Roller conveyors in the supply chain

In this article we will explain what roller conveyors are, why the need to install them is increasing significantly in modern warehouses and how ATOX Technological Solutions smart roller conveyors have several features which convert them into a basic system to get high performance warehouses.

What is a roller conveyor?

Conveyors are devices which move goods from one place to another inside a warehouse, saving workers time and effort, which results in a drastic increase in productivity. Unlike other, older transport systems, a roller conveyor is a modular system that can combine segments with free wheeling rollers for the points with manual goods operation, segments with gravity roller conveyors and segments with automated motorised rollers. ATOX Technological Solutions smart roller conveyors also incorporate totally integrated sensors and diverters, allow curved stretches for changing direction without losing speed and are easily coordinated with other warehouse automated systems and with any WMS or ERP management software.

Roller conveyors with curved stretches

ATOX smart roller conveyors are modern technology which enjoys several advantages compared with older technologies such as conveyor belts or line-shaft conveyors, which are less versatile, need more maintenance and are more difficult to divide into segments inside the route.

With the modularity of smart roller conveyors, on the other hand, the warehouse can easily be divided into different areas, and into different segments inside each area. A roller conveyor can also be enlarged by extending and varying its route as the warehouse needs also increase.

The growing need for roller conveyors

The current evolution of business models and market globalisation is imposing the need to incorporate automated systems which enable us to have much more efficient warehouses to provide a response to the high demands of the modern supply chain.

The increase in E-commerce means that warehouses have to confront smaller but more frequent orders, the appearance of new business models based on long tail in comparison with mass markets and the ever increasing role of urban logistics. This trend will continue growing at a fast rate for the next few years.

With increase in warehouse automation, it is becoming absolutely necessary to have transport systems for goods inside the warehouse and, therefore, this increases the need to incorporate roller conveyors as a complement to storage systems.

Increase in the productivity of internal logistics

The productivity of internal logistics begins by optimising the storage space with more suitable metal racking systems, designed for every kind of load and rotation levels.

Roller conveyors are combined with automated warehouse systems such as miniload, with the automated preparation of orders with automated pick dispensers and with the speeding-up of picking operations with pick-to-light and put-to-light systems.

A warehouse worker can stay in his area without having to move across the warehouse and several workers can collaborate in preparing the same order. Smart roller conveyors can stop each tray in the areas where there are products to be included so that the worker can add the corresponding products. The automation system will detect the tray and send it automatically to the next picking worker if there are still products pending or straight to the exit area if the order is complete..

Roller conveyors

The cost of handling picking errors and inventory errors is more and more important in the modern supply chain. The costs of human and inventory errors can be far greater than those of the orders which produce these errors, which will often be smaller but more frequent.

Roller conveyors with integrated sensors, which work in coordination with the automated order preparation systems, allow greater traceability inside the warehouse and fewer errors during material handling.

Gravity roller conveyors

In the route of a roller conveyor, there can be stretches where it is more practical to use gravity roller conveyors, in this way reducing energy consumption.

It is essential that gravity roller conveyors are carefully designed taking into account each installation so that the slope, route and calibration of the `rollers allow the trays to go down in a controlled fashion. In cases like these, ATOX Technological Solutions roller conveyors are especially efficient since they can count on the experience of ATOX Storage Systems in manufacturing top quality metal racking and their perfect adaptability to racking systems such as multi-tier racking and mezzanines.

Gravity roller conveyors

ATOX Technological Solutions smart roller conveyorss

ATOX Technological Solutions smart roller conveyors can combine stretches operated by gravity with free wheeling stretches for picking points and motorised roller stretches.

In the case of self-propelled stretches, the rollers are divided into groups. In each group, a drive roller transmits the movement to several slave rollers by means of Poly-V belts. This, together with the incorporation of sensors, enables each group of rollers to detect when it has a load to transport, activating and deactivating itself automatically in accordance with real needs. This feature converts ATOX roller conveyors into a great energy efficient system at the same time as it reduces noise levels and so contributes to improving the ergonomics of the warehouse.

The ATOX Technological Solutions roller conveyors can incorporate the types of sensors most suitable for each warehouse, such as bar code readers, QR code readers, active RFID and passive RFID readers, etc. and its operation can be integrated into any WMS or ERP management system.

Roller conveyors with diverters

Flexibility in the route is another of the great advantages of ATOX smart rollers, which can include curved stretches with motorised rollers which allow changes of direction without losing speed.

Meanwhile, the automatic diverters enable the trays with incomplete orders in a picking post to be separated or the trays with completed orders to be diverted to the dispatch area in accordance with their destination.

The advantages of being a manufacturer of metal racking

The more than 50 years experience that ATOX Storage Systems has as a manufacturer of top quality metal racking and its consolidated experience in a wide range of industrial and logistics sectors has served as a base for ATOX Technological Solutions smart roller conveyors to enjoy great success because of their reliability and efficiency, designed to meet ball the real needs of modern smart warehouses.