Conveyor Safety: Types, Hazards and Control Measures
A conveyor system is a common piece of mechanical handling equipment that moves materials from one location to another. Conveyors are especially useful in applications involving the transportation of heavy or bulky materials. Conveyor systems allow quick and efficient transportation for various materials, making them very popular in the material handling and packaging industries. This blog post will discuss the types of conveyors, the hazards, and some control measures that can help keep workers safe.
Conveyor systems are an essential part of any business that involves the movement of heavy or bulky materials. Conveyors allow businesses to move these materials quickly and efficiently without having to rely on manual labour to do so. This can save a lot of time and money in the long run and improve safety by reducing the risk of injuries associated with manual material handling.
Conveyor systems can be used in various applications, including packaging, assembly, and manufacturing. They can also transport finished products to distribution centres or warehouses. In some cases, conveyor systems are even used to move materials from one side of a factory to the other.
How Do Conveyor Systems Work?
A conveyor system is a ubiquitous tool in any manufacturing facility. With one belt stretched across two or more pulleys, this simple yet effective piece of equipment can move items from one location to another as it continually rotates and drives them along its path with the help of an engine-powered motor known as “the drive pulley” which operates just off your input energy!
The most common conveyor systems use rotating belts to power their moving parts. The drive pulley and idler must run in the same direction, clockwise or counterclockwise, for effective belt movement; this makes them great!
Conventional conveyor systems such as moving walkways and grocery store conveyors are straight. However, sometimes the unit needs to turn for items to be delivered properly where they’re needed most- this is done by using cone-shaped wheels or rotors that allow belts to follow bends without getting tangled up on corners!
Benefits Of Conveyor Systems
There are many benefits of conveyor systems. Perhaps the most obvious is that they can save you a lot of time and effort in moving materials from one point to another. In a factory setting, for example, goods can be loaded onto a conveyor belt at the beginning of the production line and then moved along the line until they reach the end, where they can be unloaded and packaged for shipping.
Other benefits of conveyor systems include:
1. Increased efficiency and productivity
Conveyor systems have been shown to increase efficiency and productivity in various industries. They can help reduce or eliminate the need for manual labour, saving time and money. Additionally, conveyor systems can help reduce injuries by eliminating the need for employees to lift heavy items or perform other physically demanding tasks.
2. Reduced costs
Conveyor systems can help reduce the overall cost of a production line by reducing the need for manual labour. Additionally, conveyor systems can help reduce workplace injuries, reducing workers’ compensation costs. Conveyor systems can also help improve product quality by reducing the risk of damage during transport.
3. Improved safety
Conveyor systems can help improve safety in the workplace by eliminating the need for employees to lift heavy items or perform other physically demanding tasks. Additionally, conveyor systems can help reduce the risk of workplace injuries, such as slips and falls.
4. Enhanced flexibility
Conveyor systems can be designed to accommodate a wide variety of products and production lines. They can also be easily reconfigured to accommodate changes in product mix or production volume. This flexibility can help improve the overall efficiency of a production line.
5. Increased reliability
Conveyor systems are often more reliable than manual labour, which can help reduce downtime and improve product quality. Additionally, conveyor systems can often be designed with built-in redundancies, which can help keep a production line running even if one component fails.
6. Improved environmental sustainability
Conveyor systems can help reduce the environmental impact of a production line by eliminating the need for employees to transport materials manually. Additionally, conveyor systems can help reduce the waste generated by a production line.
7. Enhanced security
Conveyor systems can often be designed with enhanced security features, such as tamper-proof enclosures and sensors. These features can help protect sensitive products and materials from theft or damage.
The benefits of conveyor systems are many and varied. They can help improve efficiency and productivity, reduce costs, improve safety, enhance flexibility, increase reliability, improve environmental sustainability, and enhance security. When considering a conveyor system for your production line, it is important to consult with a professional to determine which type of system would best suit your needs.
Types Of Conveyor Systems
A conveyor system is a common piece of mechanical handling equipment that moves materials from one location to another. Conveyors are especially useful in applications involving the transportation of heavy or bulky materials. Conveyor systems allow quick and efficient transportation for various materials, making them very popular in the material handling and packaging industries.
1. Belt Conveyor System
The most common type of conveyor system is the belt conveyor system. This system uses a continuously looped belt over two or more rollers to create a friction-based movement system. The belt can be made from various materials, including fabric, rubber, or plastic. Belt conveyor systems are often used in assembly or packaging lines because they allow for precise control of product positioning and are very versatile.
2. Chain Conveyors
Chain conveyors use an endless chain to transport material down a production line. The chain runs over sprockets at each end of the line and can have special attachments. Chain conveyors are used extensively in many industries, including mining, automotive, food processing, and packaging.
Chain conveyors are the workhorses of the material handling world. These versatile systems are used to move heavy loads – bulky materials that are very wide or very long (or both), such as industrial containers, grid boxes, and pallets. Chain conveyors can also be found in the pharmaceutical industry, as well as the automotive industry. Chain systems typically convey vehicle parts through paint plants, allowing for easier paint application.
Chain conveyors are very versatile and can be used to transport a wide variety of materials. They are available in various sizes and can be customized to meet the specific needs of your application. Chain conveyors are an efficient and cost-effective way to move materials from one point to another.
3. Cable Conveyor
Cable conveyor systems preserve material integrity and minimise direct contact with food materials, especially in tubular cable conveyors. These systems move material through a sealed tube with the help of a flexible, coated stainless steel drag cable. Solid discs are attached to the cable, pushing the material through the line.
This conveyor type is ideal for delicate products or requiring sanitary conditions. Cable conveyors can also be used to incline or decline products and for horizontal transport. A cable conveyor system is a perfect solution if you want a hygienic and reliable way to move food products.
4. Pneumatic Conveyors
Pneumatic conveyors are a conveying system that uses air pressure to move materials through a pipeline. These systems are often used in manufacturing and other industrial applications where materials need to be moved quickly and efficiently. Pneumatic conveyors can be used to move a variety of different materials, including powders, granules, and even some liquids.
There are two main types of pneumatic conveyors: positive displacement and negative displacement. Positive displacement conveyors use a rotating impeller to move air through the system, while negative displacement conveyors use an air compressor to create a vacuum.
Pneumatic conveyors are often used to transport materials that are difficult to move with other conveyors. For example, very fine or dusty materials can be difficult to move with a belt conveyor because they might fall through the spaces between the belts. Pneumatic conveyors can also be used to move abrasive or corrosive materials, which might damage other types of conveyors.
5. Roller Conveyors
Roller conveyors are one of the most efficient ways to move heavy or bulky materials from one point to another. They are often used in industrial and commercial settings, such as warehouses and factories, and in residential settings, such as garages and basements. Roller conveyors use a series of rollers to move items along a conveyor belt. The rollers are usually steel or plastic and can be either powered or unpowered. Power roller conveyors use a motor to move the rollers, while unpowered roller conveyors rely on gravity to move items along the belt.
Roller conveyors are a versatile way to transport materials from one point to another. They can be used to move items of all shapes and sizes and can be customized to fit the specific needs of any application. Roller conveyors are often used in conjunction with other types of conveyors, such as belts or chain conveyors, to create a complete conveying system.
Other Types Of Conveyors
There’s a list below outlining the different types of conveyor systems that are available today.
- Aero-mechanical conveyors
- Automotive conveyors
- Belt-driven live roller conveyors
- Bucket conveyor
- Overland conveyor
- Plastic belt conveyors
- Electric track vehicle systems
- Gravity skate wheel conveyor
- Pharmaceutical conveyors
- Spiral conveyors
- Vibrating conveyors
- Screw or auger conveyor
- Chain-driven live roller conveyor
- Drag conveyor
- Dust-proof conveyors
- Flexible conveyors
- Gravity conveyor
- Lineshaft roller conveyor
- Motorised-drive roller conveyor
- Overhead I-beam conveyors
- Vertical conveyors
- Wire mesh conveyors
Each of these conveyor systems can be made bespoke for each business with different add-ons and ancillary equipment to ensure it can handle the load, move the products at the required speed, or deal with the material without ripping or breaking the conveyor belt.
Hazards Associated With Conveyor System
There are many potential hazards associated with conveyor systems. Some of the most common hazards include:
- Caught in/between: This hazard occurs when a person is caught between two or more moving parts of the conveyor system.
- Crushing: This hazard occurs when a person is crushed by a moving part of the conveyor system.
- Entanglement: This hazard occurs when a person’s clothing or the body becomes entangled in the moving parts of the conveyor system.
- Falls: This hazard occurs when a person falls from the conveyor system.
- Hitting: This hazard occurs when a person is hit by a moving part of the conveyor system.
- Reaching: This hazard occurs when a person reaches into the moving parts of the conveyor system.
- Slipping: This hazard occurs when a person slips on the conveyor system.
- Tripping: This hazard occurs when a person trips on the conveyor system.
Safety Controls When Working Near Conveyors
A variety of conveyor safety controls can be used to help ensure the safety of your employees and your equipment. Here are 15 of the most common conveyor safety controls that you should consider for your facility:
1. Emergency Stop Buttons
Emergency stop buttons are one of the most important safety controls for conveyors. They should be easily accessible and clearly marked to ensure that operators can quickly shut down the system in an emergency.
There are a few different types of emergency stop buttons that can be used on conveyors, so choosing the one that best suits your needs is important. Here are some of the most common options:
- Manual reset button: This type of button must be manually reset after it has been activated, which means that someone must physically go to the machine and reset it before it can be restarted. This is usually the safest option, as it prevents accidental restarts.
- Automatic reset button: This type of button will automatically reset itself after it has been activated, which means that the conveyor can be restarted without anyone having to physically go to the machine. However, this option is not as safe as a manual reset button, as it could potentially be accidentally activated.
- Remote reset button: This type of button can be reset from a distance, which is helpful if the emergency stop button is not easily accessible. However, it’s important to ensure that only authorized personnel have access to the remote reset button, as it could be misused if it falls into the wrong hands.
No matter which type of emergency stop button you choose, it’s important to ensure it is tested regularly to ensure that it works properly. A failed emergency stop button could have devastating consequences, so it’s important to ensure it is always in good working condition.
2. Safety Guards
There are many potential hazards when working with conveyors. To help protect employees, it is important to use safety guards. Safety guards can help prevent injuries from moving parts and contact with hazardous materials.
When selecting a safety guard, it is important to consider the type of hazard it will protect against. For example, a barrier guard may be needed if there is a risk of entanglement. If there is a risk of contact with moving parts, a protective cover may be needed.
It is also important to consider the location of the hazard. For example, an end-of-line guard may be needed if the hazard is at the end of the conveyor belt. If the hazard is along the length of the conveyor belt, a mid-line guard may be needed.
3. Lockout/Tagout Procedures
It is important to follow safe Conveyors’ Safety practices when performing maintenance or repairs on conveyor systems. Lockout/Tagout procedures help ensure that equipment is properly shut down and locked out before work is performed. These procedures help protect workers from serious injuries or death.
To lockout a conveyor system, follow these steps:
- Turn off the power to the conveyor system.
- Lock out the power source with a keyed lock.
- Place a tag on the lock stating that the conveyor system is being repaired or serviced.
- Test the conveyor system to ensure it cannot be turned on while working on it.
- Remove the lock and tag when you have finished your repairs or maintenance.
- Turn on the power to the conveyor system and test it to ensure it works properly.
Lockout/Tagout procedures help ensure that equipment is properly shut down and locked out before maintenance or repairs are performed.
4. Conveyor Belts
Conveyor belts are an essential part of any conveyor system, and they must be properly tensioned and aligned to work effectively. Additionally, conveyor belts should be inspected regularly for wear or damage. A problem should be addressed immediately to avoid further damage or potential injuries if it is discovered.
Conveyor belts are made from strong, durable materials such as rubber or polyester. However, over time, even these tough materials can succumb to wear and tear. That’s why it’s important to inspect conveyor belts regularly and address any problems discovered immediately.
If you notice any fraying, cracks, or other damage to your conveyor belt, don’t try to repair it yourself. Instead, contact a professional for assistance. Attempting a DIY repair could end up making the problem worse and could even lead to injuries.
By following these simple tips, you can help ensure that your conveyor belt remains in good condition and that your conveyor system continues to operate safely and effectively.
5. Rollers and Pulleys
Rollers and pulleys are key components of any conveyor system, so it’s important to ensure they’re always in good working condition. Proper lubrication and regular inspection can help extend the life of your rollers and pulleys and keep your conveyor system running smoothly.
If you notice any wear or damage on your rollers or pulleys, be sure to replace them immediately. Using damaged components can cause serious problems down the line, so it’s always best to err on the side of caution.
Following these simple tips can help keep your conveyor system running smoothly and safely for years to come.
6. Slider Beds
Slider beds are an important part of conveyor systems as they provide a smooth surface for products to travel. However, they can pose a serious safety hazard if they are not properly maintained. Here are some tips for keeping your slider beds safe:
- Keep them clean and free of debris.
- Inspect them regularly for signs of wear or damage.
- Replace worn or damaged parts immediately.
- Never operate a conveyor with a missing or damaged slider bed.
These simple tips will help ensure that your slider beds are safe and reliable.
One of the most important parts of a conveyor system is the bearings. These small devices support the conveyor belt and keep it moving smoothly. If they are not properly lubricated and free of debris, they can cause the belt to stall or even break. Additionally, bearings should be inspected regularly for signs of wear or damage.
If you are responsible for operating a conveyor system, it is important to be aware of the potential hazards and take steps to prevent accidents. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper use and maintenance of the conveyor system.
- Never try to repair a conveyor belt or bearing while the system is still in operation. Shut down the system and follow lockout/Tagout procedures before performing any maintenance.
- Inspect the conveyor belt and bearings regularly for signs of wear or damage. Replace worn or damaged parts immediately.
- Keep the area around the conveyor system clean and free of debris. This will help prevent accidents and ensure that the system runs smoothly.
These simple safety tips can help prevent accidents and ensure your conveyor system runs smoothly.
8. Take-Up Assemblies
Take-up assemblies are an important part of conveyor safety. They should be properly tensioned, aligned, and regularly inspected for wear or damage. If a take-up assembly is not properly maintained, it can cause the conveyor belt to slip or break, leading to serious injuries.
If you are responsible for maintaining a conveyor belt, ensure you properly tension and align a take-up assembly. Inspect the assembly regularly for signs of wear or damage, and replace any worn or damaged parts. These simple steps will help keep your conveyor belt running safely and smoothly.
Brake systems on conveyors help keep them safe by allowing them to stop quickly in an emergency. However, brakes can wear out over time or become damaged, so it’s important to inspect them regularly and replace them as needed.
If you’re unsure how to properly inspect or maintain your conveyor’s brakes, consult a qualified technician. And always make sure to follow all safety guidelines when using conveyors.
10. Sheaves and Sprockets
Sheaves and sprockets are important components of conveyors, and it is important to keep them properly lubricated and free of debris. They should also be inspected regularly for signs of wear or damage. By taking these simple steps, you can help ensure that your conveyor system remains safe and efficient.
By following these conveyor safety controls, you can help ensure the safety of your employees and your equipment.
Many others different safety controls can help prevent accidents when working near conveyors. Some of the most common safety controls include:
- Conveyor Guards: Conveyor guards are used to protecting workers from moving parts.
- Lockout/Tagout Procedures: Lockout/Tagout procedures are used to prevent accidental start-up of the conveyor system.
- Warning Signs: Warning signs are used to warn workers of potential hazards.
- Safety Procedures When Working Near Conveyors
- Wearing proper personal protective equipment: Personal protective equipment, such as gloves, safety glasses, and hard hats, can help protect workers from injuries.
- Keeping hands and feet away from moving parts: Workers should keep their hands and feet away from moving parts to prevent being caught in/between or crushed by the conveyor system.
- Staying aware of potential hazards: Workers should be aware of potential hazards, such as falling or being hit by a moving part and take precautions to avoid these hazards.
- Following lockout/Tagout procedures: Workers should follow the proper procedures for locking and tagging the conveyor system before working on it.
- Reporting unsafe conditions: Workers should report any unsafe conditions, such as loose clothing or objects near the conveyor system, to a supervisor.
- Chains and sprockets should be properly lubricated and free of debris.
- Couplings and U-joints should be properly lubricated and free of debris.
- Shafts, gears, and bearings should be properly lubricated and debris-free.
- Electrical controls should be properly installed and in good working condition. They should also be inspected regularly for signs of wear or damage.
Essential Parts Of A Conveyor System
A conveyor system has three main components: the belt, the pulleys, and the motors. The belt is what moves the product along the line. The pulleys help keep the belt in place and provide resistance so the product does not slip. The motors provide the power to move the belt and keep it moving at a consistent speed. Conveyor systems can be very simple or very complex, depending on the particular application’s needs.
- The belt is the most important part of the conveyor system. It is made up of two or more layers of bonded material. The top layer is called the cover, and the bottom layer is called the carcass. The cover is what comes in contact with the product being conveyed. The carcass supports the cover and helps keep it in place. The belt is usually made of rubber or polyester.
- The pulleys are the second most important part of the conveyor system. They keep the belt in place and provide resistance so the product does not slip. The pulleys are usually made of metal or plastic.
- The motors are the third most important part of the conveyor system. They provide the power to move the belt and keep it moving at a consistent speed. Motors can be electric, hydraulic, or pneumatic.
Conveyor systems can be very simple or very complex, depending on the particular application’s needs. Simple conveyor systems can be used for applications such as moving light products from one point to another. Complex conveyor systems can be used for applications such as moving heavy products or very fragile products.
When choosing a conveyor system, it is important to consider the type of product that will be conveyed, the weight of the product, the speed at which the product will be conveyed, and the environment in which the conveyor system will be used. It is also important to consider the type of motor used. Electric motors are the most common type of motor used in conveyor systems. Hydraulic motors are also used in some conveyor systems. Pneumatic motors are sometimes used in conveyor systems.
How To Choose The Right Conveyor System
There are many factors to consider when choosing the right conveyor system for your business. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- The type of products you need to transport.
- The weight and size of the products.
- The speed at which the products need to be moved.
- The distance the products need to be transported.
- The conveyor system’s environment will be used (indoor or outdoor).
- The budget for the conveyor system.
- The amount of space you have for the conveyor system.
- The level of automation you need.
- The level of customization you need.
- The vendor you choose to work with.
When choosing the right conveyor system, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. It’s important to take the time to consider all of the above factors to select the best system for your business.
Contact a reputable vendor today if you need help choosing the right conveyor system for your business. They will be able to help you assess your needs and recommend the best solution for your application.