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Dirk Dusharme @ Quality Digest

Quality Insider

PULSEROLLER Pallet-Handling Motor Rollers Move Pallets Up to 70-in. Wide, Reduce Energy Consumption

Zero pressure accumulation with motorized drive rollers is safer, reduces waste, and is more efficient

Published: Tuesday, April 27, 2021 - 12:03

Motorized drive rollers (MDR) are an efficient and safe way to move large or heavy products down a conveyor line. They are also a key part of zero pressure accumulation, which allows conveyor systems to accumulate product without collision.

In traditional conveyor systems, products can back up behind an accumulation point and potentially exert hundreds of pounds of pressure on the product. Using MDR and individually monitored and managed accumulation zones eliminates collisions. Such zero pressure accumulation systems can easily handle large heavy products on a conveyor line.

The PULSEROLLER pallet handling MDR, for instance, can safely and effortlessly move pallets up to 70-in. wide and weighing up to 2,700 lb. The low-voltage pallet rollers are designed to replace any AC gear motor solution by simply removing the motor/gearbox unit and dropping in the heavy-duty pallet roller with sprockets directly inline with the other conveyor rollers. Depending on the application, energy savings can be as high as 60 percent when compared to alternatives, while providing a much safer and more energy-efficient conveying solution.

Older, conventional conveyor systems use an unsafe and inefficient high-voltage motor to drive 100 ft-long conveyor sections, and for the most part are being replaced today. In those systems, air feeds and solenoids were strategically placed under a 100-ft conveyor section and would engage or disengage sections of the conveyor to accumulate product. This technology was typical 20 years ago, but it had many flaws. For example, it was necessary to keep air compressors and motors constantly running, even when product was not being conveyed, and products could come into contact with each other during accumulation, potentially causing damage to the product.

The latest MDR technology, which includes PULSEROLLER’s pallet roller, is much more efficient and modular.

“Imagine that same 100 ft-long section of conveyor, segmented into ten manageable 10-ft modular sections. Installation is much faster, and in many cases, air is entirely omitted from the system,” explains David Sellers, director of marketing and operations at PULSEROLLER. “Each of the 10-ft conveyors is broken down into five electronically controlled zones, consisting of six to eight gravity rollers and a single 24 VDC motor roller connected via belt or chain. This motor roller provides just enough power to drive a single product to the next zone but not enough power to cause physical harm to an operator.”

Each zone has a photoelectric sensor waiting to detect the arrival of product and a motor to drive the product to the next downstream zone. The sensor and motor are connected to a controller that decides to send or accumulate product depending on the downstream zone activities. This guarantees that boxes will not collide, and eliminates the risk of damage and loss.

“Potential damage to the product being conveyed is completely removed when using an accumulation conveyor over a transportation conveyor or others,” says Sellers.

The biggest positive coming out of this technology is that each zone runs independently and only runs when product must be conveyed to the next zone. At any other time, the system doesn’t require energy.

When compared to conventional conveyor systems running all the time, the energy savings potential is clear. “We’ve seen and heard of OEMs and integrators putting in systems using our products, and realizing energy savings of up to 70 percent, as compared to their conventional conveyor system,” says Sellers.

In addition, material waste is reduced because not only do you have less damage due to product collisions, you also have less wear and tear on the conveyor in general, which means less waste overall.

Aside from productivity and efficiency gains, MDR systems are a better choice when looking at employee safety. “A 480 VAC motor at 5 horsepower provides enough torque to cause serious harm to an operator, enough electricity to stop a human heart, and much, much more,” explains Sellers. “A 24 VDC motor only provides enough torque to move a single package and is therefore far less dangerous. In many cases, you can stop a motor zone with a firm hand grip without any issues.” The voltage is low enough that the product or wiring don’t even need to be enclosed or placed in conduit.

PULSEROLLER systems use an Ethernet connection, which gives users the ability to use software tools to determine exactly where an item is on the conveyor at any given time, and can track items from zone to zone. Many e-commerce solutions require an appropriate connection so items can be tracked down to a specific location on the conveyor or in the warehouse.

“Building the perfect pallet conveyor just got easier... not to mention smarter, faster, safer, and more cost-efficient,” says Sellers. “Our pallet roller is driven by a powerful 24 VDC motor engine installed inside the tube and coupled to an industrial hardened, multistage, planetary gearbox assembly that easily conveys loads of 2,700 lb. Conveying heavier loads is possible by adding another motor inside the tube, creating a dual motor roller, or by simply doubling the number of pallet motor rollers in each zone. We understand the importance of having options for conveying heavy-duty loads with low-voltage, pallet-handling motorized drive rollers. In a time when others are shying away from the challenges of heavy-duty pallet rollers, PULSEROLLER is reinvesting, growing, and shining in this market.”

Using PULSEROLLER’s industry-standard ConveyLinx control card, PULSEROLLER pallet rollers can reach speeds up to 25 m/min. with up to 49.3 N m (436 in. lb) of torque. This enables a user to move heavier loads with less energy (i.e., current) while maintaining the required speed.

With a choice of Ethernet/IP, Modbus TCP, PROFITNET, or EtherCAT connectivity, the networked ConveyLinx cards facilitate virtually any control strategy at an attractive price. Simple zero pressure accumulation, transportation, indexing loads, minimum pressure, sorting, and pick and pass are all strategies easily implemented by using the built-in intelligence of ConveyLinx or by writing your own program directly. Users have complete control and monitoring capabilities of every motor in the system over a single Ethernet network.

PULSEROLLER pallet handling motor rollers are available in standard 2.25 in., 2.375 in., and 2.5 in. diameters with a variety of optional attachments, including sprockets, poly-vee, keyway, timing pulley, and more.

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About The Author

Dirk Dusharme @ Quality Digest’s picture

Dirk Dusharme @ Quality Digest

Dirk Dusharme is Quality Digest’s editor in chief.