Choosing a Conveyor

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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

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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

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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.