In these times of such economic uncertainty, the materials handling industry – as everywhere – is looking for ways to tighten its collective belt without lowering levels of customer service and damaging long-term prospects. Businesses – large and small – need to cut costs and limit risk, whilst also being prepared for when the British and international economies recover.
Rather than allowing existing equipment to fall into disrepair and stretching conveyor systems beyond their natural shelf-life, the most successful businesses will be those who look for innovative solutions offering high value for money. One such option is to look to mobile conveyor solutions as opposed to fixed installations.
Mobile conveyor systems typically come in short sections, or الكترون modules, up to 6 metres in length, mounted on frames with castors which allow for them to be moved around the warehouse by two operators, and connected into a larger system. Each module contains its own drive unit and isolator, but the power and emergency stop circuits will be common to the system as a whole. Each module therefore has both physical clamps and electrical connectors to join it to the adjacent modules. Typically around one module in ten will contain a small electrical control panel to control the operation of the overall system. In many cases only one of these will be required for the complete system, otherwise a second or third panel can be driven in a slave configuration from the first.
At first glance, it would sound like a mobile system would be more expensive than the same system in a fixed configuration: the mobile system requires the additional cost of the base frames, castors and additional controls items (additional plugs and sockets, as well as more isolators than usual), not to mention that each 6m section will have its own drive unit. Surprisingly, however, this additional cost is offset by the very small cost of installation of such a system: no fixing materials are required, and installation times are reduced from days, or weeks, to a matter of minutes – with the according labour savings. This brings the cost of a mobile system to with a few percent of a fixed system, and the mobile alternative brings with it a host of hidden advantages:
Fully Flexible Solution
One key benefit of a system comprised of mobile conveyor modules is that modules can be added or taken away from the system with only the smallest of controls changes being required. This means that a mobile system is ideally suited to the flexible requirements of today’s material handling industry.
Many material handling businesses today operate two – or even three – very different shift patterns, and the conveyor system requirements for these shifts might be very different. For example, many parcel distribution companies will need to offload a handful of large containers or trailers during an evening shift, but then the morning shift will require the loading of dozens of smaller vehicles for the final distribution of parcels. Ordinarily, a conveyor system would contain the elements required for both operations, meaning it would be larger than would be required for each individual shift, and there is always an element of compromise between the shifts. A mobile system, on the other hand, can be fully reconfigured between shifts to offer the perfect, tailored solution to each operation. The time taken to reconfigure the co