Gravity conveyors are the simplest, quickest and most economical moving loads from one point to another. Gravity conveyors do not need motor power sources, but rather involves manual assistance (a person pushing the load along a flat conveyor) or through gravitational force down an inclined conveyor. However, they can be combined with power systems to help reduce energy needs. Gravity conveyors are safe, require minimal effort, are low cost and the most ergonomic way to move bulk materials such as pellets, cartons and other heavy loads.
Gravity conveyors are available in many models and can be used in many arduous environments ranging from below-zero conditions to temperatures as high as over 100 degrees Celsius. They are particularly useful for heavy side loading or offloading along its path. Modern gravity conveyors come in three different types:
- Non-powered conveyor
- Powered (or live) belt and roller conveyor
- Powered chain and roller conveyor
Non-powered gravity conveyors are the simplest and most commonly used types of conveyor. They make use of the force of gravity to keep loads moving. They are also commonly used as takeaway conveyors for cartons coming out of automated sorters, particularly in workstations where workers upon completing their tasks, push their work along to the next station. Skate-wheel and roller are the most common types of a non-powered gravity conveyor.
The two styles that dominate the powered gravity conveyor market include the belt and roller, and chain and roller types. Traditionally, the latter has been used in accumulating products while the former for transporting products, depending on the size of the products. The belt-type of conveyors are less expensive than the chain conveyors. They provide more stable surface and can be used to move a wide variety of products mainly small and light products such as envelopes and polythene bags.
Chain gravity conveyors, on the other hand, are mainly used for the conveyance of heavy loads up to 5,000 pounds. They are therefore relatively slow, handling only about four or five loads per minute. The rollers used in the powered chain conveyors are relatively wider and thicker. Most of the pallet-handling gravity conveyors are chain-driven because their drive-system is the toughest and hardiest.
All the gravity conveyors feature direct sprocket drive to eliminate any belt slippage and ensure that no there’s no tracking problem, whatever the belt length. They are built on flexible structures that allow them to handle items of any shape or size. There most outstanding features of these conveyors are the all-round low friction properties and their long life expectancy with minimal maintenance.