Simply put, the brains of the conveyor system.
Conveyor Controls are responsible for directing product flow, including:
Controls can easily integrate with a variety of application technologies from pneumatics and servo motors to photo eye sensors, RFID readers, scales, and more.
Foundational to conveyor controls are a series of photosensors that sense product movement on the conveyor and relays that information to the Programmable Logic Controller (PLC). Through interpreting incoming information, the PLC computes the data to manage product movement, enabling the conveyor system to effectively integrate with other machinery on the line.
Leading the way in Intelligent Motion, Dorner has joined forces with fellow Columbus McKinnon brand, Magnetek, to deliver a turnkey solution that brings the best elements of conveyance and controls tailored specifically to your application. Shift the burden of more simplistic conveyor controls projects to our team and allow your team to focus on the broader integration projects.
For more than 30 years, the Magnetek brand has served the needs of both traditional and emerging commercial markets that are increasingly dependent on “smart” power. Magnetek® digital power and motion control solutions are able to leverage automation technology to improve our customers’ safety, uptime, and productivity.
Whether it’s material handling, elevator, mobile hydraulic, or mining, Magnetek has a fundamental understanding of our customer’s needs and apply their knowledge of digital power and motion control to enhance customers’ success. The Magnetek-brand, Energy Engineered® products include adjustable frequency drives, radio remote controls, braking and collision avoidance subsystems, and motors for a wide range of material handling equipment and applications. From conveyance controls to power delivery systems, Magnetek brand products represent quality and innovation in motion control technology.
Panel specifications and options include PLCs, VFDs, AC and low voltage BLDC drive and Servo Controllers. These controllers are highly adaptable to almost any application, and integrate seamlessly with a wide range of platforms. Our team can also help you set up and program your controller for optimal performance with your conveyor system.
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At the heart of any conveyor system is the ability to effectively move product from one point to another. Think of it this way: right time, right location, right orientation. These three phrases perfectly capture the essence of general traffic control.
Utilizing general traffic control is often seen in more complex manufacturing, assembly, and packaging lines where product needs to be at the right location and time as it enters its next stage. This is where general traffic control and conveyors play an integral role in making that process a success.
General traffic control refers to the conveyor’s ability to correctly orientate and position the product. This can be accomplished by simply slowing down or speeding up the conveyor or stopping it altogether when product arrives at a location. For more complex operations, general traffic control can involve pacing, sorting, indexing, or the use of mechanical devices such as pushers and diverters to control product movement.
One method of general traffic control is pacing, which provides the proper amount of space between products as they move into the next stage of processing. For example, as products are ready to be packaged, they typically need to be spaced in a particular increment to sync up with that packaging machine. Another common example is labeling applications. Product often needs to be paced with a gap between them, providing enough time for the label application or barcode reading to occur.
Sorting is another form of general traffic control. In sorting applications, product is being evaluated as it moves along the conveyor, eventually being routed into a particular location. These evaluation points along the conveyor usually correspond to a cell for additional processing down the line or a common location for shipping. Some products will be sorted into one or more lanes, depending on pre-programmed factors detected along their route on the conveyor.
Sorting can also be determined by quality control factors. For example, as packaged food passes through metal detection, approved products are cleared to continue, whereas products that are rejected get sorted out of the line.
Some applications call for products to interface with another piece of equipment further down the line. In these instances, indexing or positioning of product is the right answer. For example, in robotic pick-and-place applications, the product needs to be at a precise location for the robot to successfully identify and engage. The best way to accomplish the task is through proper indexing or positioning of product in that location.
While pacing and indexing/positioning are similar in operation, there are differences in how they are executed. Whereas pacing involves the steady flow of products while creating a certain gap between them, indexing/positioning applications often will momentarily stop product flow at a precise location, allowing time for an action to be completed on the product before the line resumes moving.
Accessories on the conveyor, such as pushers and diverters, can also help provide general traffic control of product. Pushers and diverters are mechanical devices that move product in sortation applications. Pushers can be mounted at the side of the conveyor and used to move product from the conveyor perpendicular to the flow. They can also be used to remove or transfer parts to other equipment or conveyors.
Diverters are static guides mounted on the conveyor to gently adjust the flow of product into one or more lanes or align product into a single lane. They are often used to meter flow to specific areas or to separate products based on certain attributes.
As Columbus McKinnon transitions to become the intelligent motion leader, we are combining equipment used in material handling applications with industry-leading control and automation technology. The result is innovative, intelligent motion solutions that make real-time information available at our customers’ fingertips and drive interconnectivity of equipment worldwide, which ultimately helps move the world forward and improves lives.
Turn to the combined expertise of Dorner Conveyors and Magnetek Controls to POWER your system integration. With Dorner’s nearly 60 years of industry leading conveyor design experience and Magnetek’s 30 years of industry leading controls experience, we can be your single source of support for this turnkey conveyor + controls solution.