A gravity conveyor uses the force of gravity to pull goods along a series of rollers or wheels to move them between locations. These conveyors do not need power to operate; this can cut down on noise and on electric use on the production floor. In addition, many are portable and can be configured for a variety of applications. This can include placement on sites where a power supply is not readily available and a conventional conveyor couldn’t be used. Equipment is available for purchase, lease, or rental from a variety of locations.
There are three basic gravity conveyor designs, including expanding, roller, and skate wheel designs. Expanding conveyors are collapsible to make them easy to transport. When not in use, they can be folded up and latched to keep the components together. Technicians can unfold the gravity conveyor and quickly set it up, complete with height and angle adjustments, when they need to use it at a specific location. Such conveyors can be lightweight and inexpensive.
Roller gravity conveyors use a series of lubricated rollers. As objects slide down, pulled by gravity, the rollers turn to propel them down the conveyor. Objects can build up momentum and may travel considerable distances on such devices. The spacing between rollers can be varied to address concerns about objects falling through as they travel. These kinds of conveyor systems can be suitable for very small items.
A skate wheel design uses a series of free spinning wheels, rather than rollers, in the bed of the conveyor. This can be suitable for big items like boxes and lumber. Smaller items may be prone to falling or snagging in the conveyor components. Like roller conveyors, they can be made modular to allow technicians to add and subtract components to change the size and layout of the conveyor line. This can also make them portable for use on various locations, rather than in a fixed factory or facility.
Weight ratings for gravity conveyor models can vary. It is important to purchase equipment with the right rating to avoid equipment failure. Strain can cause cracks and fatigue, and may also bring the entire conveyor line to a halt because the gravity conveyor might not be able to overcome the weight of the items. Companies typically provide brochures with information about their full range of products, including models with different weight limits to meet specific needs. Some firms lease their equipment to allow customers to try it before committing to a purchase.