How to Reduce Package Handling Damage and Errors
Damage to packages is a growing pain point in warehouse distribution when it comes to overall package handling. When packages, containers or totes are forced against the rail or ride against the conveyor rail, they can get caught up or jammed. This creates wear or damage to the container or package. Package damage concerns exist in facilities in many industries, including those conveying boxes, shrink wrapped packages, cartons of soda, water, packaged meals, condiments or polybags containing smaller goods.
The best way to reduce this type of package damage is to replace metal galvanized side guides on a conveyor with plastic guide rail or beaded guide rail.
Prevent Damage with Bead & Roller Guides
Bead and roller guides provide excellent solutions to prevent damaged packages. They are used in areas on a conveying line where containers have trouble moving smoothly. These areas cause products to crown together or jam. The dense patterns of free moving beads or rollers create a durable low friction guiding surface. The free rolling action does not allow the product to create any friction points or bridges, which can cause unwanted shutdowns or jams.
For example, one facility had boxes exiting a shrink wrap machine to be scanned and sorted. The existing side rail was ripping the shrink wrap since the package was still hot coming out of the shrink wrap machine. By replacing it with beaded guide wall, which created a lower co-efficient of friction and didn’t rip the hot shrink wrap, the problem was solved.
In another case, a metal galvanized rail was damaging cardboard used to package beverages. Transitioning to a wide guide rail reduced rejects due to package damage, saving the company thousands every year.
Package Handling Errors
Several trends are creating challenges for the material handing industry. In recent years, consumer buying behaviors have moved warehouse distribution from bulk shipments to smaller, individual packages. Similarly, grocery stores are moving to online ordering and home delivery, changing the way they sort and distribute goods. In order to meet this new trend, areas are set up where people are pulling, picking and grabbing products manually. This creates issues in terms of on-the-job employee injuries from repetitive motion or possible catch points. There are other costly issues including inaccuracies and productivity limitations happening as well.
Another trend affecting the material handling industry is the recent change from shipping products in boxes to polybags. Polybags have become more popular as freight carriers now charge by package size verses package weight, and polybags are smaller. However, polybags can be difficult to convey as they often get stuck in gaps or catch points on the conveyor.
Advancements in conveying technologies, such as modular conveyor belts, make it easy to divert, transfer, and sort packages of all sizes without the need for the traditional pop-ups and pneumatics of the past. These innovative conveying modules are allowing distributors to cut down on package handling errors.
Solutions for Sortation
Since traditional pop-up right angle transfer belts cannot handle the variety of packages existing today, the easy solution for addressing all these concerns and trends is an integrated module that can divert, transfer and sort multiple package types. Roller top belts offer the unique ability to transfer and divert packages based on the spheres’ vector speed and direction and the near continuum surface allows for very small packages to be diverted. This technology uses a transfer belt to receive and pass product through and a divert belt to diverts packages left or right. Both belts are driven by industry standard MDR technology and are capable of divert and transfer of packages of all types and sizes.
For optimal sortation flexibility, a solution that offers these capabilities is recommended to make on-the-fly sortation easy and automated:
- Receive product
- Pass product straight through
- Divert product left or right
- Stop and divert full 90 degrees
- Divert on the fly (blended vector angle)
Other benefits to utilizing these innovative modular conveyors include:
- No gaps or catch points
- More safe
- Easily integrates into new or existing system
- Runs on 24 Volt technology
- Low maintenance
It’s now more important than ever to be able to implement technologies to reduce package handling damage and errors. Modular conveyor belts and bead and roller guides are allowing distributors to improve productivity, increase safety, and save money.