Choosing a Conveyor

Conveyors for Finishing Systems

The selection of a conveyor for your powder coating system or liquid paint system at your manufacturing plant should be based on the features and benefits of each of the conveyors, part and process requirements, as well as your business goals.

There are three types of automated overhead conveyors typically used in finishing systems:

  • Monorail conveyors
  • Power and Free conveyors
  • IntelliFinishing conveyors

The layout should be configured to move parts from the loading point in the fabrication area through the finishing system to the unloading point in the assembly or shipping area. The goal is to minimize wasted movement, damage to the parts and personnel while providing the desired finished quality.

Monorail Conveyor Description

Overhead Monorail Conveyor

A monorail conveyor is simple and efficient but lacks flexibility.

Overhead monorail conveyors have the load-carrying and the drive functions combined in one element—the endless chain. The chain is guided by a rail system based on either an I-beam or an enclosed track. A take-up unit ensures that the chain is pulled tight as it leaves the drive unit. A caterpillar drive or sprocket drives the chain. Parts are suspended from the chain by special attachments or load bars. This conveyor can follow only one path. No other paths or spurs for masking, maintenance, labeling, loading or unloading are typically part of a monorail conveyor system.

Advantages: simple, efficient, low initial cost, best used for a single type of part and process

Disadvantages: no layout flexibility for part variety or process changes, any line stop or breakdown stops entire conveyor, no ability to stop for a process (masking, touch-up, labeling) without stopping entire conveyor, chain maintenance, take-up unit adjustment and monitoring, lubrication can cause issues with the quality of the parts, noisy

Video:
Monorail Conveyor

Power and Free Conveyor Description

Picture of power and free

Power & Free conveyors use a two-rail system and pusher dogs to allow for more flexibility than a monorail system.

Overhead power and free conveyors are two-rail systems. The trolley is the load-carrying element and is located below the chain. The trolleys use the lower “free rail” and the chains are in the upper “power rail.” Pusher dogs establish the connection between chain and trolley and can be engaged (dogging and de-dogging) and disengaged as needed. The “free rail” can be equipped with switches, lifting stations or stops to allow the trolleys to follow different paths, or be lifted or lowered, stopped or moved at different speeds throughout the system. The entire conveyor system is PLC-controlled.

Advantages: flexible layouts for variety of parts and processes, stop and start, multiple speeds, reduction in personnel since parts may be stopped, trolleys can be buffered, part tracking, integration to ERP, process recipes

Disadvantages: higher initial cost than monorail conveyor, any line stops or breakdowns stop entire conveyor, more layout options require more chain, return chain, speed changes require multiple chains and drive motors, chain maintenance, take-up unit adjustment and monitoring, lubrication can cause quality problems, part swing since there is no accelerate or decelerate, no ability to reverse direction reduces layout options, no ability to reverse when there are problems requires complete chain to be stopped, noisy

Videos:
Dog Magic Chain Conveyor (Daifuku North America)
Power & Free Conveyors (Daifuku Webb)

IntelliFinishing Conveyor Description

IntelliFInishing Spinning Tube Friction Drive Conveyor

An IntelliFinishing conveyor system provides ultimate flexibility using a spinning tube friction drive requiring no chain.

The IntelliFinishing conveyor provides even greater flexibility than power and free because the movement of the trolley is performed with a spinning tube by a small motor. Each section or zone of an IntelliFinishing conveyor may be independently controlled with a variable frequency drive (VFD) and the entire system is PLC-controlled. Data handling and smart controls with recipes for a variety of parts provide even greater flexibility and automation. With “no chain”, driving the system, many of the issues like maintenance, noise, chain jams, take-up problems, lubrication ruining finished parts, de-dogging, floor space for return chain, etc. are not an issue for an IntelliFinishing automated finishing system. The trolley (propelled by the spinning tube) moves forward and reverse which provides more layout options and decreases production stoppage and downtime when compared to power and free conveyor system.

Advantages: flexible layouts for a variety of parts and processes, stop and start, multiple speeds, can stop individual motor sections independent of each other allowing remainder of conveyor system to run, reduction in personnel since parts may be stopped, trolleys can be buffered, part tracking, integration to ERP, process recipes, accelerate, decelerate, reverse, minimal maintenance and no chain lubrication, reduction in floor space, lower energy and resources since processes run only when a part is present, expandable, modular and moveable, more adaptable for lean manufacturing

Disadvantages: higher initial cost than monorail conveyor, more options may cause increase in costs because of drives and motors, limitations on inclines and declines, larger elevation changes require lift sections

Videos:
IntelliFinishing System Overview
IntelliFinishing Shuttle for Large Parts
IntelliFinishing Paint System at Raytheon

 Advantages of Overhead Conveyors

Monorail

  • simple
  • efficient
  • low initial cost
  • best for single part/process
Power & Free

  • flexible layouts
  • stop & start
  • multiple speeds
  • buffering
  • part tracking
  • integration to ERP
  • process recipes
IntelliFinishing

  • flexible layouts
  • stop & start
  • multiple speeds
  • buffering
  • stop sections without stopping whole line
  • part tracking
  • integration to ERP
  • process recipes
  • accelerate
  • decelerate
  • reverse
  • minimal maintenance
  • no lubrication
  • reduction in floor space
  • expandable
  • modular
  • moveable

Disadvantages of Overhead Conveyors

Monorail

  • no layout flexibility
  • chain maintenance
  • take-up adjustment
  • lubrication
  • noisy
Power & Free

  • higher initial cost (vs. monorail)
  • chain maintenance
  • take-up adjustment
  • lubrication
  • noisy
  • more layout options require more chain
  • return chain
  • part swing
IntelliFinishing

  • higher initial cost (vs. monorail)
  • limitation on incline & decline

Join IntelliFinishing at The Powder Coating Show 2015

IntelliFinishing will be at The Powder Coating Show 2015 - See Us at Booth 201

Visit IntelliFinishing at Booth 201

The Powder Coating Show 2015 is the ultimate learning experience. The 2015 show is in Louisville, KY, May 6-7. The show offers educational sessions and the chance to talk to industry experts. Download your FREE Guest Pass so you can join as at Booth 201.

Check out all of the upcoming events and tradeshows IntelliFinishing will be attending including:

ProMat 2015
March 23-26
Chicago, IL - McCormick Place South
Visit us at IntelliTrak’s Booth #4507

AeroDef 2015
April 20-23
Dallas, TX - Hilton Anatole
Booth #334


IntelliFinishing is a turnkey finishing system provider using the latest technology that is lean and more cost effective than traditional systems, provides options that others cannot, and uses a significantly smaller footprint.   Our patented systems include:

  • Conveyance
  • Washers
  • Ovens
  • Controls
  • Booths
  • Platforms, etc.,

Quick installation. Approximately half the time to install compared to a traditional system.

Scalable. React to market conditions by expanding or contracting your workload.

Flexible. Handle a variety of sizes of parts with diverse finishing recipes efficiently.

From design to install, IntelliFinishing provides a turnkey installation that is focused on quality and efficiency for your automated finishing system.

Limiting Downtime in Manufacturing

Downtime is one of the leading causes of wasted resources within manufacturing, but where companies fail is when they chalk up their losses to the cost of doing business. Issues happen in various forms, and while some can’t be avoided, taking a back-seat approach to how you respond can resort in losses for your company. If you can’t eliminate downtime completely, you can certainly focus on doing the next best thing: limiting it as much as possible. When it comes to limiting downtime in the manufacturing industry, there are a few key things to keep in mind.

The Real Costs of Downtime in Manufacturing

In order for your company to fully grasp the importance of limiting downtime, first take a real look at how much it can cost. To find the estimated average cost that one hour of downtime is causing your organization, you need to take a look at factors like employee costs per hour, the fraction of employees affected, the average revenue per hour and the fraction of revenue being affected.

Let’s look at an example: say you manufacture a product with 100 employees, each employee makes $25 per hour and you produce $10,000/hour of product. Now, imagine your conveyor is down for 1 hour every week because of problems with the chain. When this happens, it affects 80 percent of the people on the line. Using the above formula, you would take the employee costs per hour ($2,500*.8) and add it to the average revenue per hour ($10,000) = $12,000/hr. Multiply this by 50 weeks in a year and you have lost out on $600,000.

Reducing Downtime of the Automated Paint System

picture of IntelliFinishing conveyor

Conveyor is propelled with spinning tube – no chain

Solutions like the finishing system that IntelliFinishing provides are focused on helping businesses limit downtime on conveyor systems. The IntelliFinishing solution alone decreases the typical amount of unscheduled and scheduled downtime by using technology approved by the automotive industry which typically requires a 99% up-time.

With traditional conveyance, like power and free, the chain and take-up and moving mechanical parts such as stops and pushers are frequently the cause of downtime. IntelliFinishing’s conveyance has eliminated these items because it has NO chain, therefore eliminating this point of failure.

No more chain elongation causing a jam at the take-up. No more problems backing up a conveyor since our conveyor is capable of moving backwards. No more chain results in much less downtime.

Do you love your paint system?

An IntelliFinishing complete paint system is more "LEAN" than a box of "sugar-free" chocolates.

An IntelliFinishing complete paint system is more “LEAN” than a box of “sugar-free” chocolates.

IntelliFinishing…more LEAN than a sugar-free box of chocolates

Many manufacturers are implementing lean manufacturing practices into their workplaces and are gaining an advantage over their counterparts in the industry.

Although traditional fixed conveyor systems have been one of the leading factors in lean management over the last two decades, they have lost their luster—not just to those who control the purse strings, but also for engineers who have long dealt with the headaches of inflexible systems, long lead times and production shutdowns while the systems are installed.

Having a lean finishing system just makes sense. In traditional systems, processes are dependent on the processes of the others. If a part needs more time in the oven, washer or another process, and you slow down the conveyor to change the process time, then you may experience a reduction in production throughput, create quality issues, increase labor costs (operators waiting for parts) and inventory issues.

We consider our IntelliFinishing automated paint system to be lean because it eliminates these issues.

Modular and Customizable

It’s modular and highly customizable. Our finishing system’s conveyor is a bolted together, floor-supported system with friction-driven trolleys on a rotating tube instead of a chain. No return chain dramatically decreases floor space usage. An IntelliFinishing system easily expands and adapts to changes in your process or production. Plus each customer has the option to design specifically for their requirements.

Optimizes Workflow

This system optimizes workflow through the unique movement capabilities of the conveyor, load accumulation and effective sequencing for highly variable processing in areas such as drying or curing. Each part recipe is different and may require a different cure time. It is one of only a few systems that can deliver parts in a desired different sequence than the way parts were loaded. You can also expand your system to point of use, e.g. assembly.

Built-in control technology can change the destination of products, set up in-line speed changes or stop carriers for processing without stopping production. No more slow zones or wasted time. The controls of an IntelliFinishing complete finishing system recognize specific part recipes, tracking and adjusting for variations in components and processes. Integration with your ERP system provides an even smoother responsiveness to your production schedule.

If you are in the market for a lean paint system, check out our videos and contact us today!

Old Technology. New Technology.

New vs Old

Why use 40-year-old technology in your new paint system?

Why Use Old Technology on a New Finishing System?

Are you still using old technology when painting parts? We invite you to take a look at some of the new technology that is out there and apply the benefits it can bring to your particular situation!

Visit www.intellifinishing.com where you can take a look at what new technology has to offer when you require a turnkey liquid paint system, powder coating system or an automated paint system.

Alternative to Power and Free Conveyor

IntelliFinishing Complete Paint Systems are an exciting alternative to power and free systems.

We want to share with you a few of the advantages you can expect when replacing your traditional power and free or monorail systems with the newest technology for industrial paint system replacement.

Floor Space Savings

One of the benefits that our customers and potential customers talk a lot about is the amount of floor space that can be saved. In some cases, as much as 43%. By eliminating bulb turns, shuttles used in new technology can decrease your footprint exponentially, which can add up to thousands of dollars of savings. If you are processing large parts, our shuttle demo should move to the top of your “to-do list” right now.

No Chain

picture of IntelliFinishing conveyor

Conveyor is propelled with spinning tube – no chain

Our industrial paint systems are “chain free”. (They are also awesome). No chain means no extra space is needed for the return chain as in a power & free system. Awesome because, your footprint just got smaller again!

On this same note, no chain means the ability to reverse – AND – no messy oil dripping on your parts or collecting dust.

Virtually Noiseless

Another cost-saving benefit, especially for large manufacturing companies, could come in the form of dollars spent supplying employees with hearing protection. One of our customer’s finishing systems is less than 75db, which resulted in the removal of employees from a hearing conservation program. Being a “no chain” system means no dogs or buffer zones, and that equates to: no metal carriers crashing into each other, further reducing noise.

Variable Speeds

A turnkey powder coating system provided by IntelliFinishing makes part sway a thing of the past! New technology with variable frequency drives (VFD) controls the conveyor’s motion, and Smart Controls allow for variable speeds and independently controlled zones for different recipes. New technology gives you the ability to monitor and track parts at ANY point in the system. (Seriously, you need to take a look at one of our demos of an automated powder coating system).

Layout Options

Our switches provide layout options just like the old technology, but additionally, a switch in a complete finishing system provided by IntelliFinishing can be used to deadhead, providing even more layout processing options. (Have you picked up the phone to schedule a demo yet?)

Energy Savings

With the new technology used in an IntelliFinishing complete finishing system, the conveyor runs only when the carrier is present. Additionally, the supporting process equipment, like a washer, also only runs when a part is present.

Modular and Expandable

We all intend for our business to grow. Will your “old” technology grow with you? Our “new” technology will. The modular design of an IntelliFinishing system allows for easily expandable floor plan. As your company grows, your production levels change. Our turnkey finishing systems grow with you and additional processes or applications can be installed quickly. Call us.

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