In the current fast-paced atmosphere of business, manufacturers are turning to new, innovative technologies to automate crucial production and material handling processes since organisations will constantly seek new methods to reduce corporate expenses and boost their bottom lines. This is why it isn’t surprising that many manufacturers are turning to conveyor belts in their production process. By automating manual production processes, conveyor belt systems help factories save time, effort, and resources. However, there are several techniques to reduce conveyors’ energy use and waste production.
In this article, we will be going over how you can be able to optimise the energy efficiency of your conveyor systems to be able to save time, energy and resources.
How to reduce energy use of conveyor systems?
Here we have listed down the proper methods and precautions you should keep in mind if you wish to increase the efficiency of your conveyor system:
- Observe proper maintenance
This is a crucial point that is often overlooked. Conveyor systems are frequently not maintained adequately because they are expected to operate indefinitely with no issues. As long as everything runs well, nobody gives them a second thought. However, it has been possible to keep a conveyor functioning at peak efficiency for many years. Yes, energy-efficient motors and driving units are essential. However, if the conveyor chain or belt is not correctly maintained, you may waste energy due to increased friction in the system.
Numerous conveyors use pneumatically-operated stop gates, positioning units, and other product-control accessories, so inefficiencies might result if the pneumatic system is not adequately maintained. As do the majority of conveyor manufacturers, we advise a yearly or biannual inspection or tune-up. A rapid, expert examination of the system under operating conditions can reveal worn parts that require replacement, chances for process optimisation, and other possible dangers, such as system overloading.
- Selecting the most productive type of conveyor system
When choosing the optimal conveyor type to integrate into a production process, efficiency is the most critical element. Ultimately, better efficiency will increase production, productivity, and profitability while reducing time, energy, and material waste. Choosing the optimal conveyor for batch or continuous processing applications is not as straightforward as it may appear. It demands a variety of rigorous considerations, including its rate, layout, safety requirements, material characteristics, installation speed or transportability needs, and hygienic or sanitary conditions. Each of these characteristics aids in identifying the most efficient piece of equipment for a specific application and avoiding circumstances where an excessive amount of linked horsepower is unnecessary.
- Choosing a conveyor that doesn’t need dust collectors
Eliminating the need for an additional dust collecting system is a further indirect energy saving that results from selecting the proper conveying system. Dust collecting systems frequently employ expensive blowers or compressed air to filter and remove particulate matter from the air and industrial environment. By choosing a fully enclosed mechanical conveyor as opposed to a pneumatic system, many external dust collector systems can be completely eliminated, saving a significant amount of energy, reducing maintenance, and removing some of the safety concerns typically associated with combustible dust bags used in dust collection systems.
- Monitor your conveyor and check if any component is wasting energy
In the majority of power-and-free conveyors, the belt or chain is continually powered. Nonetheless, this feature of pallet-based conveyor systems enables the delivery of work, i.e., pallets with mounted products, to workstations on demand. As long as the individual work processes at each station are adjusted, this yields the best possible cycle time for product assembly. Choose conveyors with low-friction curves or drives that allow you to utilise fewer of them for a given length of loaded conveyor to optimise energy consumption.
However, optimising product throughput per hour is the most crucial component in avoiding wasted energy and resources. In other words, you will waste energy if your assembly employees hang around waiting for parts to arrive or if your automated stations require extensive maintenance downtime. Therefore, optimising each assembly process by time and motion studies can substantially affect energy consumption.
Regarding conveyor system components, pneumatic systems are frequently the most wasteful in terms of energy. As is the case with manufacturing facilities in general, pneumatic systems within conveyor assemblies can be inefficient or leaky, resulting in avoidable annual energy costs of thousands of dollars. A comprehensive assessment of pneumatic components and systems can result in substantial cost reductions and help keep your conveyer energy efficient.
- Avoid overloading your conveyor system
If you overload a component of the conveyor or the entire system, you will be wasting more energy than you need. You will also increase the wear on the moving parts, such as the belts or chains, pallet wear strips, gearbox and drive unit pulleys or sprockets. Therefore, overloading a conveyor is never a good idea, even if energy consumption is unimportant. Examine the load by compiling a list of all the items that will be placed on the conveyor belt system and taking into account their shape and form, dimensions, orientation, and position on the conveyor. All of these factors must be taken into account beforehand to ensure smooth, uninterrupted operations.
- Consider the installation of a variable frequency drive
Running a motor with advanced equipment controls, which receive and interpret information from the motors and allow the controls to regulate the motors based on real-time production requirements, is another method for conserving energy and resources. Many conventional conveyor systems only offer two modes: on and off. When the conveyor is powered on, it will operate at maximum speed regardless of the production condition. This is remedied by a variable frequency drive (VFD), which regulates the conveyor’s speed and changes it to match production needs in real-time.
Internally varying the voltage and frequency of the alternating current driving their motors, variable frequency drives conserve energy over time.VFDs can significantly lower the energy consumption of a motor system by allowing dynamic adaptation of motor speed to fluctuating load needs. In addition to improving a system’s power factor (PF), VFDs offer additional advantages, such as soft-starting and overclocking capability. VFDs permit electric motors to work at lower speeds, so conserving energy. This can increase the motor’s overall lifespan and provide a more substantial long-term investment return, justifying the higher up-front costs.
Every business model requires the incorporation of new technologies and enhancements into the manufacturing process on a consistent basis. Increased efficiency of a manufacturer’s conveying process, which historically accounts for a significant portion of a production floor’s energy expenditures, will affect a company’s total bottom line and ability to compete in the ever-expanding marketplace, which is essential to its continued success. We hope that the suggestions and recommendations we have given you above will be able to assist you in saving resources and energy when using your conveyor systems.
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