Conveyor Solutions: Expert Insights for Your Automation Demands

The Best Powerful Conveyors: V-Belt Live Roller Vs. Maintenance-friendly MDR

By Ed

June 23, 2022
V-Belt Live Roller

Ol' Lonely and Newton Make Some Friends

Jesse White was born on January 3, 1917. He made his first amateur appearance as an actor at the age of 15. He had a very successful career in acting, appearing in many TV shows and movies to include, The Twilight Zone, Perry Mason, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Munsters and I Dream of Jeannie. He also played Fred Boone on the Andy Griffith Show. Fred Boone and his wife Jennie Boone never could get along with each other and were constantly fighting. Andy finally gets tired of it and hatches a plan to get them to love and respect each other and it works! That episode originally aired on February 6, 1961.

As recognizable as all those famous shows are to Baby Boomers and The Generation X crowd like me, Jesse White was known more for an advertising role that he portrayed. In 1967, Leo Burnett from Chicago hatched a genius plan that would cast Jesse White as the spokesman in the pioneering lead role of one of the longest running advertising campaigns in the history of television.

Any ideas what that was?

Jesse White was the very first Maytag repairman. If you never seen the commercials, you really missed a treat. The commercials depict Jesse as “The Loneliest Guy in Town” or “Ol’ Lonely” as he is often referred to, sitting at a repair shop with absolutely nothing to do. No phones ringing, no visitors, nothing to do. He plays solitaire, does crossword puzzles and other meaningless tasks with only his trusted companion Newton the Basset Hound as company.

Jesse White would go on to play this role until 1989, an astounding 22 years. After Jesse White, the role would live on and be portrayed by multiple actors including Gordon Jump, Hardy Rawls and Clay Jackson. Currently, the role is being played by Colin Ferguson who Maytag refers to as “The New Guy.” The ad campaign still runs to this very day, 53 years later. That could arguably be the longest running ad campaign in the history of advertising. What an amazing run!

What does a 53-year-old ad campaign have to do with the difference in V-Belt Driven Live Roller Conveyor and MDR Conveyor? If you guessed maintenance requirements, you would be correct. V-Belt Driven Live Roller Conveyor has a lot of moving parts. So many that even general maintenance is typically a nightmare.

Save up to 93% on energy costs with MDR Live Roller Conveyor
vertical farming with robotics

Maintenance Cost

Let’s take a close look at 10 feet of V-Belt Driven Live Roller Conveyor and make a list of general wear items and inspection points that need maintenance.

V-Belt Driven Live Roller Conveyor:

  • V-Belt
  • (18) 2” pressure pulleys with bearings
  • (8) 2” return pulleys
  • (1) 8” drive pulley
  • (1) 8” return pulley
  • (1) drive shaft with a taper-lock sprocket or timing pulley
  • (1) return shaft
  • (1) gear reducer with a taper-lock sprocket or timing pulley
  • 30” chain or timing pulley
  • (1) 480VAC conventional motor
  • (4) full size flange or pillow block bearings with locking collars
  • (39) finger guards

To compare, here is the same list for MDR conveyor.

MDR Conveyor:

  • (39) O-bands

No, I didn’t forget the rest of the list or accidentally delete it. This is the entire list. When we compare V-Belt Driven Live Roller Conveyor with MDR Conveyor what we see is mind blowing. When we talk about maintenance cycles, most manufacturers of V-Belt Driven Live Roller Conveyor recommend inspection every 200 hours. If you are running a 20 hour a day, 5 day a week operation that equals an inspection every 2 weeks. In addition, you have lubrication requirements, etc. that could be as frequent as every 500 hours or 90 days, whichever comes first. I could write another 3 pages on the actual cost this equates to, but we won’t go into that if we both can agree that the cost is substantial.

Operating Cost: V-Belt Driven Live Roller Conveyor vs. MDR Conveyor

1 Drive (2 AMP each) @ 480VAC = 960 Watts/1,000 = .96 KW x 7,512 Annual Operating Hours = 7,211KW Hours x $0.10 = $721.00 Annual Energy Costs

MDR Conveyor

Motorized Roller Conveyor

2 Zones @ 24VDC = 72 Watts/1,000 = 0.072 KW x 7,512 Yearly Operating Hours =540KW Hours x $0.10 = $54.00 Annual Energy Costs

This is a $667 Annual Savings … A WHOPPING 93% Savings

As you can see, who wouldn’t be excited about a 93% savings on their energy costs?!


The safety aspect speaks for itself. If I was to hold up an O-band and a greasy size 50 drive chain, you would look at it and try not to laugh when I asked which one looked scarier and more dangerous. It would be the equivalent of asking you who you would rather sit down and eat a meal with, Michael Myers from the Halloween movies or Mister Rodgers. I also know that there are some people that could get hurt with a bag of cotton balls. However, if all safety protocols are followed such as lock-out tag-out, then most conveyor systems, including V-Belt Driven Live Roller, can be very safe.

The spectrum of possibilities for injury are so much wider for any conveyor that has a conventional drive system vs. MDR conveyor. With the MDR conveyor, we have removed all of the “scary” and potentially dangerous drive components as well as the risks that accompany them. This also piggy backs on the maintenance side because when we remove the “scary” components all the specific safety protocol goes away which saves companies time and money.

Ol’ Lonely and Newton Make some Friends

As technology has progressed and users have started seeing the benefits of MDR Conveyor over V-Belt Driven Live Roller Conveyor, maintenance shops across the country have started downsizing. I really hope as technology continues to advance and the workload gets lighter for maintenance personnel, that some will take the time to visit “Ol’ Lonely” and Newton. They would probably be full of advice on how to occupy your time in a very quiet repair shop with nothing to do, and I think both could use some friends! They have been alone in that repair shop for 53 years now.

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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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