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Ask The Space Wizard: When Should I Use Skatewheel Conveyor?

UNEX Manufacturing offers a full line of gravity conveyor solutions designed to efficiently move material through yourunex-space-wizard facility including full-width roller conveyors, flexible conveyors, and skatewheel conveyors. Like most UNEX solutions, each style is designed for different applications. But how can you tell which type of conveyors are the right solution for your specific needs? Knowing when to use roller conveyors vs. skatewheel conveyors can be tricky, but the Space Wizard is here to guide you through the process of deciding what's right for your operation.

Here are 4 questions you need to answer to determine whether skatewheel conveyor is right for you.

1: What are you conveying?

The first step is to analyze your load - what are you conveying? Determining the characteristics of your load will help you determine whether skatewheel conveyor is the right choice for your operation. As you begin your search for the right solution, it’s important to know the following characteristics of the load you’re looking to convey:

  • Size and shape (L x W x H). Is it rectangular, square, round like a pail or drum, is it a tote?
  • Weight
  • Bottom surface of load (should be firm, smooth and flat)
  • Type of product 

UNEX Skatewheel Conveyor

Skatewheel conveyors are best utilized for items with a firm, smooth, and sturdy bottom. Containers with ring-banded bottoms, most bagged items, and cartons with flimsy or soft bottoms cannot be handled on a skatewheel conveyor.

2: Where do you need to flow product?

Most operations do not have a straight line connecting processes like order picking to processes like packing or shipping, while many others find the need to “wrap” their aisles with conveyor to move their inventory.

Because skatewheels offer greater tracking ability compared to rollers, UNEX’s Skatewheel Gravity Conveyor is designed with curves and turns in mind. The differential action of the individual wheels allows the product to maintain its original position on the conveyor. This means your product will flow with the curve of your conveyor, keeping your items on track and free of damage. 

Curved Skatewheel Conveyor

3: Do your conveyors need to be portable?

In a growing operation, a solution implemented today may need to be utilized elsewhere tomorrow. UNEX’s Skatewheel Gravity Conveyor can be outfitted with steel or aluminum wheels, as well as permanent H-supports or portable tripod supports. This allows you to implement a lightweight solution that can easily be adjusted and repurposed as your operation changes.

Portable Skatewheel Conveyor

For even more mobility, UNEX provides Flex Wheel Series Gravity Conveyor - a flexible conveyor solution - featuring a skatewheel design mounted within a collapsible frame, complete with swivel casters and handles for easy movement.

4: How much pitch can you accommodate?

Skatewheel conveyors require less pitch to transport items compared to roller conveyors. If you’re using gravity to move your items along, that means the pitch required (and the vertical height required to achieve it) is lower than a full-width roller gravity conveyor. 

Requiring less pitch lets smaller operations with lower vertical clearances take advantage of gravity flow while remaining within their ideal specification range. If space is limited, requiring less pitch makes it easier to fit skatewheel gravity conveyor within your footprint. 

Still not sure if UNEX Skatewheel Gravity Conveyors are right for your operation?

Our space optimization specialists can help you review your operation and develop a UNEX conveyor solution that fits your specific needs. Contact a product specialist to get started!