What Is a Gravity Roller Conveyor?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari
Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

A gravity roller conveyor is a piece of industrial equipment used to facilitate movement of objects or materials from one place to another. The system features a series of metal cylinders or rollers mounted in succession within a metal frame, and items can be loaded onto the cylinders and pushed along the conveyor track. The track may run on a decline as well, allowing gravity to pull the items along with little effort. A gravity roller conveyor is commonly used in shipping facilities, warehouses, factories, and other industrial settings in which sorting or transporting is required.

Along the track of the gravity roller conveyor, metal plates called retarders will be installed to slow items that are traveling along the rollers. These retarders are necessary to prevent items from picking up too much speed and potentially causing injury or damage. The items can end up striking a worker standing near the conveyor, or the item can even leave the track. These retarders on the gravity roller conveyor must be strategically placed according to where items are likely to pick up speed or where workers will stand.

The rollers or cylinders themselves are usually made of metal. Aluminum and steel are the most common materials used to make the cylinders. They feature axles that are mounted to the gravity roller conveyor frame, and bearings are fitted around the axle to ensure smooth movement of the rollers during use. These rollers may need to be serviced periodically to ensure they are rolling smoothly at all times. The bearings can be greased or lubed, and in some cases, the cylinders can be overhauled and cleaned.

Some gravity roller conveyor systems are portable so they can be used in various locations. The conveyor tracks will essentially retract into themselves for transport, and when the conveyor is ready for use, the tracks can be pulled out again and locked in place. The conveyor, in this case, is likely to be mounted on casters or wheels to make transport much easier. The wheels will need to be locked in place once the unit is in position. Some conveyors are flexible as well, meaning they can be turned to create corners around which items can be transported. This adds to the versatility of the unit, since items can then be transported through doorways or other tight spaces.

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