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Overcoming VFD Drive Shortages with Zero Contact Zoned Accumulation Conveyors

Posted by Kevin Mauger | Monday, June 20, 2022

Problems tend to stack up quickly in the OEM world. With the COVID disruptions, labor shortages, and increased demand for automated conveying solutions, everyone is scrambling to find a workaround for the current VFD drive shortages.

GL - oh wowWe have even heard stories that a lead time for a standard VFD MUX chip current lead time for a standard VFD MUX chip (that costs only $2) will be 91 weeks!

To be fair to these engineers and project managers who are understandably upset with the current situation, almost every supplier of VFD components is in the same boat. Or, well, not on the boat – if you understand what we’re getting at. But before you run to Reddit to complain, what if we told you that you can overcome the challenge with a Zero Contact Zoned Conveyor with a DC drive from Glide-Line?

Interested? Well, let me explain more.




Overcoming VFD Drive Shortages with Zero Contact Zoned Accumulation Conveyors

ZCZCQuick delivery and availability of VFD and other components continue to plague manufacturers that depend on automated conveying systems. The cause of the current shortage stems from a lack of raw materials, the scarcity of semiconductors, and some unforeseen events like the fire at Japan’s Renesas plant in March last year. This led to historically low inventory levels for manufacturers that depend on microprocessors to run and operate their machinery.

The prevailing wisdom from experts to overcome this issue is:

  • Rethink your critical spares strategy – The longer lead times mean that if you don’t have the spares you need, you’ll need to order them ASAP to avoid long downtimes if a part fails.
  • Reconsider the design for any new projects – If you are starting a new production line and need to source VFDs or smart MCCs, reconsider your design and speak to vendors now to see how the shortage may delay your project.

These are good long-term strategies, but if you're developing a new project, here’s how Glide-Line can help.


An Indexing Conveyor Design without a VFD or Servo

DC MotorGlide-Line’s Zero Contact Zoned Conveyor uses an integrated chipset on a DC drive to move pallets or products gently through your process stages. It eliminates the need for 3 phase drives that rely on VFDs to control the motion on the line and provides additional benefits including:

  • Energy savings – DC drives use less energy, and you can save up to 20-40% on electricity costs per year
  • Improved reliability – A DC drive has fewer parts and doesn’t require any maintenance on the motor
  • Availability - we have DC motors and integrated driver cards in stock!


Why Choose a Zero Contact Zoned Accumulation Conveyor with DC Drives from Glide-Line

Apart from the shortest lead times in the industry, Glide-Line’s conveyor systems are completely configurable and you can get started designing your solution right now with our IMPACT! software. The system has zero backpressure, which is common with product accumulation conveyors reducing wear and tear on the line. With the 24-volt DC motor, you use less energy and won’t have to frantically search for VFD components or hop onto Reddit to complain about a lack of spares.

To discuss your needs with one of our application specialists, reach out to Glide-Line today.

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Topics: Solutions for Applications Engineers, Conveyor System Designs, 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. 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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