Machine Design

Quick-Change Conveyors

Ever try to build a structure only to find the last part was just a bit too short or too long? It’s annoying if it happens with tinker toys. If it happens when you’re building an assembly line, it’s a disaster. But you’d save the day if you could simply add or remove a little without compromising performance.

Dorner Manufacturing,
IP Automation,

 Engineers at IP Automation, Colorado Springs, Colo., weren’t sure which way it would go when customers asked for help in gently removing rough edges from brittle, unfired ceramics traveling down a conveyor on the way to an oven. Another request was to divide deburred parts into three lanes for additional processing. IP Automation engineers worked with RG Tech, a Centennial, Colo., material-handling distributor, to choose conveyors.

RG Tech suggested three 8-in.-wide QWIK 5200 Series conveyors from Dorner to carry the ceramic parts from the deburrer to the oven. The three small conveyors attach to the end of a 24-in.-wide Dorner 2200 Series conveyor already in the ceramics manufacturer’s plant. One of the QWIK conveyors turns to the right from the end of the 2200 Series conveyor. A second conveyor turns left, and the third continues in a straight line.

IP Automation’s rotating brush deburrer hangs above the end of the wider conveyor. The three narrower conveyers use modular plastic belts with a flush grid pattern. The belts’ design leaves 35% of the belt surface open and lets ceramic dust and chips generated in deburring fall through the conveyor into a collector.

The three new conveyors also permit some flexibility. If production rates fall, one or two of the 8-in. conveyors can sit idle, saving energy. If production calls for an additional processing step, the conveyors can be easily rerouted.

To change the conveyors length or route, workers can remove the chain belt and nosecap. They can saw off unneeded length or add new straight or curved sections. The sections can be ordered from Dorner in lengths ranging from 36 to 999 in., in 1-in. increments.

After adding or removing chain links to fit the belt to the new length, workers can reinstall the nosecap. A single screw secures the nosecap to the new end of the frame.

The 2200 Series conveyor carries up to 150 lb. The narrower QWIK conveyors can move 1,000 lb on straights and 500 lb in curves. Both conveyors can be run at up to 264 fpm, depending on load and the gearmotor selected.

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