Buy a conveyor or not. Sometimes it is difficult to determine when the right time is to buy a conveyor. You may find it easy to justify an existing manual material handling process by saying “that’s how we have always done it”. However, if you review the scenarios below you will realize that buying a conveyor can improve employee morale, increase production efficiencies, prevent lost time accidents and reduce labor costs. If you have any of the situations listed below at your production facility, it is definitely time to consider adding a conveyor system as part of your material handling process.
- Buy a conveyor if you have production machines capable of running “lights-out”, that is, with no operator to machine interaction, you will definitely want your material handling for these machines to be unattended too. This can be accomplished by using a box filling conveyor system. With a box filling system, empty boxes are staged and shuttled into the filling area one at a time. After the box is full the conveyor moves it out of the way and another empty box is moved into the filling area.
- Buy one or more conveyors when you see a production employee constantly moving to and from different machines. Non-productive walk time will be eliminated when multiple conveyors deliver parts to one central location.This time can be more productive for things such as inspecting and preparing parts for the next operation.
- Buy a conveyor when you have machines that discharge parts close to the ground and require an operator to bend down to reach the parts. These machines are prime candidates for conveyor assistance. A Z-shaped conveyor can deliver the parts to the operator at an ergonomic height and eliminate the likelihood of a lost time injury.
- Buy a conveyor anytime an operator has to take parts to a location higher than they can reach. Taking parts to a raised height, such as a vibratory bowl or hopper, is potentially dangerous. Installing a conveyor system will easily transport the parts up to the required loading height and keep the operator safe on the ground.