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Conveyor System History

March 5, 2014

Conveyors have been around for hundreds of years, and they were originally used in agricultural settings. Farmers would use conveyor belts to load grain onto ships, but these devices were not even close to as technical as the conveyor systems we use in today’s material handling industry. Modern conveyor systems are highly sophisticated networks of conveyors that can automate many of your warehouse’s processes. This includes the transportation of product to any location in the facility, including vertically and into truck beds, as well as sorting various products from one conveyor line to many destinations.

In the early 1900s when factories and industrialization became widespread, conveyor systems were being utilized to transport items throughout busy factories. In 1913, Henry Ford introduced conveyor belt assembly lines at his factory in Michigan. Conveyor belts used in this setting significantly increased efficiency by transporting the parts to the workers, instead of workers constantly moving. Underground coal mines also started utilizing conveyors in the early 1920s to transport coal out of the tunnels efficiently without consuming manpower.

World War II manufacturers also used conveyors in their factories, and these conveyor’s belts were comprised of synthetic materials. This was due to the shortage of rubber and natural resources that were being utilized in the war effort. After World War II ended, conveyor system technologies rapidly improved as people returned to work and resources were no longer scarce.

In 1957, B.F. Goodrich Company patented a “Turnover Conveyor Belt System”, which incorporated a half twist (a.k.a. a “Mobius strip”). This half twist made the belt last longer because it exposes all of the belts surfaces, spreading out the wear and tear equally. This isn’t utilized anymore because modern conveyor belts are comprised of many layers of material and are much more durable.

Today’s conveyors come in many different styles and can be completely customized to suit your specific material handling needs. American Surplus has an experienced sales team that has been selling quality used conveyor for over twenty years. We will work with you to create customized CAD layouts of your conveyor system. ASI also provides installation services, so we will help you with your project from start to finish.