The Role of Conveyors in Recycling And Waste Management

sorting conveyor

What Is a Conveyor System?

An essential component of recycling and waste management operations, the conveyor system is a machinery system designed to transport materials between two locations. They are particularly useful for moving bulk or heavy materials from one fixed point to another. There are several types of conveyors designed to meet the needs of particular applications, involving the use of rollers, chains or belts to propel material.

These are outlined below.  

Conveyors in Recycling and Waste Management

Conveyors play a critical role in recycling and waste management facilities. They are integral parts of the sorting process for waste materials, as well as in the efficient movement of materials. Conveyors allow mixed waste streams to be spread out for inspection, and moved from a starting point to a final sorting point, with sorted materials easily removed along the way by different processes. They are also critical for transporting materials, such as wood or electrical waste into grinding systems. 

Conveyor systems are integral to the success of many recycling operations. The most frequent types of conveyors used in recycling facilities are belts and chains. In recycling facilities, belts connect different sorting stations with specific functions. A belt with commonly spaced partitions will grip material as it is being carried up an incline.

Conveyor belts are perfect for moving streams of materials for separation. Vibrating belts act to separate and space materials for inspection by workers for other kinds of processes. Another important element of conveyor systems in recycling facilities is a series of rotating augers made of rubbers.

These augurs separate, break down and propel the items forward through the sorting line as they have paddles and cams of particular shapes. Conveyors used in recycling facilities are designed to withstand exposure to constant exposure to abrasives, sticky liquids and dirt.

Types of Conveyors and Their Uses

Typical types of conveyors used in industry include the non-powered conveyor, the powered chain and roller conveyor for handling pallet loads of goods, and the powered belt and roller conveyor for smaller products.

Non-powered Conveyor: A non-powered conveyor is suitable for on-the-road loading of trucks and also serves as a takeaway conveyor for boxes coming out of a mechanical sorter. It uses gravity for action. Most frequently, it is deployed in facilities where workers complete any particular step of a process and push the work along to the next station. The skate wheel conveyor and roller conveyor are two of the most common types of non-powered conveyors. A skate wheel conveyor has small wheels. It is useful for maintaining the speed of lightweight, flat-bottomed goods. On the other hand, a roller conveyor is perfect for slowing the pace of materials coming from a high-speed sorter.

Powered Belt and Roller Conveyor for Smaller Products: These are conveyors used for moving small products and packages. Belt conveyor and roller conveyor are two sub-categories of this kind of conveyors.

Belt Conveyor: Belt material may be smooth or ribbed, depending upon the need. You may use belted incline, decline or a spiral conveyor to shift products to various levels.

Powered roller conveyor: When products must move together, powered roller conveyors allow gentle accumulation without damage, using zero pressure. Powered roller conveyors come in three categories. These include the line-shaft roller, the motorized roller, and the belt-driven roller.

Powered Chain and Roller Conveyor for Handling Pallet Loads of Goods: These are the conveyors used for pallet loads of goods in manufacturing as well as in automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS).

Two basic types of conveyors under this category are chain conveyors and roller conveyors. Chain conveyors use motors to spin up to four strands of heavy duty chain with pallets riding directly on the chain. On the other hand, roller conveyors are the hardiest and toughest option. They are similar to package handling roller conveyors.

Use of conveyors provides enormous efficiencies for the movement of bulk materials as well as many other types of products. reducing cost, improving throughput, and enhancing worker safety.