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How to make a Manual Conveyor Assembly Line Safe and Efficient

Posted by Kevin Mauger | Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Often we find that the incorporation of manual assembly steps can be a good option for an assembly operation. Sometimes the payback wouldn’t exist by full automation, or other times it would be a very complex task for a machine. Either way, manual assembly may be a necessary part of your product build, but it doesn’t need to be inefficient or unsafe in the process. 


manual  assembly  doesn’t  need to be  inefficient  or unsafeGlide-Line’s Zero Contact Zoned Conveyor solves efficiency and safety concerns in an elegant way by removing the traditional pop-up product stops. Eliminating these pinch points where operators can pinch hands or fingers eliminates one of the higher risks of manual assembly. Here’s how the Zero Contact Zoned Conveyor improves efficiency and reduces risk in manual assembly operations.



Indexing Solves Safety Concerns

Indexing, the process of moving product from one predetermined position to another in order to complete a series of operations, consists of moving a work-piece pallet from station to station to complete the assembly process. This is typically done on a conveyor by keeping the belt or chain moving and popping up stops, which the pallet runs into, and which creates pinch points wherever stops are on the system.  Instead, using our Zero Contact Zoned Conveyors, this process can be done by turning on the conveyor to begin indexing, and then turning it off when the workpiece pallet reaches its predetermined location. 


Automating the stop function through indexing removes the need to manually stop pallets or, worse, continue to let the conveyor run under products while manually completing operations (an inefficient use of energy). 


Related Video - How the Zero Contact Zoned Conveyor Prevents Product Damage While Accumulating


Efficient Stopping Makes Better Use of Energy

The Zero Contact Zoned Conveyor avoids the use of hard stops (except in areas where precise location is needed which is not usually an area attended by operators, and we have controlled deceleration in these areas). Instead, we go with a more elegant approach. Each zone uses a sensor. When a pallet enters a zone, the sensor is triggered, which tells the conveyor to stop immediately and the zoned conveyor’s dedicated DC motor shuts off. The separately-zoned conveyor and product gradually decelerates until it makes the stop.


Efficiently using energy in this way prevents the conveyor from continually running under product that is not moving (such as during accumulation). It also prevents issues with product damage thanks to the smooth acceleration and deceleration within the various steps of the assembly process. Additionally, this can be controlled manually, so if your process needs a manual operator’s touch, you still receive the benefit of controlled deceleration while coming to a stop. 


It’s easy to see why the Zero Contact Zoned Conveyor can benefit your manual assembly operations from both a safety and efficiency standpoint. Learn more today in our ebook, How to Manage Conveyor Accumulation Issues, and discover why this conveyor might be the right fit for your process.


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Topics: Solutions for Applications Engineers, Flexible Conveyor Solutions

Written by Kevin Mauger

Kevin Mauger started working for the parent company of Glide-Line the day after college and bought the company 12 years into his career when it was at an all-time low. The company has multiplied in volume 5X since and is growing at 20%+ year over year. In a Surprise Announcement in 2017, in a dream come true, he gave almost half of his company to his employees. Personally, his entire life is based upon spending time with his family, figuring out a way to get out deep sea fishing, and supporting his Philadelphia Eagles. His vision for Glide-Line is to make it the world’s most flexible multi-strand conveyor solution with tools for customers allowing instantaneous response and control of their own destiny along with the fastest deliveries in the industry.

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Glide-Line offers the most versatile multi-strand panel and pallet-handling solution available for the assembly automation industry.

We solve problems that other conveyor systems manufacturers won’t. We developed Glide-Line from the ground up with a few key, driving factors in mind. First, our conveyors had to be robust and reliable. Second, they would be simple – easy to maintain and service. Finally, we insisted on flexible configurability, creating an efficient, hassle-free customer experience. We’ve built the most versatile multi-strand panel and pallet-handling solution available for the assembly automation industry.

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