Inverted Conveyor for High Quality Paint Finishing

Inverted Conveyor for High Quality Paint Finishing

Plasan Carbon Composites had a problem. Located in small-town Bennington, Vermont, Plasan designs and producs OEM (original equipment manufacturer) body parts for vehicles. The firm is well known for its use of carbon fibre as a building material. Plasan (originally called Vermont Composites Inc) was sending off a carbon-fibre fender for a General Motors Z06 Corvette to an outside custom coater to be primed. The custom coater was not doing a very good job, however. The vendor was inefficient, operating in decidedly low-tech fashion: “They were literally pushing these parts around on carts on the floor,” recalls Bob Davis, corporate paint engineer at PlasanUSA. “We found we were having quality issues with these outside painters,” Davis continues. “There were also issues of timing and delivery. So, we decided to build a paint system in-house. This would give us more direct control over quality, timing, schedules and everything else.” The paint system had to include an automated conveyor—a piece of equipment the custom coater lacked. “In order to maintain process control, in terms of time in the washer and times in the oven, it’s better to have a moving conveyor that you can clock and know exactly how much time [a piece has been in a particular area] as opposed to pushing something into an oven on a cart and starting a stop-watch,” states Davis. “It’s a much more consistent process to use a conveyor system.” There was another reason for wanting a conveyor: “As part of the standard for making their parts, GM prefers that parts are not touched by workers during the painting process. The obvious solution for...
Specialized Conveyors: A Production Manager’s Dream

Specialized Conveyors: A Production Manager’s Dream

When Shadwood Enterprises Ltd., a manufacturer of portable battery charger units, opened its new plant in North Bay, Ontario, management wanted a single conveyor to move goods throughout production. They installed an inverted, floor mounted conveyor that carried the chargers between the plant’s four processing stages. The system consisted of four identical, inverted assembly line conveyors, each approximately 100 ft long. Each conveyor was fitted with 16″ x 12″ trays, specifically designed to hold the chargers. Each tray had two compartments, and was mounted on a 24″ center. A single conveyor transported goods to the assembly, testing, packaging, and palletizing stations. At each station, when the chargers were removed from the conveyor, the empty trays remained. Empty trays constantly circulated on the conveyor and allowed workers to replace goods onto the conveyor as rapidly as possible. Paul Stroz, plant manager for Shadwood, described the conveyor system as “a production manager’s dream.” By moving goods to and from each station, the conveyors minimize the amount of manual work done within the plant. The new system also occupied minimal floor space. Eighteen inch-wide assembly tables were connected directly to the conveyor’s frame. Carpet covered all of the tables to mute sound. Published in Modern Materials Handling, 1990 GET MORE INFORMATION   Your Name (required): Your Company: Your Phone: Your Email (required): Tell us about your project: This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service...
Overhead Conveyors 101

Overhead Conveyors 101

  This type of conveyor gets its name from where it is normally found in a plant, factory or warehouse- overhead.  Overhead conveyors utilize the open space above machines and people, which quite often is unused space. Enclosed Track Overhead Conveyor The mechanism is quite simple – we have a chain consisting of bearings and links, which is pulled through a track.  This overhead conveyor is specifically called an enclosed track overhead conveyor because the chain is almost completely covered by the track.  This is an important safety feature because it is safer for operators to use and less likely to become contaminated with dirt, dust, paint and other particles.  There are open style conveyors available but are these styles are less appealing. Conveyor Definition of Terms Each overhead conveyor consists of: A continuous circuit of chain running through track and a variety of vertical and horizontal curves. A Drive unit that grabs the chain and pull it through the track. A Take-up unit that ensures the chain is always stretched tight, even as it wears over many years of use. Electrical controls which may be a simple on/off motor starter, a variable speed controller or it may have an industrial grade programmable logic controller or it may even have a PC or host system. Synchronous Conveyor – it all moves together The term synchronous is often used to describe what type of overhead conveyor system it is. The term means that all loads on the conveyor will move at the same harmonized pace, because the chain that carries them is continuous. For example: start the conveyor and all...
Overhead Conveyor Improves Carton Delivery

Overhead Conveyor Improves Carton Delivery

When P.G. Enns Farms in Niagara-on-the-Lake decided to upgrade sorting equipment for their peach packing operation, they quickly realized that they also needed to improve their system for delivering empty cartons to the packers. That’s when they called Pacline Overhead Conveyors, Mississauga, Ontario. Although Enns Farms did have a basic monorail system to carry empty cartons, this old system was now incompatible with the new sorting equipment. They replaced the simple monorail with a PAC-LINE™ overhead conveyor system. It features a universal chain inside an enclosed tubular track. The new conveyor track, which can handle steep elevation changes and tight curves, was precisely designed to take empty cartons from the carton-forming area, over and around the new sorting equipment and then back down to a level convenient to the peach packing operators on the floor. This system allowed the floor to be clear and uncluttered of cartons and packing material, adhering to the highest standards of food and operator safety. Robb Enns says that the PAC-LINE™ fruit packing system has improved productivity for their packing operation. “It is such a simple system, I don’t know why everyone in this business doesn’t have one.” Published in The Grower , September 2011 GET MORE INFORMATION   Your Name (required): Your Company: Your Phone: Your Email (required): Tell us about your project: This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service...
Hot Tips for the Material Handling Distributor

Hot Tips for the Material Handling Distributor

Any material handling salesperson worth his salt can smell an equipment justification a mile away. There are some very basic elements of a return on investment analysis which, when combined, add up to an (almost) immediate sale of a material handling system. A salesperson needs to develop a knack for identifying a prime candidate by spotting the somewhat obvious signs.  Whenever I spot the “three amigos” of the material handling world- a crowded plant floor, a multiple shift operation, and a process that I know is mechanizable- my brain’s left side begins a frenzy of “imagineering”. I have had a great number of initial customer visits go extremely well when I play the “what if” game out in front of my potential business partner.  I think that they are immediately impressed by my insight and from that point forward I earn the reputation as a problem-solver and a visionary. Experience is the material handling professional’s most valuable asset.  Material handling professionals gain the experience part of the equation only after spending a few years in a particular business, studying the marketplace of products available, inviting themselves to see installations (regardless of who sold them) and reading articles in trade publications like this. Now for the “hot” tip I promised. Any time you can apply a piece of equipment to solve more than one task you stand a better chance of achieving your customer’s ROI goals.  I have a piece of equipment that can solve two material handling problems for less money than the alternative and the alternative only solves one problem.  Does this sound too good to be true? ...
Overhead Conveyors for Small Wood Shops

Overhead Conveyors for Small Wood Shops

When it was time for expansion this wood finisher thought ‘over the top’. Small and mid-sized furniture manufacturers are often threatened with high volume, low margin orders, meanwhile, small facilities and manual handling methods can lead to disastrous quality and financial results. Canadian furniture supplier Contract Supply based in Mississauga, ON needed to automate its finishing operation in an already tight space. Contract Supply (CS) has manufactured chairs and tables for the restaurant and hotel industry for over 20 years. Within their 65,000 square foot facility, CS handles all design, upholstery, assembly and finishing operations. As with most small and mid-sized furniture manufacturers, these processes were generally done manually. The company supplies high quality wood and metal products primarily to the commercial food service market including: hotels and resorts, restaurants, food courts, shopping malls, libraries, schools and healthcare facilities. They will even tackle large volume refurbishing and refinishing of customer’s existing chairs and tables. As business grew for CS so did the size of their jobs and eventually, CS was faced with the following production issues: There was a need to increase volume to accommodate the larger customers; Current space was limited; Their (wood) finishing process in particular (from sanding, staining, sealing and lacquering) was ‘back breaking’ and time consuming; Smaller ‘special’ batch jobs were still an important part of the business. Shopping for ideas Eugene Honcharuk, president of Contract Supply knew something had to be done to meet production demands and maintain efficiency so he went to a trade show to shop for ideas. One option Honcharuk was presented with was a cart-type floor conveyor system to move...