A conveyor transport is a system made up of a series of pulleys and a conveyor belt designed to move people or objects. The pulleys are arranged in a linear manner, and the belt rotates around them in order to generate consistent and continuous motion over the distance between the pulleys. The basic conveyor belt, which is often used in industrial settings to move raw materials, parts, equipment, and products throughout an area, is the most common type of conveyor transport. Some conveyor systems, such as the movable sidewalk and the escalator, are based on the same fundamental design as the basic conveyor belt. In some cases, conveyor systems used for the transportation of goods or people are linked to computer systems that allow for the most efficient transportation and distribution of the goods carried.
The conveyor belt used for the distribution of various objects, usually in a warehouse setting, is the most basic type of conveyor transport. Such systems require only minimal safety features and are primarily designed to ensure that the transported objects reach their destinations unharmed. Individual conveyor belts in such conveyor transport systems are usually very simple and are composed only of the pulleys, belts, and power systems necessary to produce the required movement. They are, however, often arranged in a complex network in which some conveyor belts drop objects onto others to change the direction of movement. Such conveyor belts are often linked to computer systems to allow for simple control and tracking of the movement of transported materials.
Moving sidewalks, also known as moving walkways, are quite similar to basic industrial conveyor belts in that they are primarily composed of a simple horizontal system of pulleys around which a belt rotates. This form of conveyor transport, however, requires additional safety features to accommodate human passengers. The belt must be made of a material that minimizes the risk of slipping, and handholds generally must be arranged around the edges. This form of conveyor transport is often used in large structures or complexes that require people to walk substantial distances on a regular basis. Many airports, for instance, make use of moving sidewalks.
Escalators, or moving staircases, are based on the same fundamental principles as other conveyor transport systems. Instead of a flat belt, however, interlocking steps rotate around pulleys, which are arranged at an angle. An individual can step on one step and ride it to the top of the conveyor transport system before stepping off. At that point, the step he rode up on moves around the final pulley and begins to move back down to the bottom of the system. Escalators are common in department stores, airports, museums, and other places that have many floors that people need to move among freely.