Question: What are the constraints and limitations of conveyor systems in warehousing operations? Explain.
- Complexity in planning layout to use conveyor systems
A conveyor system requires minimum space within the warehouse. Hence, the designer needs to consider the layout of the activities in the warehouse and place the conveyor system in a position that least obstruct the activity flow within the warehouse.
- High installation cost (High start-up cost)
To implement the conveyor system within the warehouse, the start-up cost and installation incurred is very high. Hence when considering this option, the planner must be able to justify for the high cost. For example, a conveyor system allows a large operation to work more effeciently.
- Inflexibility of movement
A conveyor system only moves goods along a fixed path. Entrance and exit points of the conveyors only exist along the conveyor lines. Hence, the movement is restricted to points along conveyor lines.
-Weight and size limit of goods
Different types of conveyors have different limit in terms of weight and size and these limits affects the speed of operations. For heavier and bulkier goods, conveyors cannot move too fast for safety precautions; prevent damages to goods and injuries to nearby staffs. Hence, not all goods are feasible for transportation by conveyors.
Some conveyors have special features to enhance their productivity. In some cases, conveyors are sometimes built underground or overhead. These features helps to save space, ease congestions and avoid clashes in operations. However, these features are limited to only a few types of goods due to their operation speed, size of goods, durability of goods etc. For example, Singpost utilizes an overhead conveyor system for letter sortation. Occasionally, some letters may drop from the overhead conveyors. However, the parcels utilize an normal gravity conveyors instead of an overhead one. This is for safety precautions.
- Requires a big space for the conveyor systems
The warehouse needs a large area to implement the conveyor system because it is very bulky and the belts of the conveyors may be very long. Hence, the warehouse needs to be big enough to install the conveyors systems. Also, the right type of conveyors must be used to ensure maximum space utilisation.
- Break down of conveyor systems
When the conveyor system breaks down, it will cause a cease in all operations along conveyor lines. For example: order-picking activities, marshalling activities, etc. this will lead to inefficiency as the warehouse is forced to stop all the operation for maintainence. This leads to a loss in potential revenue due to late deliveries, loss of sales, etc.
- Proper Trainings of Staffs
Lack of proper training or knowledge in handling the conveyors systems might lead to injuries to working personnels. Hence, they must be trained and adhere to the safety practices and procedures when operating the conveyor systems. The trainings provided to staff might be time consuming and costly.
Possible Consequences: (Article)
Man caught in conveyor belt at metals plant dies.
7 November 2007
Associated Press Newswires
(c) 2007. The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
AUBURN, N.Y. (AP) -
A worker caught in machinery was crushed to death at a metal processing plant.
The victim, John Barreto, 47, was trying to clear a conveyor belt while working alone at night at the Auburn Metal Processing Plant in Sennett when he got caught and was pulled into the machinery and crushed, state police said. Co-workers found his body when they showed up at the factory on Tuesday morning. An investigator with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration was sent to the plant to investigate the accident.
Companies can heighten employees' safety by considering conveyors that are designed for greater safety: (Article)
Dorner's New 5200 Series QWIK Conveyor Eliminates Belt Pinch Points for Greater Worker Safety
10 January 2008
Product News Network
Copyright (c) 2008. Thomas Publishing Company. All Rights Reserved.
Hartland, Wis., (November 28, 2007) - There are enough hidden dangers out on the plant floor to worry about - your conveyor system shouldn't be one of them.
The new 5200 Series QWIK Conveyor system from Dorner Manufacturing comes with a completely contained belt. This innovative design feature greatly improves worker safety by eliminating catenary sag and reducing pinch points of the belt as it moves around the pulley and along the frame. The specially designed UHMW plastic hold-down strips contain the belt by wrapping around the ends of the conveyor, reducing the chances of getting a finger caught during operation
5200 Series QWIK Conveyor
Dorner's 5200 Series QWIK Conveyor, which launched in August 2007, allows end users to modify the length, or even add or remove a curve, to adjust to changing applications. These unique design features give end-users with industrial, automation or packaging applications the ultimate in flexibility by being able to quickly and easily modify their conveyor systems when the application changes.
The new 5200 Series QWIK Conveyor is a proven time and money saver. Production lines change all the time, and the 5200 Series is designed to change right along with them. Instead of designing your own conveyor, or waiting weeks for a conveyor to arrive to accommodate a new line in the plant, the 5200 Series QWIK Conveyor can be shortened or extended simply, by one person in as little as 10 minutes.
Reconfiguring the conveyor is a breeze. To shorten or lengthen the conveyor, remove the plastic chain belt and simply cut the conveyor with a saw to the desired length. Remove the appropriate amount of belt links to fit the new length and tighten the screws with an Allen wrench. To add length, remove the tail and insert a new section of pre-ordered frame and tighten with an Allen wrench. End users can also change a curve that used to go left, and make it go right without having to purchase any additional components. It's really that easy. In no time, your line is back up and running.
The 5200 Series QWIK Conveyor comes in straights, curves and cleats, and works great in a
variety of industrial, automation and packaging applications. Hartland, Wisconsin-based Dorner Manufacturing is a world leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of high-quality conveyors and related equipment. Since 1973, companies from around the world have turned to Dorner conveyors for greatly improved efficiency and productivity. For more information about products or company news, visit Dorner's Web site at www.dorner.com .