A Guide to Conveyor Systems and How They Work

Whether they work manually or by motor, conveyor systems are a functional system used to make production lines easier. They are a great way to transport heavy stuff quickly, and they come in different types. Read on to understand how conveyors work and the various models. 


Conveyor Specifications

A conveyor has a maximum load capacity that depends on what it’s built for, and a load capacity per unit length in cases where the conveyor has to be designed to specific measurements. Throughput is an integral part as it measures how much a conveyor can handle transporting heavy materials. You also need to look at the frame configuration, which can vary from straight, curved, or other shapes. A conveyor’s drive can be found it different areas on the conveyor system. The end or the head are common locations, but there are also conveyors with drives found on the center to control the direction of flow.

Conveyor Types

A typical type of conveyor is the belt conveyor which has a belt stretched into a loop with two pulleys on each end. This type is excellent for moving large materials. Other types of conveyors are:

  • Roller conveyors are usually operated manually or by gravity. Its function depends on the roller diameter and the center axle measurements. Powered roller conveyors are used in packaging lines or food handling.

  • Magnetic conveyors can transport magnetic materials and remove chips in machining centers. These conveyors can function upside down due to electromagnets attached under the belt.

  • Overhead conveyors are used to handling materials that need to be hung like dry-cleaning lines or paint lines. They are installed in ceilings and move with the help of trolleys, chains, and cables. 

  • Pneumatic conveyors consist of sealed tubes that move materials through a vacuum. They’re great for transporting paper, boxes, and can even be used in dust collection.

Other Types of Conveyors

There a dozen more types that conveyors can come in, such as screw conveyors or slat conveyors. Screw or auger conveyors are designed in a helical system that uses rotational force to move materials. Slat conveyors are made of wood or steel and are designed to handle heavy objects like crates and drums. Slats are fabulous for heavy-duty loads because they help prolong the life of your conveyor. 

What to Know When Selecting Conveyors

A vital factor you should keep in mind when choosing a conveyor is the product that you’re transporting. You also need to look at the size of your materials as well as its flowability, moisture content, and even any temperature requirements for storing your products. Conveyors mainly serve two purposes: conveying and feeding. Conveying is the more general use and takes into consideration the number or drop points and pickup points. Feeding is different from conveying as it factors in the speed and rate of transporting the products. 


Conveyors have extensive uses and can be found everywhere in our daily lives, like in escalators and dry-cleaning services. Their use, however, is maximized in areas like food processing, pharmaceutical manufacturing, packaging, and so much more. These devices can come in complicated designs with sophisticated features, but their foundational purpose is to make moving objects more convenient.