Conveyor Solutions: Expert Insights for Your Automation Demands

The Ultimate Guide to MDR Conveyors

By Ed

January 3, 2020
Russell Conveyor MDR Conveyor

Why MDR?

Why MDR, I guess a better question might be “Why Not MDR”?

If we said we could accomplish the following for you, what kind of response would you have?

  • Reduce workplace injuries by providing cleaner, safer equipment, (no heavy sprockets, no chains and no grease or oil lying around everywhere)
  • Reduce power consumption by 50-75% utilizing “Run On Demand” Technology
  • Reduce noise by 75-80%
  • Reduce maintenance costs
  • Reduce spare parts costs and inventories
  • Reduce single point of failure areas within your conveyor system
  • Increase versatility
  • Increase Reuse & Resale values
  • Reduce overall operating costs

So how does MDR do all these things? Let’s look at them one at a time but let’s start out by explaining what MDR is.

why mdr
YouTube video

What is MDR?

Motor Driven Roller or MDR refers to a conveyor roller where the drive system is housed completely inside the roller. These MDR Motors are small dc motors, fitting inside a 1.9” standard conveyor roller and are powered with a control card (sometimes refered to as drive cards) that runs off of 24VDC power. There are no external 480VAC drives that power belts with bulky chains and sprockets. These rollers become what is known as the drive roller when they are interlocked to other idler rollers in a conveyor system.  This type of roller conveyor system due to its ability to procisly control each zone is the only system that can provide true zero persurre accumulation.

Reduce Workplace Injuries

The MDR rollers carry enough torque to move some heavy loads, but because of the way they are powered they do not carry enough torque to hurt someone if they were to accidentally get their hand trapped between rollers. You also have much fewer pinch points than you do with conventional conveyor systems. The lack of heavy chains and sprockets also reduces the opportunity for workplace injury with the facility maintenance teams. Every maintenance team has that one guy that tends to over grease and over oil bearings and chains. You can always tell when that guy has completed his preventive maintenance because for the next several days, you are finding lubricant everywhere spilling out of the equipment. With MDR conveyor systems there is nothing to grease and there is nothing to oil so therefore there will be fewer slips and falls.

Shop for MDR Conveyor Now

Supercharge your material handling capabilities with our MDR Conveyor Quick Ship program offering lightning-fast lead times on standard equipment. Don't miss out on this opportunity to streamline your operations.

Russell Conveyor's MDR Conveyor Quick Ship Program

Reduce Power Consumption

  • Based on approximately 900 feet of conveyor
  • 24/7 – 6 Days a week = 7,488 Yearly Operating Hours
  • 18 drives for conventional belt conveyor system. One motor per 50’ of conveyor
  • 30” zones on the MDR at 2 amps 24VDC each
  • $0.08 per kilowatt hour power rate
  • MDR Run on Demand technology typically sees 25% – 50% run time vs. conventional belt conveyor systems. If there isn’t a carton on the system to convey the MDR doesn’t run.

Conventional Belt Conveyor System

18 Drives (2 amps each) @ 480VAC = 29,894 Watts/1,000 = 29.89 KW x 7,488 Yearly Operating Hours =223,816 KW Hours x $0.08 = $17,905 Yearly Energy Costs

MDR Conveyor System

360 Zones (540 Amps 24VDC), (14, 480VAC power Supplies) = 23,251 Watts x .50 (Because of the 50% Run on Demand factor) = 11,625 Watts/1,000 = 11.62 KW x 7,488 Yearly Operating Hours = 87,010 KW Hours x $0.08 = $6,960 Yearly Energy Costs

This is a $10,945 Yearly Savings based on 50% Run Time

Reduce Noise

This is simple. If your conveyor doesn’t run all the time it is not going to be making noise. When you couple that with the fact that when the MDR is running it is significantly quieter than conventional conveyor you see a huge overall noise reduction.

Reduce Maintenance Costs

There are fewer moving parts with MDR so there are fewer things to grease, fewer things to oil and fewer things to wear out. Most parts, (if they ever do need replacing) can be replaced by one person which reduces the time it takes to replace parts and reducing the number of people it takes to maintain your system.

Reduce Spare Parts and Inventories

There is no need for huge spare parts rooms and lots of spare parts inventory. Most of the time a 500’ conveyor system only needs a recommended spare parts list of less than $500. Compare that to $15-$20k for a conventional conveyor system.

Single Point of Failure

Anyone that has spent any time working in the conveyor business has heard this term used frequently. Single points of failure within a system are those parts of a system that if they go down, they take the entire system down. It could be something like one brake metering belt prior to a sorter. This is a big problem with conventional conveyor systems but because of the way MDR conveyor is designed it limits these areas and significantly limits the amount of time it takes to perform repairs in these areas.

Increase Versatility

Need to speed up or decrease speed on one short section of your conventional conveyor? Do you have 1 long carton that you seldom run on your conventional conveyor system but when you do it wreaks havoc throughout your system? Would you like to increase capacity on your system by utilizing your inclines and declines to accumulate product? All of these are big costly problems for conventional conveyor systems but no problem at all for MDR. These are just a few of the ways the MDR conveyor is much more versatile than the conventional conveyor.

Increase Reuse or Resale Values

Have you ever heard a maintenance technician refer to the “boneyard”? Typically this is the area where all old conveyors and equipment are stored in a facility and the maintenance team just goes back for the next several years and uses the old equipment as their very own parts room. Have you ever thought about what caused the boneyard to begin with? It is usually when the conveyor is pulled out and reconfigured in some way and the boneyard is where they take the parts or units that can no longer be used. What causes conveyor to be unusable? Think about it for a minute. If you have 100’ of conveyor and that conveyor is removed and reused in a 15’ configuration then you have 85’ leftover. The drive has been re-used in the 15’ configuration so there is no drive left for the 85’ so these old parts become scrap metal in the end. With MDR this WILL NEVER happen! Because of the MDR design if you remove 100’ of MDR and only use 15’ in a new configuration you still have 85’ of conveyor left that is 100% fully functional that you can reuse or sell.

Reduce Overall Operating Costs

Do we really have to explain this one? With all the items listed above, there is no way that you will not reduce your overall operating costs utilizing MDR conveyor technology.  Actual operating costs will vary by the client depending on actual run times etc., but each topic discussed here represents a significant individual saving. When all these items are combined it represents savings that just cannot be ignored for companies looking to add a new conveyor system or replace an existing one.

author avatar
Ed Russell
Share this post:
Posts On Tap:
Gapping conveyor

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.

Related Posts


Are you Ready?

Experience a Smarter Automation Solution!

Russell Conveyor will provide the turnkey solution that is right for you.


Request your FREE Quote Today!

Take Your Material Handling to the Next Level - Contact Russell Conveyor Today!

Are you tired of inefficient material handling processes that are slowing down your operations and costing you valuable time and money? Look no further than Russell Conveyor! With our state-of-the-art conveyor systems and cutting-edge solutions, we can revolutionize the way you handle materials, boosting productivity and maximizing your bottom line.


Risk-Free Quote

Get a risk-free quote today and discover how our innovative solutions can optimize your operations without any financial obligation.


Free Consultations

Take advantage of our free consultation and gain valuable insights into how our solutions can enhance your business without any cost or commitment.


Onsite Visit

Schedule an onsite visit with our team and let us assess your specific requirements firsthand, providing you with personalized recommendations for optimal efficiency.

Share This