Roller Conveyor Systems and Their Versatile Applications

Dec 13, 2023

A crucial element of a warehouse or distribution centre is the conveyor system. Whether roller or belt, conveyor systems are an essential part of facilities as they aid in the transportation of items. In this blog, we take a look at roller conveyor systems and how they can be applied to many different industries. As one of the more common types of conveyors, it is worth understanding how roller conveyors work and how they could benefit your business. 

  • What are Roller Conveyor Systems?
  • Main Applications of Roller Conveyors
  • Benefits of Roller Conveyor Systems 
  • Things to Consider When Choosing a Conveyor System 
  • Elevate Your Warehouse Today With Conveyor Systems

What are Roller Conveyor Systems?

Roller conveyor systems are used in your everyday life, not just in industry. You may have seen a roller conveyor in places such as the airport, in retail stores, or in back-of-house operations. Roller conveyors are a series of metal cylinders within a metal framework. These cylinders can be moved by gravity or by a source of power. 

Generally, roller conveyor systems are used to transport items such as cardboard boxes, pallets, or plastic totes. This shows they have the ability to carry heavier items allowing for more efficiency and greater productivity.

How Roller Conveyor Systems Work

Roller conveyor systems are mainly made of metal. Both the cylinders and framework are made of either stainless steel or mild steel. On occasion, the cylinders can also be made of certain plastics. These cylinders are placed on top of a metal framework providing the structure of the system.

Depending on the application, two different roller conveyor systems could be used. A gravity roller conveyor system uses gravity through an incline to move objects from one area to another, whereas powered roller conveyor systems use motors to drive the rollers moving the items. 

Types of Roller Conveyors

There are various types of roller conveyors that all have different applications. We have compiled a list of roller conveyor systems that are more commonly used. 

  • Gravity Roller Conveyor – mainly used for warehouses and assembly areas, this conveyor does not require any power as it relies on an incline or a person to manually push items
  • Powered Roller Conveyor – powered by electric motors, this type of conveyor is great for packaging lines and heavy-duty transportation
  • Accumulation Conveyor – this conveyor allows for products to gather in a certain area without disrupting the production line
  • Spiral Roller Conveyor – this is a vertical conveyor that enables the transportation of products from different levels 
  • Pallet Roller Conveyor – primarily used for transporting pallets, this conveyor can have integrated brake
  • Chain-Driven Roller Conveyor – by using chains to drive the rollers, heavy items can be transported easily
  • Line Shaft Roller Conveyor – by using spools and a drive belt, this conveyor can transport more lightweight items for packaging and sorting 
  • Flexible Roller Conveyor – these rollers are portable and can be curved and expanded to fit the client’s needs

Main Applications of Roller Conveyors

Roller conveyor systems are used in a number of different industries. As there is a large variety of roller conveyors, this means their functions are almost endless. From warehouses to retail, roller conveyor systems are applicable to almost all industries. 

Warehouses and Distribution Centres

There are many different ways roller conveyor systems can be utilised in a warehouse and distribution centre. For example, different areas of a facility can be connected together using roller conveyor systems. Items can be transported from a storage area to packing areas reducing the need for employees to be going from one end of a facility to another. 

Additionally, warehouses and distribution centres often have large pallets that need loading and unloading. Therefore, a pallet roller conveyor is crucial in making this process easier and more efficient. Having these conveyor systems allows for a more streamlined process and can also help with tracking. 

Manufacturing 

Roller conveyor systems are a vital element of the manufacturing industry as assembly lines and packaging stations are one of the main components of the manufacturing process. Spiral roller conveyors are a great addition to manufacturing facilities as you can utilise the full space of the building. By having areas of production elevated, more space can be used in the facility and multi-floor production can also be more accessible. 

Retail 

In retail stores, checkouts may utilise roller conveyors to help accelerate the transaction process. By helping customers move their items along through the checkout counter, the process is made more efficient whilst still prioritising customer service. Roller conveyor systems can also be used in the back of retail stores for unloading stock, improving operational efficiency and decreasing stress for employees. 

Airports

There are many examples of roller conveyor systems in an airport. The process of handling luggage is streamlined using roller conveyor systems. From checking in luggage at the beginning of your trip to grabbing your bags at baggage claim at the end of your journey, conveyor systems are used in all aspects of luggage handling. 

Benefits of Roller Conveyor Systems

As mentioned, there are many versatile applications of roller conveyor systems. This is due to the many benefits roller conveyors can provide to a business, including:

  • A highly versatile system – the circuit of the roller conveyors can be tailored to the needs of the client, meaning they can be applied to many different industries 
  • Quick but safe transportation – the speed of transportation is fast and less damaging when compared to other methods
  • A reliable and well-known method – using conveyor systems has been a long-established method of transportation showing its reliability
  • Can be environmentally friendly – using gravity roller conveyors means no power is needed meaning it is cost effect and environmentally friendly 
  • Heavy loads can be transported safely – the components of roller conveyors are tough and durable meaning heavy loads can be transported safely across long distances 
  • More efficient – processes can be faster and more productive with a conveyor system as there can be a constant flow of products if needed  
The Works Roller bend

Roller Conveyors vs Conveyor Belts

The key difference between roller conveyor systems and conveyor belts is the components of the system. Roller conveyor systems utilise metal cylinders, whereas conveyor belts are used in a belt system. This means the products and materials each conveyor system can transport differ.

Roller conveyor systems can transport heavier items as its metal cylinders are more durable, meaning it can withstand heavier loads. Conveyor belts, however, are more suitable for smaller items but can be used in areas where there are inclines.

Ensuring you understand the difference between these two conveyor systems allows you to make a more informed decision when choosing which conveyor system is right for you, but what else should you also consider?

Things to Consider When Choosing a Conveyor System

Each client has different needs when it comes to optimising their facility. From the conveyor circuit to the items being transported, each of these factors play a role in the design of your conveyor system. A couple of things to consider are:

  • The type of products and items you want to transport 
  • The speed you wish to transport these items 
  • How your facility operates 
  • The environment 
  • Your budget 

By thinking about each of these elements, you can make a more informed decision about which type of conveyor system is right for your facility. If you are still unsure or want some advice, our experts at Conveyor Systems are on hand to help you find the best solution for you.

Elevate Your Warehouse Today With Conveyor Systems 

At Conveyor Systems, we take pride in optimising our clients’ facilities. Our versatile roller conveyor systems cater to various industries, offering an opportunity to enhance your business’s efficiency and productivity. Implementing a roller conveyor system can alleviate strain on your employees and create more usable space within your facility. If you’re seeking a solution to elevate your business operations, consider the benefits of roller conveyor systems. Reach out to us today, and let’s propel your facility to the next level of efficiency and productivity.

Roller Conveyor Systems FAQs

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How does a roller conveyor work?

Roller conveyor systems consist of a frame and evenly spaced cylindrical rollers, facilitating the movement of items either by gravity or external power. As items come into contact with the rollers, they are propelled along a predetermined path, offering a simple and efficient solution for material handling in various industries.

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What are the advantages of roller conveyor systems?

There are many advantages to roller conveyor systems such as the ability to withstand heavy loads, versatility of conveyor circuits, reliable and well-established components that are durable. This makes roller conveyors perfect for facilities that deal with heavy loads.

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What is the most common conveyor?

A belt conveyor system is the most common conveyor used as it is fairly simple to use. However, depending on the intended function of the conveyor, a conveyor belt might not be suitable for your facility. Another option is roller conveyor systems that are able to handle heavier loads and are more durable. If you are unsure which conveyor system is the most suitable for your facility, contact us today and one of our experts can help you find the best solution.

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