4 Ways to Get More Life Out of Your Accuglide Conveyor
If your order fulfillment operation makes use of an Accuglide Accumulation Conveyor, for product accumulation, there is a pretty good chance that it’s an older piece of equipment. These are the workhorses in many warehouses and DCs, capable of lasting for decades under ideal circumstances.
Still, just as with any piece of aging equipment, you probably find yourself wondering occasionally if there are steps that you can take to get more life out of your Accuglide. Maybe you’ve seen an increase in side-by-sides, breakage, or other exceptions during sortation. Maybe you’re not able to handle as much product as you used to, or as much as you need to. Maybe you’re just worried that the conveyor will eventually fail and leave you with a critical repair.
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Whatever your specific situation, there are definitely ways that you can get more value and return on investment out of your Accuglide. Below, we discuss four challenges you might be facing and offer a solution that could work for you.
Challenge #1: Your Accuglide keeps experiencing unplanned downtime.
If your Accuglide (or any piece of equipment, really) keeps experiencing unplanned downtime, chances are pretty good that you have not been keeping up with routine preventative maintenance.
Your first step in this scenario should be to power down the equipment, swap out all old parts and pieces for new ones, and then set a maintenance schedule that you stick to.
This shouldn’t be too time consuming, because the Accuglide is a remarkably simple piece of equipment. At its heart, it consists of:
- A track: Which is lifted from below by actuating diaphragms in order to control product accumulation. Though ultra-high molecular weight (UHMW) tracks can last for decades, the drive chain can begin to cut into it. Left uncorrected, this can cause tremendous damage to the machinery. How often this piece of equipment needs to be replaced will depend entirely on the throughput and the weight of product conveyed.
- A modified RC-50 chain: This chain runs in a big loop and drives the conveyor. As with other chains, these can snap, rust, or otherwise become damaged with age.
- A urethane driver pad: This is probably the most-replaced part of the Accuglide. Depending on how long you run the equipment and the type of product you convey, the padding can see a lot of wear and tear and need to be replaced pretty often.
The other part of the conveyor you should pay particular attention to is accumulation. Bad vales, bad solenoids, air leaks, faulty actuators or photo eyes can all cause major problems.
Challenge #2: Your Accuglide is no longer reliable during sortation.
If you have an older model of the Accuglide conveyor, it may or may not rely on mechanical sensors during the sortation process. While mechanical sensing can work well with larger orders/inventory or in operations with uniform packages, it can cause problems in facilities that handle smaller/lighter orders or those of varying sizes.
If you’re noticing a rise in exceptions caused by product damage or side-by-sides during sortation, upgrading from mechanical sensing can help.
ZoneFlex is the next generation solution designed to replace mechanical sensing. It relies on a combination of photo eyes and solenoids to identify product and control its accumulation.
Challenge #3: Your operation requires new functionality.
All order fulfillment operations change over time.
Maybe the type of product you handle has changed over the years as you have added new SKUs or retired old ones to match customer demand. Maybe the size of your average order has decreased as more and more of your business originates from ecommerce. Maybe the packaging you use has changed to avoid dimensional weight charges.
Whatever the case, there will likely come a time when you need to make changes to your equipment to better accommodate these changes. And there are many ways that you might achieve this with your Accuglide. For example, you might enhance your Accuglide with new controls, weigh scales, or other equipment in order to add new functionality or simply accomplish things more efficiently.
Challenge #4: Your Accuglide can’t keep up with demand.
If your Accuglide simply cannot keep up with the demand expected of it, it might be time to replace it with a different piece of equipment that will be better equipped to do so. But that does not necessarily need to mean the end of the line for your Accuglide. It’s possible to get new life out of the conveyor by utilizing it elsewhere.
For example, you might be able to put the conveyor to use in a different location within your facility that experiences less demand and throughput, which the Accuglide could handle. Or if you have a second facility that experiences less demand, you might make use of it there. In an absolute worst case scenario, it is possible to cannibalize the Accuglide for spare parts that you can use elsewhere as necessary.
Identifying the RightFIT Path
If you are unsure of what the future should hold for your Accuglide conveyor, it might be a good idea to get a second opinion from someone on the outside who can come to the situation with fresh eyes. A skilled systems integrator can help you determine the best strategy for squeezing as much value out of your equipment.
At Conveyco, our skilled technicians are experts at not only evaluating the equipment, but also in performing both routine maintenance and upkeep as well as full upgrades. They can also help you identify other potential solutions to your order fulfillment challenges. Ready to get started? Schedule a free consultation today.