The conveyor belt has to have been one of the best inventions of the 20th century. It’s used in almost every industry these days and is now considered essential if you need to move lots of objects and materials – heavy and light – around a shop floor or in between delivery vehicles and the factory. The humble belt and conveyor chain combo has, over the years, reduced the incidences of strain injuries among workers, as well as saved lots of time and money for countless businesses. You know you need one, but how do you make sure you’re getting the right one for your enterprise?
Don’t rush into a decision; take your time and do your homework
There are so many different types of conveyor belt out there, but a lot of your decision-making rests on what your industry is and what you’ll be using the machinery for. You’ll need a heavy-duty version if you’re involved in a heavy or dirty (or heavy and dirty) industry. If you’re making fancy macaroons, then you’ll be looking for a belt and chain that doesn’t need lubricating (the oil doesn’t taste so great).
You also need to look at the maintenance that each sort of system needs, as well as how often you need to replace parts and how much this all costs. It’s usually best to opt for a system that has durable parts and the minimum of maintenance. The initial layout might be eye-watering, but it’ll pay for itself over the years because you’ll need to do less to it to keep it running.
Only consider well-known and respected companies
Just working out the sort of system you need is half the battle won and once you know what you’re looking for, you can approach manufacturers. Look at the reviews of the makers and their products before compiling a shortlist of three of four likely candidates. Ask to speak to previous and existing clients to find out how well their systems have worked and whether they’re happy with their after-sales care, and how any problems have been dealt with. These considerations are actually more important than the price.
Select a supplier
When you’ve made your decision, talk to your manufacturer of choice about what you need. It should send someone to your workplace to measure everything up and do other assessments, including advising you on the right way to install your belt. Most companies do their own installations; if yours doesn’t, then it will recommend a trusted working partner.
Meet problems halfway
Installing a conveyor belt in your workplace is already a great move, but by spending some time researching the best systems and talking to manufacturers and other business owners, you can maximise your benefits. Make sure you factor in after-sales care and maintenance schedules into your calculations as they’re very important.
Think about what problems may arise in the future – worn parts, jams, how much downtime each service schedule will need… These are your main considerations, because you’ll only buy the machine once, but you’ll have it serviced and repaired quite a few times! Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you can buy a cheaper model and just be really careful with it to make it last – the real world just isn’t like that!