Simple Transportation Conveyor

A common question we get asked is “How can we use MDR in more conventional transportation conveyor applications?”  Sometimes you simply need “live roller conveyor” in a system where you already are using zoned MDR in other places and you would like to keep your entire conveyor 24V MDR.  But when you add up the cost, 100 ft of MDR with typical 30” zones probably costs more that 100ft of conventional live roller with a single 460V motor.  If you could get away with much longer zones to reduce the number of MDR’s, the cost comparison becomes less of an issue.  With PULSEROLLERs and ConveyLinx controls, you have an easy solution.

You start with your conveyor design and create long zones.  These zones can be let’s say somewhere between 5 and 10 ft. The first thing is that the typical “O-Ring” belting between the MDR and idlers will not work for such long zones.  You will need to make these full belted zones or utilize “Micro-V Groove” belting (a standard option for Pulse Rollers).  With the proper mechanics in place, you simply size your Pulse Roller based upon torque/speed requirements for your 5 to 10 ft. zones, noting that you can use 2 MDRs per belted zone if the mechanics require it.  Keep in mind that ConveyLinx controls can automatically detect dual MDR zones and configure operation accordingly, so you don’t have to worry about custom programming or special setup to have 2 MDR’s in one logical zone.

Now, if you have some ConveyLinx experience, you may be thinking “Hey, normal ConveyLinx ZPA function controls singulates packages from zone to zone, tracks packages, has Flexible Zone Recognition, detects jams, among other things!  I need all or most of this stuff turned off to make my conveyor work more like live roller!” and you would be right.  You essentially do not want a rigid zoned zero pressure control scheme.  What you want is transportation and the ability to accumulate packages in larger chunks and you don’t really care about one package per zone.  Let’s say you want packages to accumulate in a reasonable fashion when conditions at the discharge say “stop”, but have the conveyor operate more or less as live roller transportation when you don’t need to stop the discharge.  We have come up with a method to make this easy for you to do.

You can do this with ConveyLinx and some nifty set up in EasyRoll. All you need is Firmware version 3.28 or later and EasyRoll version 2.66 or later.   Once you have sized your Pulse Rollers based upon your mechanical drive train requirements (laws of physics – you can’t ignore them!) and installed ConveyLinx on your conveyor, you are ready to go.  You perform Auto-Configuration on your conveyor line just like normal and you control the release at the discharge end and “wake up” at the in-feed end like normal (hardwired to Control Port or with PLC Instance).  Here is what you need to do to turn your line into “live roller transportation with accumulation”:

  1. Set your Jam timers for all of these zones to be a little more than the travel time for your long zones at the speed you need to run.  The default values (5 sec) may be too short.

  2. Disable Flex Zone functionality for all of these long zones (Advanced Screen – Flex Zone Tab)

  3. On the Main Screen, check the “Disable Arrival Timeout” box for all zones

  4. On the Main Screen, select Train or Gap Train mode for all of these zones.

You are done!  Now your conveyor will operate like transportation conveyor as long as your most downstream zone is OK to release.  When you accumulate your most downstream zone, the individual upstream zones will accumulate when their respective sensors become blocked.  You may not have perfect spacing between packages and have some gaps here and there, but you don’t care because it is simple transportation conveyor!  

If you have questions or would like to see a specific Pat's Corner let us know at , by phone at (800-764-6356) or you can find me on Google+ to discuss.