Accumulation conveyors allow cases to queue up on a conveyor in between processes. But it has become as ubiquitous to conveyor systems as belt conveyors. Without the ability to accumulate containers from process to process, the entire system can only move as fast as its slowest process.
How do accumulation conveyors work?
Accumulation conveyors are typically operated by chain or a small drive belt, but can also be driven by a 24v roller. In the case of the first two, the dive mechanism runs continuously, and photo eye sensors actuate an air bladder to raise or lower the drive train to connect with the rollers. For the 24v style accumulation conveyor, the drive roller turns on and off to stop a single case in a zone.
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Accumulation conveyors can be zero or zone-to-zone contact. With both options the sensors look upstream to the zone being controlled. If a product is in this zone (meaning the current zone cannot move forward), the drive apparatus drops out and allows the case to stay while the rest of the conveyor runs behind it. This creates a conveyor queue until a process downstream accepts the product on the conveyor and the cases move forward.
How an Accumulation Conveyor Will Impact Your Operations
Accumulation is a requirement for almost any conveyor system. Cases need to queue up prior to a merge, sorter, or routing into a put-away or picking process. Without an accumulation conveyor the throughput of all systems would be greatly reduced. They decouple the processes downstream from the upstream and allow both to process as efficiently as possible.
Accumulation conveyors have some of the following features:
- Photo eye accumulation senses product
- Solenoids control troll to air mechanisms
- 9 dia. rollers carry product
- Varying speeds a release logic types
Operations benefit from an Accumulation conveyor by providing operations the following:
- Buffers product in between processes
- De-couples processes allowing each to be efficient
- Queues up products to merge lines together
- Creates high throughput rates by bunching products together
Common Accumulation Conveyor Applications
Accumulation conveyors work in any application. The hardware can be configured for small or large parcels, corrugate or bags, and low or high sortation throughput. Here are a few applications that an Accumulation conveyor can operate in:
- Zone routing systems
- Batch based pick-to-put system
- Sortation systems
- E-commerce pack out systems
- Spiral Conveyor Systems
The range of functions make this specific type of conveyor a real asset to those who may face challenges organizing multiple SKUs with a variety of different parcel types.
Implementing a Conveyor System with Conveyco
Conveyco has been applying conveyor to order fulfillment systems for over 40 years. Our engineering department can apply an Accumulation conveyor correctly to minimize capital expenses while keeping the system functioning as needed. Accumulation conveyor systems are often an afterthought, but our engineering team understands the importance of doing things correctly, as well as the pain that is caused by improper design.
Conveyco has spent decades building relationships with the best in breed conveyor lines to ensure they have a wide array of tools curated to seamless recommendations of manufacturers that best fit each application. There is a fine line between minimizing costs and giving away functionality. Each situation is different, and Conveyco knows where conveyor capital is best spent, and where the opportunities for value engineering exist.