A slat conveyor is a piece of equipment used to move objects down a line. Most are constructed out of steel or some type of hard wood. These devices are used most commonly in the material handling and packaging business.
Slat conveyors can work by using gravity rather than the power of a motor, or they can be powered by an electric motor. In the case of the gravity-powered ones, the slat must be set up at a downward angle, meaning that production can only move one way.
In those slat conveyors that do not use motors, another method must be used to move objects along the belt. Generally, objects are pushed along from station to station or person to person by hand. The slats act as rollers allowing for the easy movement of even heavy objects. The fact that these rollers are made of metal or hard wood also makes them difficult to break.
A slat conveyor can be used singly or lined up in a row to make a bigger conveyor. They are used most commonly in the material packaging and handling business. Using the slat conveyor allows people on an assembly line to work on different tasks simultaneously, while passing products from one station to the next until they are completed.
The choice of slat conveyors over the rubberized solid conveyor belt is often determined by the type of material being handled and packaged. For instance, they are used when the products being packaged could possibly damage a rubber, solid conveyor belt. This would include any item with sharp edges or points on it. Depending on the material out of which they're made, they can also be used in high-heat situations where a rubber belt might be damaged.
Although these conveyors are sometimes slower than rubberized conveyor belt systems, there is less of a chance of them breaking down and needing repair because they are run manually. When a motorized conveyor belt breaks down, it can be expensive and time consuming to fix. Slat conveyors do not need to be repaired as often. When they do need to be repaired it is typically a simple fix, such as replacing one of the slat rollers.
One of the common places a slat conveyor can be seen is behind the scenes at the local post office, where they're often used to move and sort mail. Another common place to see these devices is in warehouses where materials are packaged and handled. Sometimes slat conveyors and rubber motorized conveyor belts are used in conjunction with one another when it is necessary or more efficient to do so.