Telescopic conveyors are material handling devices that can be extended and contracted in order to more easily load and unload a variety of different products. Most telescopic conveyor designs use flat or cleated belts though, so they are typically best suited to moving boxes, pallets, and large items such as tires. They are most commonly found in shipping and receiving centers, warehouses, and other locations where it is necessary to move packages and other items in and out of trucks and shipping containers. In addition to extending and contracting, some telescopic conveyor designs can also be inclined up or down. This functionality is typically used to account for the potential height differences between truck beds and shipping docks, though some telescopic conveyors can also be used to move items up to the second story of a warehouse space.
Conveyor belts are usually stationary devices that are designed to simplify, and partially automate, material handling processes. They can cover long or short distances, be powered or unpowered, and transport a wide variety of materials. Unlike stationary conveyor designs, the telescopic conveyor is a device that can be continually reconfigured to fit the needs of the job at hand. These devices consist of a set of nesting platforms and tensioner pulleys, so that the belt remains taught when the platforms extend or contract.
The primary purpose of a telescopic conveyor is to save time and man hours when loading or unloading trucks or shipping containers. Benefits can vary from one operation to another, but in some cases a single shift working with a telescopic conveyor can accomplish the same loading or unloading task as three shifts working with a traditional system. This is due to the fact that these conveyors can be extended all the way into trucks, allowing items to be loaded much more easily, with a minimum of walking back and forth.
Many telescopic conveyors are also capable of being angled up or down as well, in addition to extending and contracting. This is primarily due to the fact that trucks and loading docks are not always exactly level with each other, and inclining a conveyor up or down can allow it to be extended all the way into a truck regardless of any difference. Some telescopic conveyors can even be oriented at a steep enough angle to transport items up to the second floor within a warehouse. Telescopic conveyors are sometimes also mounted on tracks so that they can be used to manage stock within warehouse facilities.