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When to Use Accumulation Conveyor

A few weeks ago, we published “What is Accumulation Conveyor?” to the CCS Blog. The article explains what accumulation conveyor is and breaks down the differences between the two primary types of accumulation conveyor — minimum pressure and zero pressure. If you missed it and are new to conveyor systems or material handling in general, we recommend reading that before you continue with this one.

Using the right type of accumulation conveyor plays a large part in how efficiently the system will handle product. Additionally, accumulation conveyor is typically more expensive than its continuous-only counterpart due to the additional technical components required like software and sensors. While minimum pressure conveyor has less applications and more restrictions on how it can be used, if you can afford to use it you will be able to keep the overall system costs down. This article will explain exactly that: the best applications for minimum pressure and zero pressure accumulation conveyor.

When to use Minimum Pressure Conveyor

Minimum pressure conveyor is always running and uses some sort of physical stop to start the accumulation, like a blade stop. Because of this, once the physical stop is lowered the products continue down the line with the same driving pressure that they were held with. The product can be released individually — called “singulation” — by either using a braking system somewhere further down the line or physically raising and lowering the stop, but with less control than zero pressure accumulation.

Minimum pressure conveyor should only be used with boxes or cartons that are similar in size and weight. The boxes will be constantly in contact with one another. If some cartons outweigh others by a significant amount, they will likely damage the smaller ones. Different sized boxes can also lead to major issues if the cartons or boxes are being accumulated prior to a merge or divert that does not allow for two boxes to enter it side by side. A large box behind a small box may end up pushing the smaller box to one side and such that they are side by side, inhibiting the merge or divert. While this type of conveyor is cost efficient, unless the product or system can meet the strict specifications needed for minimum pressure conveyor to work at maximum efficiency, zero pressure accumulation conveyor is recommended.

When to use Zero Pressure Conveyor

The use of photo-eyes and accumulation software in zero pressure systems allow for precise control and buffering prior to spurs, merges, diverts and other types of sortation components. Because it involves zero contact between product, there is no concern for conveying products of varied weights like there is with minimum pressure. It can be used in fixed of dynamic zone allocation. Fixed zones have a standard zone length and uses photo sensors to keep only one product in that zone. Dynamic zones assign multiple zones to each product if needed, determined by the products’ overall length. In a dynamic zone system with a standard 24” zone, a product that is 21” in length would take up one zone, a 33” product would take up two zones, and so on. This solves the size problem posed by minimum pressure accumulation.

Zero pressure conveyor has the capability of releasing with precise, equal gaps in between each load. There are two types of release that can be used with zero pressure: singulate and slug. As mentioned before, singulation is the process of releasing cartons one by one sort of like a stop sign would release traffic. Releasing with slug mode is more like a stop light, where all the loads are released at once like traffic when a light turns green. Slug mode is typically used for high-speed applications like merges or diverts, and singulate mode is used in lower speed applications, at the end of the line or anytime an operator needs to interface with product.

CCS – Zero Pressure Accumulation Experts

Zero pressure accumulation conveyor is our specialty. We offer several different types of this conveyor, including standard MDR conveyor, MDR spiral conveyor, mobile MDR conveyor, MDR pallet conveyor and MDR Flex conveyor. If you’re in need of zero pressure accumulation conveyor system, CCS has the solution. Please reach out to Joel Thomas at at joelthomas@cartercontrols.com, by phone at 240-818-1835 for more details.

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