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A pallet conveyor is a piece of industrial equipment that is designed to facilitate easy transport of goods loaded on a metal support known as a pallet through a factory or warehouse space. The pallet itself is usually made of wood, though other materials can be used; the pallet will support the weight of various goods stacked and secured on it, and it will prevent these goods from becoming damaged or stuck along the pallet conveyor system. The conveyor itself is likely to feature either a series of cylinders known as rollers or a belt system.
Rollers are most often used in unpowered systems, though some powered systems doe exist that use rollers to facilitate movement of the pallets along the track. An unpowered pallet conveyor will feature a series of rollers laid in succession within the conveyor frame; the pallet must then be moved manually along the track, and the rollers will help keep the pallet in motion by reducing friction between the rollers and the pallet itself. Powered pallet conveyor systems will feature one or more drive chains that run through the frame, turning the rollers and moving the pallet along the track without the need for a human attendant to push it.
Other pallet conveyor systems may use a belt drive instead. The belt will be fitted around a series of rollers, some of which will act merely as support units and some of which will actually drive the belt. The pallet will sit on the belt, and it will be pulled along the track as the belt moves. Belt systems are exceptionally useful, but they can wear out fairly quickly. The belt must be tensioned properly to prevent it from derailing off the track or otherwise becoming torn or damaged.
Sometimes the pallet conveyor is a portable system that can be folded up and transported to various locations. Such systems will generally feature hinged metal frames that can either fold in on themselves in an accordion style, or modular tracks that can be assembled and disassembled quickly and easily. The key to such systems is portability: not only must the system be stable and usable when set up, but it must also be easy enough to break down and compact for storage in a truck, trailer, or other transport vehicle. The rollers must be durable enough to resist damage from regular use, as well as from potential impact that can occur during transport.