Roller Conveyors Systems



This article will provide a detailed look at roller conveyors.

This article will provide more information on topics such as:

  • Principle of Roller Conveyors
  • Types of Roller Conveyors
  • Roller Conveyors: Benefits and Applications
  • Plus, many other things

Chapter 1: Principle of Roller Conveyors

This chapter will cover the basics of roller conveyors, their construction, and their function.

What is a Roller Conveyor, and how do they work?

Roller conveyors System allow objects to glide on the surface of a conveyor belt using rollers that are evenly spaced and revolving cylindrical. They move stuff from one place to the next using small engines or gravity.

Transported material should have a stable riding surface supported by at least three rolling wheels. These rollers are ideal for accumulation and can reduce product inertia at higher speeds. They also make them valuable conveyors after high-speed sorting machines. Roller conveyors are simple to construct and can be used in various industry developments. The most notable upgrade is the drive roller conveyor. Each roller is attached to a motor via a /chain/shaft/belt for maximum control. This allows the conveyors to move at the same velocity as the materials and can be used in reverse from low to high altitudes. You can use them in bi-directional applications because the rollers can move material in either direction by simply changing the direction of the motor.

Conveyor Systems

A conveyor system is a method of moving products, packages, and supplies. It can also transport parts or equipment for manufacturing, relocation, and transportation. Many conveyor systems, such as belts, screws, and pneumatic. Each design is built depending on the materials to be moved, such as their size, weight, and transportability. Material handling and production are essential. However, conveyor systems can also be used in other manufacturing applications like part washing, sintering, and finishing. These systems are typically automated but can also be used for material handling, shipping, and retail.

Construction of Roller Conveyor

There are many types of roller conveyors. Each has its design and parts. The small plastic spools and belts used to power powered roller conveyors allow for products to be piled on the conveyor if there is one. Chains or friction belts typically operate heavy-duty roller conveyors. They are attached to a shaft that runs the length of the conveyor frame. The post is connected to an electric motor that drives the rollers’ spin. There are standard parts that all roller conveyors share, which will be discussed later.

Rollers of a Roller Conveyor

These are made up of metal cylinders fitted to the structure with two bearings, a metal axis, and two approaches. This component is also used in other types of conveyors. Rollers, belts, and chains are often joined within a circuit.

Plastic Rollers

Plastic rollers can be an affordable alternative to metal ones. Plastic rollers can be a cost-effective option without sacrificing quality. Because they are quick and easy to clean, they’re great for many industries. Although stainless-steel rollers can be more expensive than plastic ones, they are still a good choice for workplaces.

Plastic rollers are easy to clean, and when used with stainless steel rollers, they are the best choice for moving food parcels. Plastic rollers make it easy to transport portable items in a business.

Rubber-coated Rollers

You can use rubber-coated gravity rolls for many purposes. The rubber coating is ideal for delicate products that are prone to damage. A non-marking rubber coating is also available for products that are likely to be easily damaged.

Rubber-coated drive rolling wheels allow for greater friction between the belt and the roller. This is particularly useful in situations where there is belt slippage.

Steel and Stainless Steel Rollers

Two of the most common materials are steel and stainless steel rollers. They are easy to maintain, durable, strong, and can move heavy-duty materials. They are an excellent investment in many industries because they can be trusted.

Another advantage is the adaptability of stainless steel and steel rollers. No matter how complex or straightforward the conveyor system, stainless steel rollers will fit perfectly with it. They can be modified to fit smaller diameters, precision bearings or fixed shafts. The stainless steel rollers can also be modified to suit the needs of the workplace.

Legs and Metallic Structure

They are used to support the rollers. Steel is used for its strength and endurance in supporting heavy loads. The weight of the structure determines the type of steel. The network and its legs determine the conveyor’s direction of movement.

Roller Conveyor Motor

Many AC motors are available for fixed-speed and constant-speed roller conveyor systems. AC induction motors work well for roller conveyor systems that operate in one direction. Many AC motors can be used in vertical conveyors or with load-holding electromagnetic brakes.

Synchronous motors can be used when the engine must operate continuously at a single speed, regardless of load torque. Low-speed synchronous motors are ideal for frequent stopping, starting, and reversing.

AC speed control motors, motors for gear, and motors for roller conveyors where speed is controlled or varies during operation are available. They provide constant torque regardless of load size and a wide speed control range.

Stepper motors or servomotors are best suited for conveyors that require higher accuracy positioning. The stepper motor can produce high torque at low speeds while reducing vibration. They are ideal for applications that require fast positioning over a shorter length. Thanks to effective belt mechanisms and inertia loads, Servo motors can be easily used. Servo motors can position long distances using a flat torque method at low and high speeds.

You can change the speed by connecting a control circuit to the motor. Speed control motors can be used to switch between high and low-speed operations and speed adjustments.

Non-precision Bearings

Nonprecision bearings are:

Bearings for Angular Contact Balls

The angular contact bearings have been designed to align the inner and outer ring raceways in the bearing axis’ direction. They can handle combined loads and act simultaneously radial or axially.

Angular contact ball bearings support conveyor belt rolling shafts. This long cylindrical structure is the primary conveyor section and can handle the load.

Bearing Pillow Block

A pedestal, also called a plumber or pillow block bearing, can support a spinning shaft using various accessories and compatible approaches. The mounting block houses the direction. Bolt the housing’s insert direction onto a support surface.

These bearings are often used in demanding food and beverage environments. The approach’s inside diameter is typically 0.025mm larger than its shaft to ensure a snug fit. Most pillow block-bearing housings are cast from cast steel or cast iron.

Roller Conveyor Sprockets

Conveyor sprockets are also known as engineered sprockets and mill sprockets. They can be used in conjunction with conveyor rollers or chains. To transmit rotary motion, they have profiled wheels and toothed gears.

How a Roller Conveyor Works

Roller conveyors are designed to move items quickly, efficiently, and reliably from one point to another. Depending on the user’s requirements, the roller conveyor’s speed, direction, curvature, and size can vary. The roller conveyor is used in specific industries to transport goods through manufacturing or wrapping lines and back again. You can also use it to stack items at one end of a transport line. It can also transport items vertically or horizontally with high flexibility.

Considerations when choosing roller conveyors

To increase efficiency and speed, a conveying system can be integrated into many ways into an operation. Before installing a conveying device, you should consider many essential factors. Every design is customized to meet the needs of each application.

Available Space

When designing a conveyor system, manufacturers must consider the space available. This step requires the identification of any interaction sites, clearances, or impediments that could hinder material movement. Although automated systems are the most popular, the way it is used will determine whether the system’s motor or manual operation is more efficient.

Roller Frame Material

The frame can be made from aluminum or steel, depending on how heavy the load is and the capacity of the rated structure. Rollers have a much more variable composition as they are in direct contact with products, which can affect their movement. Some rollers have rubber or plastic covers to increase friction. Others are steel drums or aluminum. It would help if you chose a roller that will not compromise the integrity of your product while keeping it on the line.

Roller Sizer and Orientation

It is essential to determine the size and layout of the conveyor so that it doesn’t hinder the product’s movement. First, determine the size of the individual rollers by considering the load and loading conditions. For example, heavier loads with high impact will require larger rollers, while smaller rollers are required for slower loads.

The first step is to calculate the distance between each roller and the conveyor surface. The final step is determining whether the products hang from a conveyor. If so, a high-set roller conveyor with an overhang must also be considered. A low-set roller conveyor should be regarded as if the product is contained within the conveyor dimensions.

Load Capacity

After the system is set up and given a layout, it must be determined how much material it can hold. A system that is too heavy could cause it to fail or malfunction. Load capacity is affected by the overall length, width, and drive system. Gravity roller conveyors are ideal for flat-bottomed, light-to-medium-weight goods like totes, boxes, and bags. Still, they should not be used for highly delicate and cumbersome geometries like electronics and manufacturing parts.

System Speed

The speed of a conveying system is measured in feet per second (fpm). Most conveying systems travel at 65 feet per hour. This is the average speed of a person walking when they are carrying 50 pounds. This is a moderate speed, but it can be modified to fit the application.

Configuration of a Roller Conveying Systems

There are many options for roller conveying systems. You can choose from straight, angled, or horizontal versions. They also have pockets and slats, as well as z-frames. Because each system is designed to suit a specific application, it would not be easy to list all the possible configurations. For example, flat belt roller conveyors cannot be used where there is curvature. If hundreds of feet need to be crossed, then a more efficient design, such as a line shaft conveyor, must be considered to conserve energy. It is important to remember that there are no restrictions on how a conveying system can be implemented, regardless of its application.

Drive System

The drive is the power that moves materials in an automated conveying machine. It has a counter bearing that keeps goods moving and allows for belt movement. They can be built to transport goods in either direction and placed in the system’s center, beginning or ending. While overhead systems may have similar drives, they might be sprocket- or chain-operated.

Drive systems can be single- or variable-speed, depending on how they are designed. Most often, they have a gear that is driven by a motor. Modern conveying systems have variable speed drives, allowing material flow variations.

Behavior, Control, and Environment

The environment where the conveyor will operate must be considered. It should think about the desired mobility of your product as well as how much control you are allowed. A chain roller conveyor is recommended if there is heat, dust, dirt, filth, or wetness. High-tech roller conveyor options that deliver precise timing and zero pressure should be considered. If you need a quick, low-tech way to move an object from one point to another, there are two options: the belt roller conveyor or fundamental gravity.

Safety of the Conveying System

Conveyor systems must comply with federal safety standards and are regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. All conveyor manufacturers must adhere to the regulations. Conveying systems can be used to prevent employees from lifting and transporting heavy objects.

Chapter 2: Types and Applications of Roller Conveyors

There are many types of roller conveyors:

Gravity Roller Conveyor

The gravity roller conveyor is one of the simplest types. It consists of a frame with free-rotating rolling rollers that uses gravity to move the material along the line. These conveyors are cost-effective and can transport light-to-medium-weight items that don’t require a motor.

These can be made from steel, aluminum, or plastic. They can also come with attachments like curves, slide rails, supports, hanging brackets, and pop-up stops. These are often used in heavy-duty applications as replacements for skate wheel conveyors and to stack loads that don’t require special scheduling.

Belt Driven Roller Conveyor

A belt-driven roller conveyor powers each roller. This conveyor controls the material delivery. They are preferred over standard belt conveyors when goods need to be stopped briefly at control points.

The belt can be either V-shaped or straight for curved roller conveyors. Some belt-driven roller conveyors can carry goods wider than the frame because the rollers on these conveyors are higher than the frames. The rubber belt underneath the rollers must not be in direct contact with water, heat, or debris. This will cause the system to fail quickly. These conveyors are used frequently to transport heavy, medium-to-heavy items. They require periodic pausing and reversible operation.

Chain-Driven Roller Conveyor

A chain-driven roller conveyor works similarly to a belt-driven conveyor. However, instead of belts, each roller is powered by a chain. These are used when heavy-duty transporting is required. The chain is wrapped around the rollers of a roll-to-roll conveyor and attached to two sprockets. These systems are ideal for heavy-duty loads and reverse operations, as the power transfer is very high.

These are different from single-strand chain-powered roller conveyors. A single, non-looped continuous chain drives the rollers through the sprockets. This conveyor can only be used for medium- to heavy-duty work because it does not have the same power as its roll-to–roll counterpart.

Line Shaft Roller Conveyor

Line shaft roller conveyors are driven by a rotating shaft to which each roller is connected. These rollers are connected individually to the post by drive spools or urethane belts. This makes this conveyor quiet and easy to maintain. The conveyor can still be powered, but the drive spools can fit under minimal back pressure. This is the force on the rollers when the product has gathered, causing them to stop without affecting others.

The line shaft can power more than 100 feet of straight or curved rollers, increasing the efficiency of the conveyor system. These shafts can be reversible and are suitable for sorting, accumulation, and low back pressure.

Zero Pressure Roller Conveyor

Zero-pressure roller conveyors, also known as pressureless accumulation conveyors, are made to prevent any items from touching the conveyor. These high-tech control systems use sensors and motors to activate or deactivate certain ‘zero pressure” zones on the track. This creates a buffer zone between products to prevent accumulation. Motors connected to the control system are used to power some rollers. Photocells detect when an item enters and exits certain zones.

These conveyors can be used to repurpose older conveyor systems. They are ideal for applications that require consistency, timing, and movement speed. Although they are more complicated and electronically controlled than previous roller conveyors, zero-pressure conveyors are much more efficient and manage the material flow. This results in smoother overall transfer.

Powered Roller Conveyors

This advanced type of roller is powered and is known as a power roller conveyor. Because it propels the commodity forward, power inclusion was chosen. They are designed so that each of the nine rollers can be powered by an internal motor linked to the non-powered rollers using a series of O-rings.

These conveyors work best for lighter and smaller products. They have multiple conveyor segments which can be connected, allowing smart functionality to start or stop when needed.

Motor Driven Live Roller (MDR)

MDR – Motor Driven Live Roller conveyor – is a recent conveyor type. The enslaved person drives transport rollers using small DC motors. The motor is often built into the roller. Each motor acts as an accumulation zone. Simple controller cards can be used to control motor direction and speed. These cards can also prevent zone accumulation by using photo-eye inputs.

MDR is a better option than traditional AC motor conveyors for many reasons. MDR systems are great for accumulation because of their small size and distributed nature. They eliminate the need for complex pneumatic systems or PLCs. Transportation rollers can be compared to line shaft conveyors. Each band is easily replaced, and each one has enslaved person driven. Belts can be used on top of MDR rolling for speed changes, declines, and inclines.

Chapter 3: Benefits and Applications of Roller Conveyors

This chapter will focus on the benefits and applications of roller conveyors.

Roller Conveyors: Applications

Roller conveyor systems are widely used in many industries, including manufacturing and logistics, due to their versatility. These are just a few examples of the industries that use roller conveyor systems:

  • Food Control
  • Logistics
  • Packaging
  • Mail delivery service
  • Baggage control
  • Steelmaking
  • Design and Manufacturing

Roller Conveyors: The Benefits

Circuit design that is flexible and adaptable. Many solutions are available for any situation, including loads, routes, and slopes.

It is very safe and fast because of all the sensors and devices. This reduces the chance of goods breaking. They are also capable of supporting heavy loads. They are an excellent, reliable, and deeply-rooted solution for warehouse transport. Their value is undisputed. Conveyors are durable and long-lasting. This is an excellent investment that can be repaid over many years.

Roller Conveyors: The Drawbacks

Cleaning: Although precise solutions can be found to this problem, it is still more challenging to clean warehouses than overhead conveyors.

Space Consuming: Conveyors can limit the space in a warehouse layout. This must be taken into consideration when handling equipment or operators moving through.

Safety requirements for conveyors

OSHA has guidelines on the operation of conveyor systems. The American National Standards Institute (ASNI), based on guidelines from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, has safety considerations regarding conveyor design. ASME and OSHA update these requirements every year to reflect technological advances.

OSHA Guidelines

  • 1926.555(a),: General requirements.
  • 1926.555(1): The operator should have a motor stop switch. The pilot light must be able to ring when the system turns on.
  • 1926.555(a),(2): Remote operations should include a stop switch at the motor.
  • 1926.555(a),(3): The emergency stop button prevents the system from being reactivated until the emergency button has been reset to “ON.”
  • 1926.555(a),(5): Above-ground conveyors should have a covering beneath them. This can be ignored if the conveyor is too far away from employees.
  • 1926.555 (a)(6) and 1926.555 (a)(6): Warning signs should be posted on passageways, crossovers, or aisles.
  • 1926.555(a),(7): Conveyors must have warning signs and be locked out during regular maintenance.
  • 1926.555(a),(8): The ANSI B20 should be followed when making and maintaining conveyors.

ASME Guidelines

Safety standards for conveyors are included in the following:

  • ASME B11.0-2020 refers to the safe use of machines. It also mentions safety devices that must be used in the construction and installation of appliances.
  • ASME B20.1-2018: ASME B20. 1-2018 contains the requirements for designing, constructing, and operating a conveying device concerning hazards. It is a collection of safety guidelines. ASME B20. 1-2018 is intended for industrial use conveyors, not those meant to mobilize people.
  • ASME B20. 1-2018 is part of the specifications in ASMEB20.1, ANSI A1264.1, and ANSI 244.1, which include safety guides for conveyors.
  • ASME B20.1 & ANSI B11.19 are both in ASME B20. This document explains how to install, inspect, maintain, and operate a conveyor system.
  • ASME B20.1 and ANSI b11.19 are additional details about safety procedures for portable, permanent, or temporary conveyors.

Roller Conveyors Maintenance

Although a conveying system might appear to be one machine, it has many interconnected pieces that depend on each other for proper operation. Inspecting each component of a conveying system to determine how they contribute to the overall process is essential.

Steps for Conveyor Maintenance

Regular oiling of the drive screw and nut is recommended. After a long time, the oil must seal these parts. The conveyor system’s drive chain and roller bearings must be oil after use. It is best to assign a staff member the responsibility of oiling these rollers. This ensures that the system is always in good condition and is easily maintained.

Conveyor rolls need to be cleaned regularly. It is essential to clean the conveyor rollers regularly to keep them clean and safe. Different rollers need different cleaning methods. For instance, stainless steel rollers should be sprayed with water and then washed with detergent.

Conveyor system owners need to be proactive in their maintenance. This preventative maintenance aims to identify minor problems before they become serious. This preventative maintenance also ensures that your workplace system functions properly.

Preventative Conveyor Maintenance

Maintaining conveyor rollers requires that you inspect them regularly to make sure they are in good condition. Keep an eye on the speed of the conveyor rollers. They should be moving in the same direction. One roller that isn’t moving smoothly or wobbly indicates a problem and should be fixed immediately. It is crucial to check the roller bearings and determine if the problem can safely be fixed. Contact a maintenance specialist if the problem cannot be fixed safely.

After the system has been running for a while, it is important that you check the temperature of its lubricating side. If the temperature rises to an alarming level, it is important to turn off the system and allow the system to cool down before rechecking for possible problems.


Production and automation are both dependent on conveyor systems. Every roller conveyor system is tailored to the specific needs of each application. Gravity roller conveying systems are most popular, but there are other types such as belt driven rollers and chain driven rollers. Line shaft rollers can also be used. Zero pressure rollers are another type. Like any machine, roller conveying systems require regular maintenance. Safety is a key concern when using conveying systems. Safety is paramount when designing conveying systems. ASME and OSHA provide guidelines and regulations.


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