FAQs: Conveyor & Automation Systems

Conveyor Solutions by CSL

Welcome to our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page. This is your go-to resource for all queries related to conveyor and automation systems. We’ve compiled answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about choosing, installing, and maintaining these systems in your warehouse or distribution centre. Whether you’re considering investing in your first system, looking to upgrade an existing one, or simply curious about how these systems can improve your operations, you’ll find valuable information here. Remember, if you have a question that’s not addressed on this page, don’t hesitate to contact us directly.

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What types of conveyor and automation systems are available and which would be best suited for my specific warehouse/distribution centre operations?

Our solutions range from simple conveyor systems to move goods from ‘A to B’, to more complex solutions including a range of automation technology. Below is a brief overview, with links to find out more:

Belt Conveyors: These are versatile solutions designed for handling a wide array of products, from small packages and polybags to cartons and bulk materials.

Roller Conveyors: These systems utilise a series of rollers to transport goods, suitable for conveying items with flat or stable bottoms, such as cartons, crates, and pallets. These can be either gravity-driven or powered, offering further flexibility in terms of your operation’s specific needs.

Sortation Systems: These are sophisticated systems designed to sort items based on specific criteria, like destination, size, or weight. They are perfect for situations where efficient routing and distribution of goods are essential.

Automated Packing Systems: These systems streamline the packing process, improving productivity, reducing labour costs, and minimising errors.

Vertical Lifts and Spiral Conveyors: These solutions optimise vertical space within your facility, providing efficient movement of goods across different levels without occupying significant floor space.

Aside from these standard systems, we offer a range of bespoke conveyor and automation solutions. We can design and tailor systems to perfectly align with your unique operational requirements, workspace configuration, and specific objectives.

To identify the most suitable system for your warehouse or distribution centre, an on-site evaluation is often the best first step. This allows us to understand your processes, identify bottlenecks, and recommend the most efficient, cost-effective solutions for your business. It’s not a one-size-fits-all solution; it’s about finding the right fit for your specific needs to enhance productivity, efficiency, and overall operational performance.

What is the expected installation timeline for a new system?

The installation timeline for a new conveyor or automation system can vary significantly and is influenced by many factors.

Firstly, the complexity of the system plays a crucial role. A simple belt or roller conveyor system could be installed within a matter of weeks, whereas more complex systems such as automated sortation conveyors, vertical lifts, or spiral conveyors might take several months to install and commission.

If the new system is multi-level and requires the installation of mezzanine floors, this will increase the timeline. The installation of mezzanines is a significant construction project in itself, involving structural assessments, design, fabrication, and installation. This can add several weeks or months to the overall project timeline.

The installation process can broadly be divided into three key stages:

  1. Mechanical Installation: This involves physically setting up the conveyor and automation equipment in your warehouse or distribution centre. It includes tasks such as assembling the conveyor frames, installing the belts or rollers, and setting up any accompanying equipment like sorters or lifts.
  2. Electrical Installation: Once the mechanical setup is complete, the next step is to install and connect all the electrical components. This includes wiring up the motors that drive the conveyors, installing control panels, and connecting any sensors or other automation equipment.
  3. Software Installation and Testing: The final stage involves installing and configuring the software that controls the system. This could be a simple control system for a standalone conveyor, or a more complex warehouse management system for a fully automated solution. This stage also includes extensive testing to ensure everything is working as expected and to fine-tune the system for optimal performance.

Once these stages are completed, training for your staff will be provided to ensure a smooth transition to the new system.

Please note, these are broad estimates and the actual timeline for your project could be shorter or longer, depending on various factors including the size and complexity of the system, the specific requirements of your operation, and any unexpected challenges that arise during the installation process. Therefore, it’s important to have a detailed discussion with your system provider to understand the projected timeline for your specific project.

What factors should be considered when choosing a conveyor and automation system?

Choosing the right conveyor and automation system for your warehouse or distribution centre involves considering several factors. First, you need to understand your operational needs, such as the types of goods you handle, their size and weight, and the volume of goods you need to process per day or per hour.

Other key considerations include the available space and layout of your facility, the current and future scalability needs, as well as your budget. Furthermore, you should take into account the ergonomics and safety aspects, especially if your employees will be working directly with the equipment.

It’s also important to consider the system’s integration with your existing warehouse management systems (WMS) or enterprise resource planning (ERP) software for smooth data exchange and overall operation.

How much does a new conveyor and automation system typically cost?

The cost of a new conveyor and automation system can vary widely depending on several factors. These include the complexity and size of the system, the types of conveyors and automation equipment used, and any additional features or customisations required.

For example, a simple belt or roller conveyor system might cost from a few thousand pounds for a basic setup, while a more complex automated sortation system or a system with vertical lifts or spiral conveyors could run into several hundred thousand pounds or more.

Please note, these are rough estimates, and the actual cost could be lower or higher based on your specific requirements. It’s always advisable to get a detailed quote from your system provider to understand the total cost of ownership, which should also account for installation, maintenance, and energy costs.

How can a new conveyor and automation system enhance productivity and efficiency?

A new conveyor and automation system can greatly enhance productivity and efficiency in several ways. Firstly, it streamlines the movement of goods within your warehouse or distribution centre, reducing manual handling and the associated time and effort. This can significantly increase your throughput, enabling you to process more orders in less time. The CSL Process includes 3D modelling and throughput simulation, showing in real-time the speed at which the proposed system will move and process goods.

Automated systems can also improve accuracy and reduce errors, for instance, in order picking or sorting processes, which in turn reduces the time and cost of dealing with returns or corrections. Furthermore, automation can help to optimise space utilisation, for instance by enabling multi-level operations or more efficient layouts, which can potentially save on property costs or delay the need for facility expansion.

Additionally, the data collected by an automated system can provide valuable insights for further optimising your operations and identifying potential bottlenecks or inefficiencies.

Take a look here at what our customer TIMCO had to say about how their conveyor system improved their productivity and efficiency.

What kind of maintenance does a conveyor and automation system require?

Regular maintenance is crucial to ensure the smooth operation and longevity of your conveyor and automation system. The exact maintenance requirements can vary depending on the type of system and the specific equipment used.

Typical tasks might include regular inspections and cleaning, lubrication of moving parts, checking and tightening of bolts and fasteners, and replacement of worn-out parts. More complex systems may require regular software updates or calibrations.

It’s generally recommended to have a comprehensive planned preventative maintenance (PPM) plan in place, which schedules these tasks at regular intervals to prevent unexpected failures and downtime. CSL’s Conveyor Care service contracts offer peace of mind, keeping your investment running and reacting swiftly in the event of breakdowns.

Can I integrate a new conveyor and automation system with my existing warehouse management system (WMS) or other software?

Yes, integrating your new conveyor and automation system with your existing warehouse management system (WMS) or other software is typically possible and can greatly enhance the overall efficiency and effectiveness of your operations.

This integration allows for real-time data exchange

We Design, Install and Maintain Conveyor Systems

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Need advice on the best solution for your project?

Call us to discuss your requirements, we’re always on hand to help.
+44 (0)1283 55 22 55