So What is a Conveyor Anyway? A Brief History:

Simply put, a conveyor is a mechanical system that moves product or material from one location to another [1]. Humans have been working on ways of transporting loads since before the invention of the wheel. Partial primitive ‘conveyors’ had been used to transport especially heavy loads for centuries before the invention of the modern belt conveyor. Hypothesis for the construction ancient structures, such as the pyramids and Stonehenge, posit that logs placed on the ground acted as rollers for transporting large objects across great distances [2].

Most sources point to 1795 as the introduction of the belt conveyor and were used to transport bulk grain from shore to ships [3]. These hand-driven devices were later powered by steam, and the invention of Vulcanized rubber introduced a stable, flexible, and durable medium to use for transporting materials. Richard Sutcliffe revolutionized the mining industry when he invented the world’s first underground conveyor belt system for transporting coal. Henry Ford forever changed manufacturing when he introduced a belt conveyor system at his Highland Park, MI plant, creating the world’s first assembly line.

As manufacturing practices and technology advanced through the 20th century, so too did methods of transporting just about everything. With the dawn of the computer age came the PLC (programmable logic controller) and the modern conveyor system was born. Fully automated “lights-out” facilities now run continuously without human intervention.

Types of Conveyors

There are many different types of conveyors, and each is designed specifically for the product or material it is moving. When you mention the word ‘conveyor’ most people think of the straight belt system found at modern grocery store checkouts. But materials can be moved in bulk via rollers, buckets, augers, air (pneumatic), and even simply by gravity. Here are some of our completed projects highlighting different types of belt conveyors used in industrial applications:


Innotech curved conveyor 2


innotech combining conveyor

Drop Drive

Innotech drop drive conveyor


Innotech corrugated conveyor 2


Innotech incline conveyor


Innotech Inspection Conveyors


innotech laned conveyor


innotech modular conveyor


innotech crab line packing straight conveyor

Y & Z conveyors

Innotech elevating conveyor 2

In addition to the configurations listed above, there are several types of belts with different materials available. Belts can be made from rubber, nylon, polyester, plastic, metal, or other specialized materials suited for the application.

Bringing it All Together

Production facilities utilizing modern conveyor systems will likely integrate automation to control their entire process. These advanced systems can be run and monitored from a central location or even remotely, and the efficiencies gained overcome the initial setup costs in a relatively short timeframe.

Do you have a conveyor project at your facility? Whether you’re starting from the ground up or would like to upgrade or modify an existing system, get in touch with an Innotech engineer to discuss your application.

2 Responses

  1. I totally agree when you said that each type of conveyer would have their own purpose for certain products or materials they are moving. With that in mind, a mobile conveyor manufacturer would probably recommend a certain model for a company depending on the products they produce. In my opinion, it is best for the owners to invest in those recommendations for a more effective process and to be efficient as well, especially when there are deadlines to meet.

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