How Conveyor Design Can Reduce Energy Costs
The energy bill is often the most expensive ongoing cost for manufacturers. According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, the industrial sector accounted for nearly 60% of all U.S. energy consumption last year.
What causes so much energy consumption? For most facilities, it’s the conveyor system. Badly designed transport and accumulation conveyor systems can use up to 50% of a facility's power with older technology and systems being the worst offenders.
If you’re seeking to reduce energy costs, a prime target should be your conveyor system. Here’s are some strategies you should consider:
Design flexibility into your system
A key component to conveyor design is ensuring you’re able to modify and adjust the system as the demands of your operations change. Friction, the enemy of moving things, increases energy costs and produces wear and tear on equipment. Factors that cause friction include, the weight of the moving items and how much material handling occurs during throughput.
The flexibility to change your conveyor system from individual zone accumulation to dynamic zone allocation could significantly enhance the throughput and lower energy demands.
Modify or redesign your system to run only when needed
Designing your system to require a positive input from a sensor or similar prior to activation of a zone is best practice. Conveyor systems that only run or use power when needed are a critical component in reducing the energy consumption of conveyors. Motors are connected to a controller which makes local decisions based upon device input status as to whether it commutates (drives) or shuts down individual motors to conserve energy.
If you love motorized rollers – and who doesn’t – look for controllers that use dual zones. Dual-zone controllers allow for perfect rail symmetry while giving you the best zone utilization for a full picking, packing or sortation system. You don’t want to waste any of those motor/sensor ports.
Take advantage of product advances
Today’s conveyor part suppliers know their customers – and their customer’s customers – are desiring more eco-friendly products. Many vendors offer energy efficient options that use less energy, produce less noise and, yet, still provide the starting torque and power you need.
PULSEROLLER customers have reported savings as high as 70% on their utility bills after implementing its Senergy and ConveyLinx products, an energy-saving line of intelligent motorized drives, controls and accessories. Senergy can move products up to 1,000 feet per minute. Its ranges and performance characteristics are suitable for speeds between 6fpm to 969fpm and starting torque up to an amazing 215 in/lbs.
Look for advanced intelligence
Another product advancement is advanced intelligence. Motorized drives now come with microprocessors inside to process important data about the motor, such as actual motor temperature, run cycle time, overload count and motor positioning data. This information can provide insight into throughput levels so you can modify them as needed.
Keep up with maintenance
Lastly, don't neglect routine maintenance. Systems that are not in top condition require more energy.