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Powered roller conveyors are a powered version of the gravity roller conveyors. This type of drive system also allows economical “powered” bends and curves, and is often used in tandem with conventional straight belt conveyors...
In addition to the obvious benefits of being motorised, powered roller conveyors can also offer accumulation. This means that when a package reaches the end of the conveyor, it will stop, without stopping the rest of the conveyor. Hence packages can gradually “accumulate” at the end of the conveyor, awaiting human intervention, or automatic transfer to another conveyor etc.
How do powered roller conveyors do this? Well, it is inherent in the way that the rollers are powered. A powered drive roller runs the length of the unit, beneath the roller bed. The individual rollers are then connected to this by a rubber band, which turns the rollers. However, when a package reaches the ‘stop’ wall at the end of the conveyor, the friction between the stopped package and the roller will cause this band to ‘slip’, bringing the rollers beneath the package to a halt without effecting any of the other rollers on the system.
Whilst this makes shaft-driven powered roller conveyors an excellent choice for lightweight packages, it restricts the power available on individual rollers, and makes it unsuitable for heavy loads (which could cause the rollers to ‘slip’ prematurely). For heavier loads, the chain drive roller conveyor comes into its own.