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Minimize the Number of Motors Without Sacrificing Automation System Performance: A Case Study

Posted by Ron Schwar | Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Glide-Line is known for creating innovative automated conveyor solutions for clients and integrators facing unique challenges. With most other conveyor manufacturers, custom-built solutions would be offered for many of our projects, costing the customer a ton of money and time. Glide-Line solutions are different. Our conveyors and components are purposely flexible, so even new, custom solutions are built at significantly less cost and the lead time is much faster than a typical custom solution.


One example is the Mechanically Slave Driven Conveyor Solution we built for a customer who needed to retrofit a new conveyor automation system, but wanted to minimize the amount of drives for the control system.

Slave driven conveyor with notesThe automation system they needed was an upgrade to an existing system; they only had so many motor drives to work with and couldn’t easily add more. Glide-Line’s team worked to minimize the traditional number of motors in a conveyor system to use only what the customer already had.

The solution was the Mechanically Slave Driven Conveyor Solution.

Glide-Line was able to deliver a system to drive our different conveyors off a single motor.  By maximizing a single motor’s capability – transferring power through four conveyors – the client was able to continue to use the limited number of controls they had while also saving mechanical and electrical hardware costs compared to traditional solutions.

The solution incorporated:

  • One motor

  • Two pop-up merges

  • O-ring belt conveyors

  • Two twin-strand conveyors

This system used mechanical slave-driven power from the single motor to transfer the power through all four conveyors. This creative way of saving costs was possible thanks to Glide-Line’s flexible conveyor systems. In this case, we were able to add slave-drive boxes which resulted in a power take-off rotating shaft. Power was transmitted through our steel-tensioned timing belts to accomplish the movement without loss of strength.

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We quickly realized the Mechanically Slave Driven Conveyor Solution could be applied to additional challenges some integrators and their clients might face.

Break in Conveyor Strands without Breaking Conveyor Belt

The Mechanically Slave Driven Conveyor Solution can be used if the automation process requires an operator to access the pallet in an area that’s over the belt. They need a break in the conveyor strands, but they don’t necessarily want to break the conveyor into separate motors. This solution achieves the desired outcome in a cost-effective way.


Gap in One Strand of A Dual-Strand Conveyor

If the customer needs a gap or break in one strand of a dual strand conveyor, the Mechanically Slave Driven Conveyor Solution is the solution. For example, if the customer has a dual strand conveyor with a pallet (where something may hang down in the center), this solutions allows the client to put a notch or break in one side of the conveyor to help orient or modify the product as necessary.

Mechanically Drive Individual Conveyor Zones

Using this solution, you have the ability to take sections of a typical conveyor and break them up into separate, mechanically driven zones. This solution takes a single length of conveyor and breaks it into multiple zones to accommodate tooling or other customer process requirements that may require notching or breaks.

The Mechanically Slave Driven Conveyor Solution is a simple, elegant way to alter the very basic conveyor to do something unique on behalf of our customer. We have tons of examples of creating other innovative, unique solutions. Read more in our ebook, The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Flexible Automation Conveyor Application Solution.

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

Written by Ron Schwar

Ron Schwar is the Godfather of Glide-Line! A machine designer by trade, with experience designing everything from bottle cappers, to fiber optic embroidered apparell and even un-manned helicopters, he has seen it all. His passion is to develop innovative products for engineers that are easy to design with, easy to design around, and set the bar for industrial automation. He loves a challenge and does anything that he can do to make Glide-Line the best it can be.

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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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