Increasing Manufacturing Profits using Belt Conveyors

Manufacturing Companies trying to increase their productivity and stay competitive in the marketplace have many options available to do so. In almost all circumstances it comes down to either lowering costs for raw materials and labor used to produce a product or to increase the workflow which is the total time it takes to manufacture a product. This workflow time must also consider the material flow from goods inwards to dispatch. This is an area in which belt conveyors can make a significant difference in productivity at a low level of investment. If it can be identified that staff constantly run back and forth to retrieve certain goods then a reduction in labor costs is easily achievable in implementing a belt conveyor and run the material workflow more efficiently and thus increase productivity. Often, a strategically placed belt conveyor can have  a huge impact on workflow efficiency and most likely the investment costs will be very low.

It is very important to customize these conveyors to exactly match the workflow times needed in any given manufacturing situation. An “off the shelf” conveyor system will most likely cause more problems rather than increasing efficiency. It is imperative that the conveyor system is built to take all variables into consideration. Some of those might be peak and off peak cycle times, size and weight of products to be transported, material of goods or if the system needs to be able to run in accumulation or start/stop mode.

Another very important key aspect to consider is to make sure that an even workflow is achieved throughout the entire process. If one process is running faster then another then bottlenecks are created which diminish the efficiency and mostly achieve nothing else but to move a problem from one area within the manufacturing facility to another. This is where the entire workflow process has to be taken into consideration, from goods inwards through manufacturing to dispatch. This seems quite simple but when looking closely can become quite complex.  There are companies that are specialized in working out optimized workflows but for small to medium sized companies a conveyor manufacturer should have a good understanding of what is required and should be able to give some good common sense advice.

Looking at all these variables should make it very clear that belt conveyor systems must be custom designed and built to match the manufacturing environment. Saving a few investment dollars at this stage may turn out to be an expensive mistake.

Operating a Belt Conveyor in both directions. Is it possible?

Belt Conveyors are a fairly simple piece of equipment. The major components are a motorised roller, called the drive roller, an idle roller, a frame with a slider tray over which the belt can traverse and of course the belt itself. Of course there are always some other components involved but these are the main ones. In simple setups like these it is generally recommended to run the belt in one direction, which is from the idle end towards the drive roller. The Drive roller pulls the belt rather then pushing it. Running the belt in this direction allows for pretty high payloads. This is because the belt is pulled tight onto the drive roller during operation, which eliminates slippage between the drive roller and the belt and allows the full transfer of torque from the motor to the belt. This configuration also is best as far as tracking of the belt is concerned.

Is the operation of a belt conveyor in the reverse direction possible at all?

Well, it can but it can become a little tricky and some guidelines have to be considered.

If the belt is to be operated in reverse, so that the belt is pushed from the motor end towards the idler end then these points have to be considered.

–       Payload weight

–       Dimensions of the conveyor

–       Tracking of the belt


The weight placed onto the conveyor must be kept low in this mode of operation. This is because the pushing of the belt encourages separation between the drive roller and the belt. This is reducing needed friction between drive roller and belt. The torque from the motor cannot be transferred to the belt and the result will be a slipping roller.

Dimensions of the conveyor

In general, the shorter and wider the belt, the better a push operated belt conveyor will work. This is again due to the friction that can be achieved between the drive roller and the belt. A wider roller has more surface area and allows for more friction. A long belt creates a lot of backpressure and reduces friction between drive roller and belt. There is no hard and fast rule here. The ratios of payload and dimensions of the conveyor have to be looked at as one to see if the conveyor unit will work in this given mode of operation.

Tracking of the belt

This is often an issue when running a belt conveyor in reverse. Again this is because of the potential slippage of the drive roller. If the conveyor is to be run in reverse only and payload weight is kept very low then good tracking of the belt should be easy. If the conveyor is to be run multidirectional, as in alternating in certain intervals between forward and reverse then a tracking strip is the best solution. This is simply a guide strip secured to the underside of the belt, which guarantees tracking of the belt.

Demo Belt Conveyors for Sale

At the recent NMW exhibition we displayed a number of Belt Conveyors which now occupy our limited storage area in our factory. In the past we would have dis-assembled them, re-used some common parts and basically thrown out everything else. This seems like a major waste so we thought we offer them at a greatly discounted price. If you are after a conveyor and the specifications suit your application then there is a bargain to be had.

At a 30% discount you need to be quick as this offer is on a “first come, first serve” offer!

Don’t loose out! Call us NOW!


Conveyor 1) C5N 0400 XAN 1200


Conveyor Length: 1200mm
Conveyor Width: 400mm
Drive: Pulleydrive Type A
Motor/Gearbox: SEW WA20 DR63S4, i=24:5, 3phase, 240/415V
Belt Speed: 10m/min
Belt: Habasit NHM-10EKBV PVC Belt charcoal
Slidertray: flat – no sideguides
Stand: 890mm high
Listprice Conveyor: AUS$ 3028.30
Listprice Stand AUS$ 743.40
Listprice Total: AUS$ 3771.70

For Sale at AUS$ 2640.20

Don’t loose out! Call us NOW!

Conveyor 2) C4N 0400 XLN 1200


Conveyor Length: 1200mm
Conveyor Width: 400mm
Drive: Centerdrive
Type L with one knifeedge
Motor/Gearbox: SEW WA20 DR63S4, i=16:5, 3phase, 240/415V
Belt Speed: 12.5m/min
Belt: Habasit FAB-5E Foodgrade Belt white
Slidertray: 10mm sideguides fixed
Stand: 890mm high
Listprice Conveyor: AUS$ 5818.30
Listprice Stand AUS$ 743.40
Listprice Total: AUS$ 6561.70

For Sale at AUS$ 4593.20

Don’t loose out! Call us NOW!


Does your conveyor supplier take all variables into consideration?

When implementing a conveyor in your manufacturing process for transportation of goods of any kind there are many factors to consider.  We here at Robotunits specialize in conveyor technology. Even more important is the fact that we also specialize in lean manufacturing principles and consider specific manufacturing situations to build a truly efficient conveyor solution for any given situation. The technical knowledge of conveyors combined with the latest lean manufacturing principles allows us to advise our customers with the absolute best solution.  At the end of the day, the conveyor is just a part of the overall manufacturing process. We work hand in hand with our customers to determine all variables and provide them with solutions that make their manufacturing process more efficient. This means we look at already existing surrounding machinery and build a conveyor system accordingly.

By considering all those important steps we can truly help you to achieve a more efficient manufacturing process and increase your bottom line profit!

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Regulating the Speed of your Belt Conveyor

When implementing a conveyor in your manufacturing process you need to work out exactly what speed the conveyor needs to run at to match the current manufacturing speed.  This can be either measured by looking at machines already in place or calculating proposed manufacturing cycle times. Once we know these parameters we can design the conveyor to closely match the required speeds.

By selecting different ratios within the Motor/Gearbox and also the selection of different size timing pulleys we can build the conveyor to run at a certain speed.

Of course a design like this does not allow adjustment of the speed at all, it is static. This is fine for a lot of processes were the conveyor speed is not critical. In applications were the speed of the conveyor needs to be variable a frequency inverter can be used. A frequency inverter is basically an electronic device, which changes the AC frequency to the motor and thus allowing us to adjust motor and therefore conveyor speed.

Motors are designed to work best at a certain frequency. It is therefore advisable to calculate the most likely speed required and build the conveyor with its gearbox and pulley ratios accordingly. The frequency inverter is then simply used to adjust the speed by a small amount. This is because deviations of more than 20% will result in great loss of torque and also overheat the motor.

If you need help in working out conveyor specifications for your exact needs please let us know. We will do it all for you!

Transporting Goods on an Inclined Belt Conveyor

A large percentage of belt conveyors are used to transport goods on a flat or horizontal level. Belt Conveyors are also really good tools to transport goods between different heights. We refer to this as an “inclined” conveyor application and depending on the angle of the incline different belt solutions have to be used to make sure the product does not slide backwards on the conveyor. A high grip belt will do the trick in some applications. There is a point when the incline is too large and other measures have to be employed.
Cleats or profiles can be used in such conveying applications. In simple terms they are a cross-member welded to the belt to provide positive drive and make sure the goods don’t slide backward on the conveyor. Selecting the correct cleat depends on many factors like weight and size of the product, angle of incline, roller diameter and belt material. Other things to consider are the desired height of the cleats and the distance between them to make sure good are transported at the desired rate up the incline.

Starting with the product and desired conveyor incline in mind we need to select an appropriate cleat height. Now we look at the weight each cleat has to cope with. The shape of the cleat has to be considered next. A general rule is that the higher the cleats on the belt the larger the roller diameter will need to be. When considering all variables the process of selecting the correct configuration can become quite involved. Conveyor belt manufacturers have extensive design manuals to help choosing the correct solution. At Robotunits we work very closely with our belt supplier to help us find the most suitable belt for any application. For you this means peace of mind as we do all the calculations and supply you with a conveyor that simply works. We guarantee it!


Why we give Conveyors Serial Numbers

When purchasing a conveyor to improve performance of the manufacturing process many companies just look at the price. It should be obvious that other factors like quality of components used, overall quality and availability of replacement parts need to be considered. It is in the event of a breakdown that things can get expensive if you can’t get production going again quickly. Of course we recommend that you keep some usable spares in stock to get you up even quicker.

All conveyors manufactured by Robotunits are given a serial number. Should a rare breakdown happen we know instantly what specifications your conveyor unit was built to. Just call us and quote the serial number of the conveyor and we help you to get you up and running again quickly. We keep all usable parts in stock and can send them to you instantly. No time wasted trying to figure out what you need. All third party components like motors and belts are sourced from world-class companies, which can also provide replacement parts straight away.


Modular Conveyors

Modular belt conveyors offer distinct advantages over standard belt conveyors in specific applications. At Robotunits we utilize our modular automation system to design and build modular conveyors which the customer can configure to his own needs. Length, width, height, drive option, speed and height of side-guides can all be  specified to individual needs.

Modular Belt Conveyors Advantages

– Tracking of the belt even in extreme applications is guaranteed
– Modular Conveyors can run in both directions
– High payloads are possible
– Belt width can be larger than the length of the conveyor
– Cut and impact resistance of a modular belt is high

Check out the short Video about some modular belt conveyors we have recently built.

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Conveyor Maintenance

When integrating a conveyor or any piece of machinery for that matter into a production facility it is of upmost importance to get a high quality product. It simply does not make sense to save a few dollars on an inferior product that will let you down sooner or later. Just imagine a conveyor breaking down causing production to stop completely until the unit is fixed. It could cost you thousands! Just like with your car it is also very important to service your conveyors correctly and within the specified intervals. You should also have the critical spares on hand to reduce downtime to an absolute minimum should there be any problems with it. We supply a conveyor manual with every unit that leaves our premises. Together with a lot of other important information you will find the serial number, maintenance schedule as well as exploded drawings of the conveyor belt. All though we are confident that our conveyors will function in extreme circumstances we strongly recommend that you follow the maintenance schedule and have some critical spares on hand. Prevention is always better the cure! The maintenance is very basic and requires only a few minutes of your time every few months. As for critical spares, you probably will not need them but if you have them on hand a rare breakdown will be fixed in no time.


If you have one of our conveyors you will have gotten a manual with it outlining the maintenance schedule, critical parts list as well as a lot of other important information that will keep your conveyor running for a very long time. You can download the manual here.

Don’t let your conveyor get to that stage!

We have always maintained that our conveyors are the best quality you can possibly get. Well, one of our customers has just contacted us and ordered a replacement belt. This customer has purchased a Robotunits conveyor 12 years ago and they are running it in an extremely dirty and unfriendly environment. Even in those extreme circumstances they have never done any maintenance in all those years. Even so the conveyor never missed a beat and is still running.  Here is the picture that the customer has emailed to us.


All though it impressed us that our conveyor was still working we would strongly recommend that you keep your conveyor reasonably clean, follow the maintenance schedule and keep a few critical spares on hand. Just ring us with the serial number of your conveyor and we can supply all critical spares for your unit. Prevention is way better than cure!