Conveyor Systems: Types and Elements

Conveyor Systems: Types and Elements

Conveying means transporting something from one place to another. In mechanical engineering design, there are few types of systems that use transporting materials from one place to another.  

Conveyor systems are the type of mechanical systems that allows materials to transport from one place to another. Chute conveyor, wheel conveyor, roller conveyor, and screw conveyor are examples of these systems.

Types of Conveyor Systems

  1. Belt conveyor
    • Flat belt conveyor
    • Magnetic belt conveyor
    • Troughed belt conveyor
  2. Bucket conveyor
  3. Screw conveyor
  4. Vibrating conveyor
  5. Pneumatic conveyor
  6. Chute conveyor
  7. Wheel conveyor
  8. Roller conveyor
    • Gravity conveyor
    • Live (powered) conveyor
  9. Chain conveyor
    • Flight chain
    • Apron chain
  10. Closed belt conveyor
  11. Salt conveyor
  12. Continues flow conveyor

Elements of a Conveyor System

1. Drive Unit

The drive unit controls the speed of the electrical machine by changing the current and the frequency. Because, in some cases, we need different operating speeds for some materials. And some operations require different speeds.

There are both fixed-speed drives and adjustable speed drives available. So, the motor can be either fixed speed or adjustable speed type depending on the application.

Fixed-speed drives

Fixed-speed drives that maintain a fixed speed are suitable for operations that don’t require change in speed during the operation. However, when the machine is not running, simple sheave or sprocket changes can make some small speed changes. However, to make some large changes, it’s required to change the motor or speed reducer.

Note:  To change the speed of a fixed-speed drive, the machine needs to be shut down.

Adjustable-speed drive

Adjustable-speed drives can change the speed of the motor, during operation. And the speed can be regulated manually or using an automatic system.


Usually, the drive unit costs 15%-30% percent of the total cost of building a conveyor system.

2. Motor

The motor of a conveyor system should fulfill the requirement of power needed. So, we can do the power calculation or we can assume a suitable motor. In order to assume a suitable motor, we usually check similar machines to get a rough idea.

3. Auxiliary equipment

Auxiliary equipment is the supporting mechanism of a conveyor system to control the flow. For example, even bins and containers don’t have any rotating parts, the structure helps the proper flow so that the conveyor would not be overloaded or jammed.

4. Control Unit

The Control unit is where the functions of the machine are controlled. And it can contain programmable controllers, computer systems, or just the on-off switch. Moreover, it’s helpful to maintain rated capacities and close tolerances which is important when the feed to the conveyor tends to be erratic.

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