Spiral Conveyors Deliver Big Throughput, in a Small Footprint

Vertical conveyance is a space saver, and spiral conveyors offer many unique features that make them an ideal solution for industry trends like brownfield development, cold storage and integration of new and existing machinery. (Taoufik “TK” Haddadi, Sales Manager)  with Ryson International, Inc. explains what’s next in vertical conveyance, and how spiral conveyors solve challenges impacting manufacturers and system integrators:

1) What are the unique features, and key benefits of spiral conveyors?

At it’s simplest, a Ryson Spiral is a helical inclined conveyor, saving considerable floorspace over traditional inclines. They offer a continuous product flow that is consistent and durable. They offer a high throughput and gentle product handling. They can handle different product sizes without the need for adjustments or change parts. They are also a very simple design that are both energy efficient and need very little maintenance.

2) What is flexible modularity, and why is it significant?

The core design principle of Ryson Spirals is modular construction. This allows custom built options for each spiral, allowing them to be built to exact specifications without the added expense of unique parts. Infeed and discharge heights, angle of incline, orientation and up or down product flow are all easily configured using our standardized modular components. It is also beneficial because they can easily be modified in the field to address an engineering mistake, or to accommodate a line change, or even repurposing. Lastly, even though most spirals ship in one piece, they can be constructed in sections if the installation area is congested. This is common when a spiral is purchased to replace antiquated equipment. All these factors contribute to lowering the total cost of ownership.

3) What pain points are addressed by spiral conveyors in brownfield initiatives?

Many spirals are ordered to replace old equipment in existing facilities. Companies may wish to replace larger diameter belted curves with a more streamlined Spiral Conveyor, or to replace a VRC to increase throughput, or minimize maintenance downtime. It is also common for companies to fit an additional production line in an existing building, requiring them to focus on footprint reduction, which is a Ryson specialty. Another less obvious reason is that spirals can be reconfigured, or repurposed, and can come in handy if a company is looking for efficiency optimization. Ryson Spirals can also aid in cost reduction because of their low maintenance and efficient power consumption.

4) How do spiral conveyors help businesses integrate new automated equipment and legacy machinery?

At the end of the day, a Ryson Spiral is just a vertical conveyor. But as automation trends develop there is usually an undercurrent of minimizing the operational footprint. Ryson Spirals can also start and stop fully loaded because of their rolling friction design. They are often utilized for indexing product to an automation process, or providing vertical buffering if something downstream needs to be adjusted.

5) Is the boom in e-commerce creating new challenges that can be solved with vertical conveyance?

Absolutely. The boom in e-commerce has led to a few trends, one of which is expanding vertically instead of adding more square footage to buildings. As companies strive to be more responsive, micro DC’s are popping up near metropolitan areas, where real estate prices are higher, so there is a very palpable need to maximize overhead space, instead of square footage.

As companies add more and more SKU’s and strive to fulfill orders faster and faster, pick modules and order fulfillment processes are racing for optimal performance and efficiency. Our Spirals have the ability to introduce, or discharge product at intermediate levels, making them ideal for multi-tier pick modules, where a single spiral can deliver totes to all the levels of a pick module. They are simply the most reliable, efficient and space-saving solutions for multi-level order fulfillment operations.

6) Is the boom in grocery subscription services changing the factory floor?

We see the grocery subscription service market being a subset of the e-commerce and cold storage market, both areas where spirals thrive.  Floor space and available pick faces are important in this market and spirals allow providers to expand vertically instead of horizontally.  Combining spirals with FIFO storage modules ensure product turnover and the reliability of spiral conveyors ensure constant product flow.  Being able to operate in coolers and freezers allows Ryson spirals to be used throughout the system, simplifying maintenance.

7) How are spiral conveyors solving the challenges surrounding the boom in cold storage for food manufacturers?

Functionally, cold storage operations are similar to other order fulfillment processes, except it takes place in refrigerated/freezer environments.  This is also a very welcome trend for Ryson, because our equipment can be configured to operate in environments as low as -40º. We have developed special cold slats that are less brittle in cold temperatures.

Ryson Spiral Conveyors need less floor space than conventional incline conveyors and are faster and more reliable than any elevator or lift. They are well suited for CPG companies and any warehousing operations.
All Spirals are available in powder coated carbon steel, hybrid, stainless steel, wash-down and freezer versions. Learn more at www.ryson.com

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