Conveyors are industrial and commercial utilities that are used to assist in the movement of products. In manufacturing contexts, conveyors are widely used on assembly lines. In warehouses, they are important parts of efficient packaging and shipping processes. Conveyors can even be found in grocery stores to expedite the check-out process. In order for each of these different conveyor configurations to function properly, they must be equipped with rollers on which products can be moved or that can facilitate the movement of a conveyor belt.
These rubber rolls vary in shape, size and composition depending on the demands of the systems in which they are applied. For example, in a distribution warehouse, when orders are picked and packaged, they are often loaded onto a conveyor system comprised of metal rollers in a long series that directs the packages to the back of a shipping vehicle. In food processing, added variables like cleanliness standards and hazards like spills contribute to how a conveyor system must be designed; such systems are likely to involve belts, and belted conveyors require the use of special rollers.
Conveyor rolls are manufactured from an assortment of different rubber, metal and other materials and are available in various sizes and durability levels. The roller shape can be straight, tapered or crowned. Conveyor rollers are often grooved in order to make the gripping of conveyor belts easier. They are also often fitted with special gears or other movement control devices that allow the movement of a conveyor system to be more precise. This can be especially important during complex manufacturing processes. Rubber conveyor rolls can be made out of many materials; just a few examples are polyurethane and silicone.
Each material offers slightly different qualities of strength, durability, friction and operating lifespan. Rubber conveyor rollers are usually produced by either injection or compression molding, though extrusion is also a possibility. Molding processes involve heating an elastomeric material and forming it in a mold. Extrusion also involves heating an elastomer, but instead of molding the rubber, it is forced through an extrusion die. Choosing the right conveyor roller material is important to the safe and effective operation of a conveyor system.