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What Is a Motorized Conveyor?

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  • Written By: Paul Reed
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 24 November 2016
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    2003-2016
    Conjecture Corporation
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A motorized conveyor can define one of two types of equipment, but both are used for moving materials from one location to another. The first is a conveyor powered by a motor, or containing motorized parts such as rollers, that provide power to the conveyor unit to move materials uphill or at faster speeds than gravity alone. Another type of motorized conveyor is a truck-mounted unit that can be driven from one location to another to move materials in different places.

Motor-driven conveyors are used in a wide range of industries where product needs to be moved vertically upward before reaching the end of the conveyor. Gravity, or non-motorized, units can often be used when boxes or parts move vertically down, but some power must be provided to move materials up or over long level distances. A wide variety of conveyor designs can be motor-powered, including belts, rollers and tray systems.

Roller conveyors can be powered using small rollers inside each roller. These conveyors use horizontal rollers spaced at regular intervals, and each roller can contain a small direct-drive motor. A direct-drive roller contains a central shaft with wire motor windings, and the metal roller is the other half of the motor, which moves when electrical power is sent to the shaft motor. Direct-drive motors can be controlled at different speeds using a voltage controller, which allows the motorized conveyor to accommodate different production rates or other needs.

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Belt conveyors are typically designed with a rubber or reinforced cloth belt driven by a motor at one end. The belt is made in a loop, providing a continuous conveyor surface when running, and travels over support rollers at regular spacing to support the load. Heavy materials such as rocks or metals may require a motor at both end rollers to provide extra power. This type of motorized conveyor can be permanently mounted in place, or designed with wheels or skids to allow it to be moved.

Truck-mounted conveyors are used for baggage loading at commercial airports. A truck can be driven up to the aircraft parked at the terminal, and the motorized conveyor can be adjusted to reach the aircraft's baggage compartment. The conveyor may be powered by the truck engine, or by a separate motor, and includes controls for the baggage loader to start and stop the conveyor as needed.

A different type of conveyor is a motorized screw, which is designed with a central shaft and a screw-shaped continuous lifting plate, enclosed in a hollow cylinder tube. As the drive shaft turns, the screw collects material between the turns of the screw plate and the tube, and carries it upward until it reaches a discharge tube at the upper end. These conveyors are commonly used to move loose materials such as grains or powdered compounds that would not move well on a belt conveyor.

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