveyor. These include load types, weights and dimensions and whether special handling requirements will be called for and will dictate which type of conveyor is used. The exact linear route that the conveyor will follow and its topography also play an important role in the choice of conveyor type, because some variants are not suitable for installations that include sharp turns or steep inclines, for instance. The routing will also affect the conveyor drive capacity and other specialist requirements, such as rigging and peripheral work, including the movement of existing equipment and the installation of supporting structures.

After these project details have been established and a conveyor type has been chosen, the equipment can be ordered, and engineering teams can assess the job and begin to make detailed project plans. This is a crucial part of new conveyor installation projects that require shut-downs, because any omissions or miscalculations can considerably add to predicted production losses. Generally, any supporting structures or changes to existing plant equipment will be made prior to the installation so that all changes can be assessed and approved before the actual conveyor installation commences. When all these changes are signed off and the new equipment is on the site and has been thoroughly checked for correct specification, the installation can begin. At the end of the installation the new conveyor typically is commissioned and put into production.

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