In the rapidly advancing landscape of manufacturing automation, conveyors are no longer just means of transportation; they’ve become instrumental in achieving precise material or product placement. Today, conveyors are expected to consistently deliver products to exact locations, whether stationary or dynamic. The choice of conveyor equipment plays a pivotal role in determining a system’s ability to achieve this level of reliability.

This discussion delves into various conveyor types and compares their positional accuracy, drawing from results published by Dorner Manufacturing in 2019, along with data from different conveyor manufacturers. While multiple factors can influence final product positioning, for our purposes here, we assume that materials can be accurately placed and travel without slippage on the belt surface, without the need for additional fixtures.

Conveyors have long been acknowledged for their essential role in manufacturing, simplifying the transportation of products between different production stages. However, they offer more advantages than meet the eye. Conveyors substantially reduce labor requirements, minimize work in process (WIP), potentially lowering material-carrying costs and reducing the risk of material loss or scrap. Additionally, conveyors can strategically introduce buffers between processes, enhancing overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). Furthermore, they contribute significantly to workplace safety by minimizing direct worker-machine interaction and mitigating repetitive motion injuries.

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