Upgrade Your Accuglide Conveyor With ZoneFlex
Many warehouses, DCs, and order fulfillment operations rely on an Accuglide Accumulation Conveyor, and for good reason: It’s a great piece of technology that does its job well. In addition to controlling product flow and optimizing throughput, the Accuglide can help mitigate product damage, reducing both inventory and labor costs and driving profits.
Unfortunately for operations which utilize earlier models of the Accuglide, there can be a problem: Those older models relied on mechanical sensors to guide product accumulation, which worked perfectly fine for yesterday’s product and orders but which can struggle with today’s often lighter, smaller, and more varied shipments.
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That is why ZoneFlex was developed. ZoneFlex replaces the older mechanical sensors with a combination of photo eyes and solenoids in order to improve functionality and help you get even more life out of your Accuglide conveyor.
Below, we explore some scenarios when it makes sense for an operation to upgrade to ZoneFlex, as well as a number of scenarios when it might not make sense.
When Upgrading to ZoneFlex Makes Sense
1. You’re seeing an increase in product breakage and side-by-sides.
These issues are caused by problems with the older mechanical sensors that the legacy Accuglide relies on.
Often, these issues can be traced back to the fact that the old sensors and rollers simply don’t handle today’s product as well as it should. Smaller and more varied product, as well as newer packaging like polybags, are simply more difficult to handle.
Side-by-sides and breakage cause exceptions during sortation and processing, which add up to longer production times, longer total order cycle times, greater labor costs, and all around poor efficiencies.
Upgrading to ZoneFlex may enable you to reduce those exceptions and improve all of your KPIs virtually overnight, providing higher throughputs, increased customer satisfaction, and near-instant ROI.
2. You have a Gen-1 Zone sensor which breaks.
After the original mechanical rollers, Accuglide conveyors were built using first-generation zone sensors which relied on a photo eye and solenoid in order to accumulate product. They were the first attempt at the technology used in today’s ZoneFlex technology.
Unfortunately, this technology was recently discontinued and has been retired. Replacement parts are no longer being produced or supplied.
If your Accuglide currently depends on a Gen-1 zone sensor and the sensor begins to malfunction or dies, you have few alternatives for replacement unless you can find a second-hand part. The most cost-effective option is likely to be to upgrade the system to the newer ZoneFlex.
Doing so preventatively will allow you to schedule your system’s downtime instead of risking an unscheduled failure and the subsequent lost business that it would entail.
3. You have multiple aging Accuglide conveyors.
If you have multiple aging Accuglide conveyors within your operation or supply chain, upgrading one of them with ZoneFlex could help in two ways.
On the one hand, it would allow you to bring one of your units up to current industry standards, which has value in and of itself. But it could also serve as a source of spare/replacement parts for your other units, if you do not have the funding or desire to upgrade all of your units at one.
This is often the case when Conveyco performs Accuglide upgrades. During the process of upgrading older models, our technicians will often salvage reusable parts from the upgraded unit in order to put them to use as backup parts for the second unit which has not been upgraded. The end result is that you get more value out of both pieces of equipment.
When Upgrading to ZoneFlex May Not Make Sense
While making the upgrade from mechanical sensors to ZoneFlex will often be the right decision, there are some cases where operations will realize fewer benefits from undergoing the upgrade.
For example, an operation with highly uniform product (in terms of the dimensions and weight of the packaging, etc.) are less likely to experience the higher volume of exceptions that typically comes from non-uniform packaging. In this case, so long as the older mechanical sensors are regularly maintained, upgrading to ZoneFlex may not be necessary or recommended.
It is worth noting, however, that an operation that has highly uniform light product might realize value in upgrading. This is because light product can often be held up by the sensor bar in older units, causing exceptions during sortation.
Making the Right Decision for Your Operation
If you are unsure of whether or not your Accuglide conveyor warrants an upgrade to ZoneFlex, a trusted systems integrator can help you evaluate your systems and identify your best path forward.
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.