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How Conveyor Designs Can Borrow from Flexible Assembly Lines

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Conveyor systems have been around since the dawn of the 20th century. But it’s their ability to keep pace and anticipate future needs that make them the foundation of modern manufacturing. That requires the refinement of accepted design innovations like modular conveyor designs through manufacturers like Spantech conveyors. The modular nature of the conveyor system enables both customization and standardization of sections. Another integral feature in modern modular designs that delivers many benefits is the use of plastic chain technology.

While modular conveyors have been a breakthrough design begun in the 1980s, their latest refinements from leaders like Spantech enable them to deliver both standardization and innovation. This evergreen approach has delivered much the same shot in the arm to manufacturing as flexible assembly lines.

Just as modular designs meet shifting manufacturing and customer needs, flexible assembly lines do the same. By looking at both, we can see how they intersect and benefit from each other in furthering modern manufacturing adaptability.

Flexible assembly lines and modular conveyors are both designed to meet shifting manufacturer and customer demands. Belt composition, modular components, transfer capabilities, guidance controls and motor designs have led or follows flexible assembly line innovation. The two are actually symbiotic because their integration is beneficial to both. Spantech conveyors are an ideal example of how a conveyor system can adjust to accommodate production line changes while minimizing downtime.

The retractable conveyor is one example of modular conveyor components that deliver broad flexibility into manufacturing. These conveyors allow one end to shorten or lengthen depending on needs. This can help to distribute products across another conveyor, change product orientation, or even improve quality control. Modular Spantech conveyors benefit and use retractable conveyor sections as one of many components that enable customization with the cost control of standardization.

The flexible assembly line approach addresses the needs of disparate manufacturing sectors, environments, and retooling needs. Material handling conveyor systems that work across various manufacturing sectors benefit from the mobility and sectional adaptation of modular conveyors. We can see this in the ability of modular conveyor more generally and the retractable conveyor specifically to accommodate orientation, guiding, and transfer needs. One end of the retractable conveyor can be programmed to shorten or lengthen to drop the product to another conveyor or process destination. Some common uses for retractable conveyor modules include:

• Evenly distribution of products across another conveyor
• Product orientation changes
• QC diversion or secondary product packaging/processing

While many industries use the retractable conveyor, it has become a mainstay of food and pharmaceutical. With speed, smooth operation, accuracy and adjustability as defining needs for these sectors, leading designs must be capable of meeting direction changes, drop-offs and other transitions.

Today’s material handling conveyor systems will continue to lead and follow the changing needs of the flexible assembly line as adaptability to changing market needs drive industry 4.0. To learn how modular conveyors are the foundation of that advancement, visit the Conovey Spantech Conveyors page.

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