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What is a Conveyor System?

Posted: 06 January 2021



Conveyor belts or rollers are pulled along by an electric motor/gearbox generally mounted at either the discharge end for belt conveyors or centrally along its length for roller conveyors

For belt conveyors, when the motor turns it also turns the end roller which pulls the conveyor belt carrying the products. The motor can either run at a variable speed or at a constant speed depending upon the design requirements.

Roller conveyors are also driven by a 3-phase electric motor/gearbox mounted centrally along the length of the conveyor driving a Lineshaft type system or underbelt driven system which is in contact with the underside of the rollers, so when the rollers turn they move the products along that are placed on them.

Both belt conveyors and roller conveyors can also be driven by 24-volt driven rollers which have an integral motor encased within the roller.

Conveyor systems can be either manual (gravity) or controlled with software. Conveyor control software can be a simple as a push button box right up to a full WMS integrated SCADA system. The type of control needed depends very much on the purpose & requirements, product type, environment and budget.  



A conveyor system acts as like a central spine with numerous offshoots for operations that receive, handle, store, distribute, manufacture or despatch products.

The term “Conveyor System” is often used as a generic term and the design and layout of a conveyor system can look very different depending upon the process and the function they must carry out.

Conveyor systems are material handling systems that use various types and designs of conveyors to convey products either continually or by indexing/accumulating between zones, machines, or work/packing stations.

Conveyor systems are principally designed to work automatically without human intervention so can distribute items around an operation either in a production or warehouse environment and convey products to the correct destinations around the building keeping the number of personnel movements to a minimum.

Conveyor systems can also include Spiral conveyors or vertical elevators with integral conveyor to move products between floors, rather than using forklifts, goods lifts, or stairs.



Once a detailed site survey is complete, the next phase is the design of the conveyor system to suit the building, type of operation and products being handled.

Alternative system layouts are formulated based on parameters approved with the client at the planning phase and a final layout with the appropriate equipment is agreed taking into account factors such as labour requirements, operational restrictions, available budget and expected return on investment (ROI).

Once the final conveyor system layout and conveyor type is selected, a 3D computer simulation is utilised to ensure the system will not only work but meet all requirements.

3D design simulation also develops design criteria such as maximum peak volumes achievable, optimise types of conveyor merges/transfers and positions, suitability of product vs. conveyor type, and identify building constraints prior to the conveyor system being delivered to site.

Conveyor systems can be used to handle pallets, tote bins, parcels, cartons, poly bags and much more.



Conveyor systems play an important role in facilitating manufacturing and distribution processes.

Conveyor systems can be used in almost any industry where products need moving either from one area to another or to connect various processes and machines.

One of the main uses of a conveyor system is that it moves products around a factory/warehouse etc without the need for manual labour.

To ensure a flow of products with minimal manual handling, a conveyor system can be utilised to also move various sizes and shapes of packages from one floor up to another and back down again.



The primary benefits often gained by a designed conveyor system are:

  • Conveyor systems can be designed to automatically transport products to different destinations in a building by reading a product identification such as barcode or by size/weight
  • Decrease in order fulfilment cycle time
  • Operational costs and labour reduced
  • Improved ergonomically designed environment
  • Free up floor space and improve personnel movement by using overhead conveyors
  • Modular solution designs will meet your current needs and allow for future throughput requirements
  • Reduced health and safety risks
  • Makes social distancing easier 



Conveyor systems can be used in almost any industry where products need moving either from one area to another, from ground floor up to various mezzanine levels or to connect various processes and machines.

Manufacturing plants such as food, drinks, pharma, assembly/production lines utilise automated conveyor systems to greatly increase throughput volumes Distribution centres, Ecommerce fulfilment centres and warehouses benefit from using conveyor systems by speeding up order picking times and transporting products from all corners of a building to a centralised packing/despatch area.