In a previous blog, we discussed the Turtle Philosophy as it applies to CDM’s exclusive conveyor chain formula, which combines a case-hardened exterior with a malleable core to create the strongest, longest-wearing chain in the industry. This time we’ll reference a notable literary turtle as we analyze the issue of material degradation.
In Aesop’s fable “The Tortoise and the Hare,” a slow-moving turtle challenges a much faster rabbit to a race. Most people know how the story goes: the over-confident rabbit jumps out to a big lead, stops halfway through the race to take a nap, and wakes up to see the turtle cross the finish line before him. The moral? “Slow and steady wins the race.” It’s a testament to how consistency and perseverance outweigh speed when you’re trying to achieve a goal.
For most if not all of today’s industrial and manufacturing sectors, the goal is maximum output. With emerging global markets causing an ever-increasing demand for products, these sectors continually search for new ways to innovate existing processes in order to achieve higher levels of production.
Supply and Demand
Because of this increased demand, the availability of many materials has become more limited, and thus more expensive. The handling of these materials also involves the inherent cost of waste due to the breakdown of the material as it is being moved throughout the process. This is why minimizing degradation has become an essential aspect of managing a successful operation.
There are several factors that impact product degradation, including elevated temperature, friction from mechanical loading, and aggressive environments. All of these factors come into play as material is being processed, especially while it’s being moved via a conveyor. The method of conveying can impact the entire volume of material being transported, bringing about unwanted changes in the physical structure of the material as well as impacting the useable volume and overall quality.
Industry pays an enormous price for material degradation. At CDM, we believe that’s an unnecessary expense. Much of that wasted material can be saved simply by choosing the right conveyor. That’s why it’s critical for a successful industrial or manufacturing operation to understand how using the most effective and efficient conveying method can reduce direct cost.
The Cons of Common Conveying Methods
In most high-volume material handling applications, en-masse conveying is the best selection for minimal degradation. The same cannot be said for other conveying methods:
- A paddle/drag conveyor generates additional friction by forcing material along the entire length of the conveyor line.
- A screw conveyor utilizes a helix motion that constantly tumbles the material, inflicting a grinding effect at every turn.
- A belt conveyor operates at high speed and generates incredible impact on the material at the discharge points.
Friction, grinding and impact are all toxic to the integrity of many manufacturing materials. The advantage of an en-masse conveyor lies in its smooth, gentle operation. The motion is generated by the product itself – as opposed to the material being pushed, shoved or ground up by another means along the conveyor line – and the abrasion-resistant steel housing helps eliminate any internal disturbance or pressure on the material.
While other conveying methods may be faster, en-masse is by far the most efficient, utilizing up to 90% of the cross-sectional area in horizontal applications (a paddle/drag conveyor is a distant second at 45-50%). So an en-masse conveyor can actually move more material at a slower speed – all with less degradation.
Choosing the wrong conveyor can mean the difference between profit and loss. Or, in keeping with the theme of this blog, the difference between winning the race and losing it. Don’t be the hare and make speed the top priority in your industrial manufacturing process. Be the tortoise and embrace a slower, steadier method for moving material.