Manufacturers across North America are seeing major space and workforce shortages with the US alone seeing one of the lowest vacancy rates on record of just 3.0 percent, according to logistics real estate leader Prologis. This has more manufacturers looking at the low-profile conveyor to maximize current production space and implement automation.
These specialized conveyors have a short profile from the top to the bottom of the frame. The same holds true for highly configurable spacing between the edge of the conveyor frame and the edge of the conveyor belt. This is the key to floor space savings and machine or process integrations that may be sector specific.
Space savings is clearly a driver of the use of these small frame conveyors, but not the most predominant. Manufacturing sector needs where small products and automation are prevalent drive a great deal of adoption. This can include assembly, and packaging, food processing, metal stamping, and medical & pharmaceutical sectors.
Indexing conveyor systems are also fulfilling needs of small frame conveyors for these and other manufacturing sectors. This is particularly true where start/stop actions are a necessary part of the production process. The conveyor stops long enough for specific task completion (assembly, stamping, labelling, filling, or packaging) and then continues to the next process. These conveyors are also first choices for conveyor systems where machine integration and automation are prevalent, along with specialized packaging requirements and systems.
Robotics, automation, and conveyor integration can solve many space, workforce, and efficiency challenges while presenting others. There are many automation and robotic processes that can meet precision and throughput needs. But space and configuration are two enduring challenges. Automated packaging lines can take up significant floor space because of the machines and process. As the Industry 5.0 era matures, human assisted robots require conveyors with a low profile for integration. These conveyors can deliver the flexibility to meet space, process, and conveyor integration needs.
Very short heights of 3 to 6 inches and varied ways to configure and mount drive assemblies are also critical to functionality where automation and machine integration are priorities.
Conveyor manufacturers like QC conveyors bring deep experience in these and other types of conveyors built for specific applications related to manufacturing sectors and automation.
Manufacturing sectors like pharmaceuticals will often need low profile conveyor options like:
- Customized widths, lengths and radius turns
- Stainless steel construction
- Different guard rail options
- Small product belt styles
These are considerations that nearly always affect medical and pharmaceutical products where small size, light weight, and fragility make them difficult to handle and move. This requires precision-built conveyors with layout flexibility in a small frame size. Production stages can also be numerous where transfers and product accumulation are necessary at vital stages.
Machine and technology integration such as bottle filling, packaging, and labeling are vital aspects that may require a low-profile belt conveyor. Belt conveyor types and configurations can vary depending on product needs. Today’s small frame conveyor manufacturers can design them with cleats or to meet the sanitation extremes of clean room use. The low-profile conveyor can also require curved sections and angled frames to meet production layout needs and floor space.
Balancing the needs of high throughput and space, along with the many other needs specific to sectors like pharmaceuticals and small product assembly can be difficult. That’s why it’s vital to have the right conveyor manufacturing and consulting partner from day one. The Conovey team always starts by understanding your company, people, and market to better collaborate on planning, design, and implementation from day one.
Our team has built this approach on years of experience in successful and varied installations where custom low profile and indexing conveyors are part of a holistic manufacturing process. To learn more about the possibilities of low profile, indexing, and other custom conveyors for space and sector needs, visit our website.