Conveyor Solutions: Expert Insights for Your Automation Demands

Live Roller Conveyor – The Unsurpassed Champion Of The Conveyor Roller Industry

By Ed

June 21, 2022
Live Roller Conveyor

History of the components behind the Live Roller Conveyor

Serious arguments could be made about the history of Live Roller Conveyor. We can trace varying patents back 75-100 years; however, we would argue that the principles of Conveyor rollers date back even further than that.

How far back? All the way back to the invention of the wheel. We know that the “Live” part of Live Roller Conveyor means “powered” and not gravity, but just bear with us for a moment. For as long as civilizations have had access to round objects, they have used those objects to move heavy items.

According to National Geographic, “We forget that ancient people are just as smart as we are,” said Terry Hunt, an archaeologist at the University of Oregon who studies the Polynesian culture of Easter Island. “In fact, they may have been better focused because they didn’t have our distractions.”

Some have even taken four round objects, attached them to a steel body, and called it an automobile. A winning concept, huh? In all seriousness, very rarely does one see old photos or drawings (we mean old photos) of people moving heavy items with anything other than round objects. Early settlers in our nation used logs to move everything as they did not have access to tractors or powered equipment.

Small logs were used to move larger logs with which they built their homes and structures. Studies have shown how ancient civilizations moved large stones and monuments such as the 13-ton stone monuments of Easter Island.

What was the conclusion? How did they accomplish that? Round objects! So next time you look at pyramids in Egypt, think about how they moved those large stones and know that some form of Live Roller Conveyor principles probably had something to do with them being able to accomplish that monumental feat.

For as long as civilizations have had access to round objects, they have used those objects to move heavy items
vertical farming with robotics

Present Day

Many forms of true Live Roller conveyors exist in today’s automation and material handling world. Ultimately, the most used definition of Conveyor rollers is…

“A round steel ( typically galvanized steel) roller used to move product in which the roller makes direct contact with the product.”

We use Conveyor Rollers today to move everything from light paper products weighing less than a few ounces and medium duty to the heaviest of heavy-loaded pallets. Everyone has opinions, but we are confident that everyone would agree that Live Roller Conveyor is the undisputed heavyweight world champion workhorse of the conveyor and automation industry. It can and does all the heavy lifting in our industry.

The small 3PL just starting out doesn’t begin with an advanced shoe sorter with 150 diverts. They start with a few hundred feet of basic Live Roller Conveyor to move their products. By comparison, we challenge you to visit any Big Box Distribution Center that houses thousands of feet of conveyor. You will find that Live Roller Conveyors will make up most of their systems.

It is the go-to for large and small companies for moving products from point A to point B. You will not walk into a retail brick and mortar establishment and pick up a product off the shelf or order anything online via an E-Commerce website that hasn’t touched a Live Roller Conveyor somewhere during the journey to get the product from the manufacturer, to distribution, to your hands.

Various Types of Roller Conveyors

  • Gravity Roller Conveyor
  • Gravity Conveyor
  • Powered Roller Conveyor
  • Belt-driven roller conveyor
  • Line-shaft roller conveyor
  • Heavy Duty Roller Conveyors

Varying types of Live Roller Conveyors exist, and the technologies that power them change almost on a weekly basis. Live Roller systems have become and continue to be more innovative and more intelligent. As the technology advances, so do the options for speed options, weight capacities, and applications.

Several years ago, when a Live Roller Conveyor was mentioned, most people pictured a line-shaft conveyor. However, in today’s market, that could mean Belt Driven Live Roller, Chain Driven Live Roller, or Motor Driven Live Roller.

Older line-shaft systems had minimal weight capacities, and maintenance was a nightmare. Now with modern-day Motor Driven Live Roller Conveyor, the maintenance requirements have been significantly reduced in some cases up to 85-90%.
Gone are the days of pulling shafts out and replacing dozens of O-rings during a maintenance cycle.

Also, in years past, you would have never dreamed of running any product on a line shaft conveyor greater than 30 pounds, but that is no longer an issue with modern-day systems.

The drive options and combinations for Motor Driven Live Roller conveyor are almost limitless. One of our favorite speeches (and we have a lot of them) is the speech where people tend to put Live Roller Conveyor in a box. More specifically, Motor Driven Live Roller Conveyor.

In the past, Motor Driven Live Roller was placed in the same category as line-shaft systems, which equaled lightweight products, but not anymore.

Do you have a 4,000-pound pallet? Okay, we do that with a roll-to-roll chain driven Live Roller Conveyor.

You have a 500-pound carton, and you want to run it with standard 1.9” rollers? Okay, we can do that with a poly-v or micro-v drive belt drive system.

We recently designed a Motor Driven Live Roller system for an electric car manufacturer in which they needed to run a 280-pound battery module and wanted to do it with DC driving power. Challenge accepted and accomplished!

In the Future

There are some exciting things happening as we dive into the future of Live Roller Conveyor. Most notably for us is the advanced use of RFID technology within rollers. There are many advantages to using RFID technology, but the most exciting for us is how it is changing the way we track cartons on large systems.

This technology does away with multiple input photo eyes and redundant, outdated hardware solutions.
The RFID technology in-bedded in Conveyor rollers will become increasingly prevalent in an attempt to increase overall efficiencies and inventory accuracy.

Lastly, there are many uncertain things in our future and industry; however, the viability and long-term use of Live Roller Conveyor (in varying forms) are not uncertain at all.

As sure as we are about those ancient civilizations using round objects to move heavy items, we are confident that Live Roller Conveyor will continue to be the workhorse that carries products throughout the country and our world.

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Ed Russell
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About Russell Conveyor & Equipment

Russell Conveyor and Equipment has been in business for over 20 years. We specialize in conveyor systems and material handling solutions. Russell is a family-owned business, and we take pride in our customer service and quality products.

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