Sustainable conveyors offer more options, less waste

Casebook 2012: Small changes throughout conveyor line lead to big reductions in environmental impact.

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Rexam, a leading global consumer packaging group, produces 1.2 billion food containers per year at its Union, Mo., plant. The company, which has a zero scrap-waste system in place, wanted its new conveyor system to reflect this zero-waste philosophy, and chose a highly modular system.

In addition to being hundreds of pounds heavier than the new modular ones, says plant manager Mark Borzillo, old metal conveyors ship fully assembled, and require special crating that takes up more space on freight trucks.  By contrast, the new modular conveyors ship partially assembled in a box, reducing freight costs and transportation-related emissions.

Borzillo purchased the first modular conveyor from the new conveyor provider in 2003 and has since increased the number of systems to 10. He said the new conveyors allow the Rexam to have more flexibility on the production floor.

“You just build the conveyors like you want them,” says Borzillo. “If a line changes and I need the conveyor shortened 6 inches, or the slope of an incline changed, I don’t need to get rid of a conveyor and buy a new one. I just take a module out, or pop one in, and we’re good to go.”

Similarly, a damaged section of conveyor can be easily replaced. This is also possible for the belts, which use a modular link system allowing small portions to be replaced. Motors are also modular, with options such as external or internal mounting, and AC or DC.  The concept allows easy exchange when torque requirements change, keeping kilowatt usage to a minimum. A traditional 10-foot long conveyor typically uses a 0.5 horsepower, 480-volt motor. The new conveyors use 110 volts that range from 1/30 horsepower to 1 horsepower.

In addition to energy cost savings, lower freight costs, and eliminated replacement costs, modular conveyors lend themselves to manufacturers’ desires to do things cheaper, faster and smarter while using less resources, and creating less pollution and waste.

Dynamic Conveyor Corp.

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About the Author

Josh Bond, Contributing Editor
Josh Bond is Senior Editor for Modern, and was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and associate editor. He has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce University.

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