A slide conveyor is a simple conveying system used to transport materials via gravity power. These conveyors are designed to connect to assembly line equipment, processing machinery, and storage vessels. They feature a sloped design that causes materials to slide along the length of the conveyor without mechanical or electrical assistance. Crews dump raw materials onto the slide conveyor, which then then transfers the materials into bins or hoppers used in manufacturing and production. These conveyors can also be positioned at the end of an assembly line, where they catch finished products or scraps and transfer them to another area for storage, shipping, or disposal.
Businesses can choose from three basic slide conveyor designs. The most basic is the gravity slide, which operates much like a child's sliding board found on a playground. Materials placed in the top of the conveyor will naturally slide to the bottom due to gravity. The air slide conveyor is similar, but uses air pressure to complement the effects of gravity and help materials slide more easily. An air slide conveyor is useful in applications involving very fine powders, such as grains or powdered chemicals, or in areas where it is not possible to set the conveyor at the proper slope.
A magnetic slide conveyor is used to separate ferrous materials from non-ferrous ones as they slide along the conveyor. These devices can also be used to aid gravity in moving metallic materials. This can be achieved using a standard magnet or an electro-magnetic system to attract ferrous materials.
Slide conveyors may feature an open or closed design. Open units are relatively flat, and may have rails or raised edges to prevent materials from falling off the sides. Closed chutes help to contain materials to prevent messes and reduce the risk of injury from items falling off the conveyor. Each conveyor is designed to distribute materials into a single location, such as into a machine, or into a simple storage or disposal bin.
One of the primary benefits associated with this type of conveyor is its simplicity and low cost. Gravity-powered conveyors have no moving parts, resulting in little to no maintenance. Compared to mechanical conveyor belts and other complex systems, these units tend to last longer and cost less in terms of upfront costs and repairs. The simplicity of these devices also makes them easy to use, and helps to reduce training time for employees.