A Guide to Roller Conveyors

Whether you’re shipping out orders or moving materials through manufacturing processes, your business will benefit from the right roller conveyor for the task at hand. This guide on roller conveyors will help you select the best option for your unique needs. Let’s roll straight in!

What is a Roller Conveyor?

A roller conveyor is a material handling system that uses a series of rotating cylinders to move goods or materials along a path. These rollers are mounted on a frame and can be powered (by motors) or unpowered (gravity fed), allowing items to roll along the surface with minimal effort.

Gravity Roller Conveyors

Roller Width and Pitch

The width of the rollers and the pitch – the distance between each roller – are critical for conveyor efficiency. Proper selection ensures items are supported adequately and move smoothly, preventing jams or damage.

Tighter Pitch: A tighter roller pitch is beneficial for smaller items or products that require more support and stability during transportation. It minimises the risk of items getting stuck or falling between the rollers, ensuring smooth and uninterrupted movement. Industries such as food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, and packaging often benefit from tighter pitches to handle smaller packages or containers with precision.

Wider Pitch: A wider roller pitch is suitable for larger items or products with irregular shapes that require more space between rollers. It allows for easier movement and reduces the risk of jams or obstructions, particularly for bulky or irregularly shaped items. Industries such as manufacturing, automotive, and construction often utilise wider pitches to accommodate larger components or products.

Types of Roller Conveyor Systems

Roller conveyors are available in various configurations to meet different operational needs. The two main types are:

Gravity Roller Conveyors

Gravity roller conveyors rely on the natural force of gravity to move materials along the conveyor path. As goods are placed on the rollers, they roll downhill to their destination without the need for external power. These conveyors are ideal for applications where a gentle slope and manual loading/unloading suffice.

Typical Applications

  • Warehousing and Distribution Centres – For order fulfilment and shipping operations.
  • Manufacturing Facilities – For assembly lines, product staging, and material transfer.
  • Retail – For stock replenishment, sorting, and order picking processes.
  • Airport Baggage Handling – For efficient luggage transport and sorting.
Gravity Roller Conveyors

Powered Roller Conveyors

Powered roller conveyors utilise motors to drive the rollers. These conveyors offer greater flexibility, making them suitable for high volume and automated operations. They can be customised with features such as sensors and programmable logic controllers (PLCs) for precise handling.

Typical Applications

  • Distribution and Fulfilment Centres – Sorting, merging, and diverting parcels and packages for shipping and distribution.
  • Manufacturing Facilities – Moving components, parts, and assemblies between production stages for assembly, inspection, or packaging.
  • Food and Beverage Processing – Handling trays, containers, and packages in food processing and packaging operations.
  • Automotive Industry – Transporting automotive components, parts, and assemblies along assembly lines for manufacturing and assembly processes.
powered roller conveyor system

Powered vs Gravity Conveyors

While both types have their advantages, choosing between powered and gravity roller conveyors depends on several factors – for example: your required throughput, budget, and the level of automation desired. Gravity conveyors are cost effective and low maintenance but are limited in their capabilities compared to powered systems, which offer greater control and efficiency.

end of line roller conveyors

The Top 5 Benefits of Using a Roller Conveyor

  1. Efficiency: Roller conveyors streamline material handling processes, reducing manual labour and increasing throughput.
  2. Safety: Prevents accidents caused by heavy lifting and moving heavy objects.
  3. Scalability: Easily expandable and reconfigurable, they can grow and adapt to changing business needs.
  4. Durable and Hygienic: Our stainless steel roller conveyors are built to withstand harsh industrial environments and heavy usage, as well as being easy to clean.
  5. Cost Effective: With minimal maintenance required and a long service life, roller conveyors offer a high return on investment over time.

Choose the Right Roller Conveyor for Your Business at Unitech

At Unitech Conveyors, we specialise in designing and manufacturing stainless steel conveyor systems tailored to your specific needs. With our expertise and a broad range of roller conveyor options, we’ll ensure that you choose the right system for all your handling processes. We’re here to help drive your business forward in today’s competitive market.

Contact us today on 01543 675800 to learn more about our stainless steel conveyor systems. We’re always happy to advise you and answer any queries you may have.

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