Before conveyor belts were in use, the labor involved in getting goods made took much longer. The workers had to manually transport goods from one work station to another. This slowed down production and put workers at risk for potential injury from repeated lifting of heavy objects. Goods also were sometimes damaged during the manual transporting. Belt conveyors made the production line move faster and saved wear and tear on the human resources as well as the products they were making.
The first belt conveyors were used during the 17th century though it was not until 1908 that the first patent for one was issued. Hymle Goddard, who worked for the Logan Company, was the lucky recipient. These early belt conveyors were simple constructions with a natural fabric traveling over a flat bed. Though originally used to transport grain in farming production, by 1919, powered belt conveyors were at use in many factories to carry all types of heavy goods throughout the production lines.
The following decade, coal mines joined the factories in making good use of belt conveyors. The convenient system allowed mining operations to transport coal out of the mines, sometimes exceeding 8 miles in distance.
World War II
During the Second World War, much of the resources of the nation were needed for military operations. This included the materials previously used for the belts on conveyors, such as canvas and cotton. Industry had to find other materials suitable for belt use.
Modern Conveyor Belts
Belts today are constructed of several types of materials, including leather, steel, nylon, PVC, silicone and rubber. It depends on what products and industry the conveyor will be used for. Belt conveyors are found in all types of businesses today, from supermarkets and warehouses to mining operations and factories. The longest belt in use is in the Western Sahara phosphate mining industry and is approximately 60 miles in length.
Belt conveyors are an inexpensive way to get goods moved from one place to another. It reduces the cost of labor and simplifies production lines. Selecting the proper conveyor system for your business requires that you choose one made of the right materials and is constructed by a reputable manufacturer. Conveyor belt systems require little maintenance and do not damage easily. They increase the output of any business because laborers do not have to stop their work to transport goods.
When you are looking for a belt conveyor for your business, you need to consult with a representative of a conveyor company. Figure out beforehand what types of goods will be transported and the distance from one work station to another. You may need to get a specialized system for your business in order to maximize production. Listen to the feedback from the representative. They will have more experience and may be able to offer insights into ways to rearrange or alter your current set-up to enhance your production output. Your business will benefit from having a conveyor belt system or systems in place through maximized efficiency and a workplace that is easier to navigate.