How to buffer
How to buffer
How to buffer in a materials handling solution can be critical in the operation. Most conveyor systems will require elements of accumulation or buffering to allow different elements within the line to stop and start; operator interaction or other operations to take place without hindering the overall line efficiency or OEE. The method chosen will be driven by many input factors: package size and weight; speed of the line; length of time for accumulation required and numbers of product to accumulate.
Methods of accumulation on a conveyor system
The simplest method to accumulate product on a conveyor system, whether driven roller conveyor or belt conveyor, is to drive the product or package to an end stop, such as blade or gate. The conveyor is continuously driven under the queueing package, causing friction, and wasted energy not to mention undue load on the motor and gearbox. The next package will be driven into the first and onwards until the stop is released or a queue-back sensor is made which will stop the feed to this section of the system.
In a simple low volume system, this may work, but anything more than 2-3 boxes and the back pressure will cause damage to the packaging and undue strain on the conveyor drive. If not handling regular box or totes, then this method will not work. The product will spill off the conveyor.
Zero Pressure Systems?
A zero-line pressure conveyor system (ZLP) is constructed of individual driven sections of conveyor, each with its own drive and reflective sensor. The drive is generally a 24VDC drum motors linked by v-belts for high-torque stop / start action. Each section will be sized for the longest box or package. By utilising individual zone control, efficient queuing and release can be programmed for high-volume throughputs. Where operator interaction is required, the systems allow easy removal and placement of packages without finger trapping or undue effort caused by friction between the packages.
Where is this used?
This solution is used in many Axiom applications in the warehouse, logistics and 3pl industries along with general factory automation. The method can be used in combination with AMR’s, traditional belt conveyors, in fact any section where buffering or queuing is required.
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If you’re looking for a materials handling system and want to talk to a company with all the right credentials, contact Axiom GB for a consultation on 01827 61212 or email firstname.lastname@example.org