Chain Conveyors vs. MDR Conveyors
Chain conveyor systems and motor driven roller (MDR) conveyors are both useful machinery for bulk material handling. Both are excellent heavy-duty options and are used to transport or move products in a warehouse setting. Types, categories, and applications of these industrial conveyors have many different designs and applications. Common types are conveyor belts, powered rollers, and motorized conveyors.
What is a Chain Conveyor?
A chain conveyor typically moves loads that are too heavy for a standard MDR conveyor. They are robust in design and can move pallets, drums, containers, and other items that have a sturdy surface and are not easily damaged. The chain driven roller drive has the most reliable drive of any roller conveyor and is thus used to transport heavier loads, usually at lower speeds.
How Does a Chain Conveyor Work?
They use an endless chain to transfer power and feed items down the conveyor line. They are used in commercial and industrial facilities, including warehouses, automotive plants, and distribution centers. A chain roller conveyor is similar to a belt conveyor but instead of using belts it uses a chain to feed each roller. A chain driven roller conveyor (often referred to as a chain conveyor or pallet conveyor) is often used to move heavy loads at a consistent speed.
One drawback of chain conveyors is they can be noisy when compared to MDR conveyors. The sprockets and chains working together can create an excessively noisy work environment, although advancements have led to a number of solutions to this problem.
Benefits of Chain Conveyors:
- Low Maintenance
- Extremely adaptable and flexible to different layouts
- Moves heavy loads
- Very operationally safe
Types for Chain Conveyors
According to AGI, the most popular type chain conveyor is the drag conveyor. This configuration pulls products horizontally with the chain inside an enclosed chute. Drag conveyors come in two configurations, En Masse and Bulk Flow. En Masse are best for moving products horizontally while Bulk Flow is better when products are moved up a steep incline.
What is an MDR Conveyor?
Products conveyed on an MDR system do not have to be uniform in size or extremely sturdy. Active roller conveyors use low-friction bearings to support the load carried along the line, effectively using the energy needed to transport cartons and containers over long distances. They are available with or without filling blocks located between the transport rollers to reduce the penetration of small fasteners.
Systems that use MDR technology have steadily increased over the past 20 years…
How does an MDR Conveyor Work?
An MDR conveyor uses rollers driven by a motor to move products to their destination. Conveyor types include belt conveyors, gravity rollers, belt and apron conveyors, motorized roller or drag conveyor systems. They are often used for small parts such as packaging and cartons. Conveyor rollers are driven by belts, chains or O-rings, depending on the load.
Roller chains that are steel or plastic can be used to transport pallets from one station to another on an assembly line. Products typically assembled with this type of rugged conveyor include automotive transmission kits. Another transport option that engineers should consider is the flat top plastic chain.
Control cards are the programmable brain of the MDR conveyor system. According to Itoh Denki, control cards are the “driving force” behind the motor driven roller conveyor.
Benefits of MDR Conveyors:
- Quiet operation
- Easy programming abilities
- Easy startup & maintenance
- Operationally safe
Which Conveyor is Right for You?
The conveyors can be used to assure continuity of production lines, transport items at a controlled speed at regular intervals, and are often used in warehousing, manufacturing, handling and package distribution applications. When heavy transport is required and when unfavorable conditions prevent the use of conventional belt conveyors, a pallet handling conveyor may be the solution.
Since roller conveyor equipment can economically handle cartons that fall within the physical dimension range of mailing and online orders, the number of roller conveyor systems and systems that use MDR technology has steadily increased over the past 20 years due to the popularity of online shopping.
Roller systems can allow items to accumulate on the line where conveyor belts can not and also control products in the line and use zero pressure build-up, which means none of the objects touch as they slow down and eventually stop. The biggest innovation is the motorized roller drive or conveyor, where each roller is connected to the motor by a belt or chain for increased controllability. The walking beam conveyors move material along the conveyor gradually using movable and static supports.
In many material handling projects, conveyor belts are used to reduce power requirements by using roller conveyors that are best designed with rollers that support the belt to reduce the drive friction, and thereby reduce the power requirements. Downward conveyor belts are best designed with a steel slide plate that supports the belt instead of the rollers so that increased friction between the belt and the steel plate prevents products from trying to push the belt toward one position.