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What Is a Skatewheel Conveyor?

By Paul Reed
Updated May 17, 2024
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Conveyors are used to move boxes or products from one location to another. A skatewheel conveyor is a non-motorized conveyor using metal or plastic wheels that allows packages to move by gravity. Packages placed on a skatewheel conveyor will roll down to a lower level. These conveyors are lightweight and portable for delivery applications.

Delivery trucks bring boxed or packaged goods for sale in retail stores. In many cases, the truck cannot access the store directly, but delivers to service entrances or even basements. A skatewheel conveyor carried on the truck can be set up quickly, and packages can be rolled into the store.

Skatewheel refers to rollers used on the conveyor that support the weight of the moving packages. Until the mid-20th century, roller skates were recreational devices made with metal rollers or wheels that attached to shoes using straps. In the 1970s, plastic rollers were made from polyurethane polymers, which were much lighter in weight, and were quieter and more durable. Rollers used on skatewheel conveyors resemble wheels on skates, resulting in their name.

A conveyor is made from a regularly spaced set of roller wheels installed on axles or rods along the length of the conveyor section. Boxes or packages rolling down the conveyor are always supported by more than one row of wheels. Raised rails on each side prevent boxes from falling off the conveyor and keep the boxes centered on the conveyor.

The number of wheels in a section determines the size of package and carrying capacity of the skatewheel conveyor. Smaller wheels can be placed closer together for small packages, or additional larger wheels can be added for heavier ones. The sections are connected by a locking clip on one end that attaches to a pin on the next section.

Wheels can be made of metal, which are long lasting and wear-resistant, or of plastic, to reduce weight of the conveyor and make it easier to carry. Conveyor frames are normally coated metal or aluminum to reduce weight. The length and width of the conveyor sections can vary to allow for smaller or larger package sizes.

Purchasing a skatewheel conveyor requires knowing the desired carrying capacity, the number of sections needed, and whether any curved sections are required. Conveyors are built in straight and curved sections that can be connected together as needed. Combinations of straight and curved sections can be used to deliver boxes from a truck, around corners and building obstacles, and into a building.

Another use for skatewheel conveyors is to connect different sections of moving conveyors in packaging and sorting businesses. Sorting conveyors can use labels or electronic tags to identify the packages, and can then direct them to different areas. A skatewheel conveyor can connect these different sorting conveyors, allowing packages to move from one to another without having to be carried or moved by a person.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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