As a production manager, you know downtime is not an option. Most likely, you are constantly looking for ways to optimize your production flows. So when it is time to invest in a new conveyor system, no wonder the task seems overwhelming. It is no secret that there are many things to take into consideration. In this blog post, I will provide you with 6 tips that will hopefully help you make the right decisions.
1. It all starts with the product and its requirements
Let’s just make one thing clear, what conveyor system you should choose naturally depends on the products that need to be handled and its requirements. You need to have a comprehensive understanding of your products, the production process and the production environment as well as system and software. This, along with detailed design criteria, is information that you have to provide to your material handling specialist in order to find out which conveyor system is the most suitable for your production.
2. Don’t judge the book by its cover, look for what is underneath
A few years ago, automated material handling systems were all about conveyance and moving things from one point to another. Today, there is a much larger focus on flow control and keeping the whole facility in balance. Conveyor systems need to be not only fast and efficient, but also a smart and flexible component of the entire production flow. When investing in a conveyor system, look for the right underlying technology that allows intelligent, customised and creative solutions for your production needs.
3. Modularity, scalability and flexibility are important features of conveyor systems
The “perfect” conveyor system includes modularity and scalability as well as flexibility. A flexible conveyor system enables adaptation to fluctuations in demand, implementation of continuous improvements and introduction of new products. With standardised modules in a range of sizes and shapes, you are able to retool your production line quickly and easily. When investing in a new conveyor system, look for one that is adaptable to changing product characteristics and volumes, but can also be easily reconfigured if necessary.
4. Easy maintenance with the right technology
In a flow-based production facility, any downtime of any step in the process will disrupt the entire fulfilment engine. Consequently, your conveyor system needs to be geared for redundancy and easy maintenance. Technology that provides information about conveyor status and wear indications helps you reduce unplanned downtime. The ability to monitor the overall flow of a facility in real time is a powerful tool for efficiency and uptime.
5. Lower the environmental impact and increase the total efficiency
Today, the environment is something we all should take into consideration when investing in any product, solution or project. By choosing a conveyor system that allows you to reduce waste and energy consumption of your produced units, you will lower the environmental impact of your entire operations and increase the total efficiency of your production. Optimally, choose a conveyor system that is not only energy efficient and protective of the environment, but also easy to recycle and safe to use.
6. Be prepared for the future
It might be tempting to choose a solution based on what you are doing today, just to get your line up and running. But try to avoid it. It is always more expensive to make changes later than during the initial project. Try to visualise what your production line will look like in a couple of years – and invest accordingly. In other words, look for a conveyor system that can accommodate future throughput growth requirements and easily adapt to changes.
Still not sure what conveyor system to choose?
There is no doubt that choosing the right conveyor system plays a significant role for the efficiency of your production. It is a large investment that should be carefully looked into by a professional material handling specialist. At FlexLink, we help you with the planning and evaluation of your investment as well as the selecting and designing of your conveyor system. Our solutions are geared for low cost of ownership and highly reusable, requiring a minimum of maintenance with low power consumption.