Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!


Conveyor technology: Are you thinking differently?

With new distribution requirements and more investment in automation underway, Modern set out to find how readers are now approaching the use of conveyors and sortation systems.
By Bob Trebilcock, Executive Editor
April 01, 2013

And, just as they are using a variety of conveying technologies, they are handling a diverse set of unit load types and sizes. The percentage of respondents handling individual items, poly-bagged items and plastic totes may be a reflection of the growing volume of direct-to-consumer orders:

  • 55% are handling cases/boxes
  • 42% are handling individual items
  • 30% are handling plastic totes
  • 27% are handling pallets
  • 17% are handling poly-bagged items
  • 14% are handling mixed SKU pallets
  • 10% are handling beverage cartons

What’s more, 82% of respondents say their conveyor equipment is moving various load configurations. The changing nature of distribution and order fulfillment is reflected in the types of orders being shipped. Only 19% of respondents are shipping full pallets and only 2% are shipping full cartons. Meanwhile, nearly 24% are shipping mixed pallets, 16% are shipping mixed cartons, and 22% are shipping item level orders directly to customers.

Most facilities are operating conventional order fulfillment solutions:

  • 57% pick, pack and ship orders as they are received in the facility
  • 30% handle items more than once during the order fulfillment process, such as picking to a tote that is conveyed to a packing area
  • 23% are picking directly to a shipping container
  • 18% let orders accumulate before they ship

About the Author

Bob Trebilcock
Executive Editor

Bob Trebilcock, executive editor, has covered materials handling, technology and supply chain topics for Modern Materials Handling since 1984. More recently, Trebilcock became editorial director of Supply Chain Management Review. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Trebilcock lives in Keene, NH. He can be reached at 603-357-0484.


Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world’s most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

Pack Expo 2014 grew five times faster than the average trade show.

Survey of economic activity shows July new business volume up 4% year-over-year, down 14% month-to-month, up 8% year-to-date.

According to Panjiva data, July shipments-at 952,126-were up 1 percent over June, following sequential gains of 7 percent for May over April and 1 percent for June over May.

Memorial scholarship recognized student's "understanding, passion, and international perspective."

40.6 million-square-foot WLC to yield an estimated 13,000 construction jobs and 20,000 permanent jobs at a variety of skill levels.



© Copyright 2015 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA