Green conveying: A tough economy has put a premium on cost containment and an increasing interest in sustainability. Both are creating demand for motor driven roller conveyor (MDR). In these conveyors, each roller is powered by an energy-saving, 24-volt motor inside the roller. “The post office has seen a 60% energy savings in parcel-handling applications, and we have seen savings of up to 90% in some commercial applications,” says Rich Kosik, senior vice president for Itoh Denki USA (888-310-8811, http://www.itohdenki.com)). Those savings come in part from the low voltage motors. But it’s also because MDR conveyors can run on demand, operating only when product is on the conveyor. Users can also vary the speed of the conveyors, operating at 300 feet per minute on a busy day or 100 feet per minute on slower days.
What’s more, MDR providers are developing smart rollers that can monitor the operation of the system for predictive maintenance purposes. “We have developed a smart roller with an embedded memory chip that can keep track of the hours of operation and currents,” says John Mosher, solution development manager for Holjeron (971-224-1600, http://www.holjeron.com)). “If a roller is using too much current, it might mean that it’s the wrong size roller for that application. But it might also mean that the roller is beginning to fail.”