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Flexible/Adjustable Conveyor

This paper discuss about a new conveyor system, which is
capable of adjusting its length (increasing/ shortening) according to
our requirements. This paper also discuss about the possible
advantages as well as its disadvantages with discussion about the
necessary requirements.


Continuous conveyors offer some problems, if not in all cases
but may be in some case. This is especially true in situations where
continuous automation were carried and the raw material (or the
product) was taken along a long path, thus demanding a continuous
conveyor. In order to have breaks in conveyor path (to permit cross
motion from one side to other) it is required to think for a solution.
The present paper discusses about a system viz
flexible/adjustable conveyor, which may help to eliminate the
disadvantages due to continuous conveyor.


The expected materials that are required for this system are:
1. Hydraulic ram arrangement
2. Two large rigid levers
3. High tension belt
4. Rollers and drive mechanism (motor)
5. Levers with suitable guide ways
6. Springs/bellows with high stiffness

Construction details:
The proposed system consists of six rollers. The basic
condition is that a set of two rollers (of equal diameters) should be
inline and should be guided along that path as shown in the figure1.
One of the rollers (No.1) is driven by a motor, the roller being in one
extreme position and cannot be moved. The other roller (no.2) which
is in line with the previous roller is adjustable, in the sense that it can
be moved towards and away from the fixed roller.

Figure 1 General description

At a distance equal to sum of the diameters of smaller and
larger rollers (vertically down), two other rollers of relatively smaller
diameters (no.3 &4) were positioned inline. Both the rollers were
fixed in position and cannot be adjusted (in terms of centre to centre
The remaining two rollers are supposed to be of same diameter
as that of the previous rollers and should lie along separate guide way.
The centers of these rollers are pivoted to the ends of the levers which
are once again pivoted at the ram end. Roller no. 6 is fixed in position
while roller no. 5 can be moved towards and away from the other
roller. The entire setup is arranged in an enclosure, so that the
enclosing sides act as suitable guides for free rolling of the rollers.

Basic working of the system:

In operation, the motor rotates the roller 1 which then makes
the belt to roll over it. Whenever the length of the roller is to be
increased, the hydraulic ram is operated so that the length of the ram
shortens. In this transformation, the levers which are pivoted to the
end of the ram come close, thus making the roller 5 to slide along the
guide. It is important to note that a high tension spring is compressed
slightly and placed in the guide inner portion as shown in the figure.
Whenever the ram shortens the spring force restores and causes the
roller 2 to move away from roller 1, thus leading to increase in length
of the conveyor. Spring force should be sufficient enough to keep all
the rollers in position for any load variations.

Figure 2
Figure 3 shows the schematic arrangement of the guide ways with
necessary arrangements

Figure 3
Roller 2 is made to accurately slide along the guides by means of
shafts running all through the roller axes, which fit into the slots of
the guides as shown in the figure 4.
Figure 4
It is important to note that the rollers 3 and 4 are always fixed and
cannot be moved along the guides as shown in the figure5.

Figure 5

If the length of the conveyor is to be reduced, the ram is so operated
that the ram length gets increased. In other words, roller 5 attached to
the lever-end moves away from the roller 6. This leads to increase in
the belt length along the bottom guide way, which further tends to
reduce the length along the rollers1 and 2. The ram now causes the
spring to get compressed. Thus the required changes can be obtained.


1. It is required to estimate tension of the spring for a particular
2. Any flexibility of the belt due to changes in the lengths should be
known well before the design of the system.
The proposed system may exhibit the following advantages:

1. Flexibility, in the sense that the lengths can be changed depending
on the requirements.
2. Provide side-side movements for material handling equipments,
processed materials e.t.c, which is difficult in case of continuous

Idea developed by:
V.Bhanu Chander,
Tirupati (A.P). India

Contact: +919052579495