Not sure if Smart Conveyance is a fit for your applications? Read more about how to assess whether Smart Conveyance can help you.
What is Smart Conveyance?
Smart Conveyance acts as the foundation of your automation process. It combines the elements you already know that are inherent in conveyance and conveyors with the capabilities of advanced digital technologies to enable diagnostics, performance optimization, and an intelligent user interface.
A smart conveyor system like SuperTrak GEN3™ offers 3 major advantages over a traditional conveyor system like an indexing dial or a power and free conveyor – more precision, higher speeds, and independent shuttle control.
Traditional Conveyance vs Smart Conveyance
A traditional conveyor requires a cylinder to stop the shuttle at the station, and additional tooling to locate the shuttle before the station can start working.
Smart conveyance is powered by servo precision.
Indexing can be slow in traditional conveyance and it can require duplicating functionality.
Smart conveyance allows for fast indexing that reduces duplicate functionality.
Traditional Conveyance often requires a constant pitch along the entire system even if the space is not required for tooling.
Independent shuttle control with Smart Conveyance provides a means to change the pitch.
Power and Free Conveyor
A belt or chain that moves pallets (or shuttles) that are not directly connected (free) to the belt or chain (power). This allows shuttles to be stopped anywhere on the system using some form of actuation (i.e. stopper cylinder) while the power mechanism continues moving. Synchronous and asynchronous motion is possible.
Power and free conveyors can accommodate inconsistent cycle times, but generally requires extra engineering (mechanical, electrical, & controls) for the utilization of stopper cylinders, and locate tooling if repeatability requirements are tight.
- Accommodates variable station cycle times.
- Capable of synchronous and asynchronous motion.
- Additional integration time
- Additional spare parts and maintenance
Indexing Dials / Dial Table / Rotary Table
A dial is a table that rotates (indexes), moving parts between stations. It is similar in capability to an indexing conveyor: the pitch and the time are constant, so it is synchronous. One key advantage with a dial, however, is that the size and shape of the system footprint can be smaller than other forms of conveyance.
- Smaller system footprint
- Effective if the system cycle time is ≥ to the slowest station cycle time
- No Asynchronous motion capability
- Ineffective if cycle times vary from station to station
What does it mean for technology to be smart? There must be a level of capability inherent inside it that can be used like a service. Smart phones, sensors, thermostats, cars, and fridges are examples of smart technologies and products making life easier and more efficient. You don’t necessarily need to know the complexity of how it functions as the technology does that for you, you just need to know how to use it.
The factors that define smart products are:
- Integrated Functionality
- Performance Optimization
- Diagnostic Insight
- Energy Efficiency
- User Interface
The benefit of this technology in the manufacturing space is that it can greatly reduce your footprint, downtime recovery, and improve OEE.