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What Are the Different Types of Automated Conveyor Systems?

Jeremy Laukkonen
Jeremy Laukkonen

There are many types of automated conveyor systems, due to the fact that the materials packaging and handling industries deal with such a variety of different objects and substances. Conveyor belts represent one of the most common categories of automated conveyor systems, since they are used to transport loose materials, boxes, pallets, and many other items depending on the type of belt. Another broad category includes vibratory and gravity conveyors, which are units that have fewer moving parts, and are especially useful when materials need to be transported down a grade. Pneumatic systems are well suited to moving loose substances, and can be used to transport materials either vertically or horizontally.

Automated conveyor systems are widely used in the materials handling industry, though they are also found in many other commercial and industrial settings. These devices fit into many different categories, and are capable of moving a variety of materials, though they all share a few common characteristics. The main characteristic that all of these systems share is that they are designed to automatically carry an object or substance from one place to another.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

One of the most widely used types of automated conveyor system is the conveyor belt. These units can have cleats, buckets, or other attachments in order to carry loose substances and small items. If the belt is bowed in the middle, that can also allow this type of automated conveyor system to carry loose substances. Conveyor belts can run in a straight line, turn corners, move up or down grades, and some even make use of telescoping extensions. Similar automated conveyor systems make use of chains and slats, which can be useful in spiral designs that allow for vertical movement.

Another category of automated conveyor systems is made up devices such as vibratory and gravity conveyors. Vibratory conveyors typically consist of an inclined flat surface that is moved back and forth very quickly. Any material that is set on the conveyor will tend to move down the incline due to the vibration. Gravity conveyors are similar, except that they rely entirely on the force of gravity to pull materials down the incline.

Pneumatic conveyors are another type of automated conveyor system that can be used to move either loose or solid materials. These systems make use of enclosed tubes, and either air pressure or a vacuum. The pressure or vacuum causes anything placed inside the tube system to move from one place to another, so these systems are useful for both vertical and horizontal movement. In most cases, this type of automated conveyor system will also result in less dust than a traditional conveyor belt when moving powdery substances.

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