Conveyor-design software points out bogus configurations

Sept. 20, 2013

New SPEC (System Plast Engineering Calculator) design software from Emerson Industrial Automation’s Power Transmission Solutions business  helps engineers spec and configure chain and modular belt conveyors. It can also review designs, evaluate viability, and recommend alternative set-ups.

Proprietary algorithms evaluate applications for steel or plastic chain and modular belt conveyors by validating detailed user specifications with a red, yellow, or green rating. Where possible, the software also presents an alternative optimum solution that may reduce energy or lubrication requirements.

Using the tool involves three basic steps: defining conveying requirements, application requirements with product specifications, and system layout. The software starts by determining the correct chain or belt based on inputs for pitch, width, material for each side of the belt, and radius if side-flexing. User supplied specifications and pull-down options at each point make the process straightforward. Sprockets are selected based on similarly detailed user inputs. Photos and overall dimensions of the recommended products are shown for confirmation.

SPEC software reports results that include required chain pull, motor speed, torque, shaft power, and maximum line back pressure. The software issues alerts for incompatible parameter inputs during the process to help the user achieve successful results. The software covers applications with carbon steel, stainless steel, several types of LF acetal for high-speed/reduced lubrication, and new-generation chain designed for high-speed, dry-running applications. Wear strip options include stainless steel, UHMW PE, and the company’s low-friction Nolu‑S self-lubricating UHMW for low-noise, energy-efficient dry running.

Throughout the process, SPEC software allows the user to return to previous screens to update or change parameters. At the conclusion, the software rates the application as acceptable, marginal or not suitable. It presents viable alternative solution with Nolu-S wear strips, where appropriate, for applications where additional energy and water savings are possible.The wear material, when used in conjunction with NG chains and belts, reduces lubrication needs in most applications. Nolu-S also helps reduce noise, energy consumption, squeaking, and chain pull/belt fatigue.

SPEC software is based on Emerson's original SysCalc program, but reportedly with major upgrades and enhancements. It includes an up-to-date database of System Plast chain/belt and sprockets, and accepts most common product materials as well as user defined materials. The software can use System Plast product codes, or it automatically determines the correct product code based on customer selected specifications.

According to Emerson officials, SPEC software's strength is its ability to translate the user’s input for product and system layout into a specific set of recommended conveyor components. The application definition allows inputs for variances of material, geometry, coefficient of friction, arrangement on the conveyor, type of conveyor lubrication, number of tracks, track pitch, speed, hourly throughput and more. Layout details include length, radii, angle, height, accumulation, and product load.

SPEC software is free and available in nine languages: Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Turkish. Learn more, or download the software, at

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