5 Ways to Support Your Conveyor System, While Conserving Floor Space

Written By: Bill Galbraith

Conveyor System with Hanging Supports

If your facility roof isn’t strong enough to support your conveyor system, such as the one pictured, there are other methods you can use that also save floor space.

In years gone by, facility roofs were designed in such a manner that you could just about hang the Queen Mary from them with little regard given to worrying about the roof collapsing or caving in. Nowadays, this is not always true.

With rising costs in steel and labor, building roof structures are for the most part designed with the minimum loading allowed by law. This is even more prevalent in areas within the U.S. where snow loading is not considered due to weather and climate conditions.

This can cause concern when trying to layout a material handling system within a distribution center. Clear floor space is very important to customers for many reasons; it allows clear and safe passage for forklifts and pedestrians, while also providing room for floor staging of pallets and goods.

There are various ways conveyor can be supported without the use of building steel, while also keeping the floor below as clear as possible.  Below are five methods I’ve used or encountered while designing conveyor systems:

1. Strongbacks:

This is a simple and economic form of undertrussing a conveyor joint, allowing for the removal of a floor support.

2. Pallet Rack Upright:

This option uses a pallet rack upright in conjunction with a standard conveyor support to gain a high support height that is sturdy and economic. By using this method with a standard conveyor support, adjustment of conveyor height can be easily achieved.

3. Simple Structural Support:

Two floor columns with a bridging member across the top are used to support the conveyor. This method is extremely useful when you have multiple parallel conveyor lines running through a building. With proper sizing and calculation of the bridging member, you can support all lines from one structure. In combination with the strongbacks, you can have these structures placed every 20 feet; thereby, creating a clear tunnel under the conveyor lines allowing obstacle-free passage for forklift trucks and pedestrians.

4. Superstructure:

A labyrinth of steel members positioned in such a manner at common conveyor joints allowing dropping of the standard conveyor supports onto the steel members. This kind of structure can be decked with bargrate and handrail paths to create maintenance catwalks for use by authorized personnel.

5. Mezzanine:

These structures are basically a fully decked out superstructure using B-deck and flooring. Mezzanines create a second floor above the main floor which can be used to support conveyors, provide additional floor space for work areas, or provide additional storage area for other processes within the facility.

The above examples are just some of the methods that can be used when challenged with the task of supporting conveyors without the use of the building steel, while keeping as much available floor space as possible.

Does your facility use conveyor supports to save floor space? If so, what method was used and why?

As a systems design engineer at Bastian Solutions, I have been involved in many diverse projects, handling anything from bottles of nail polish to frozen tuna. I enjoy the diversity of the projects we get involved in and the dedication of my colleagues to see the project completed to the customer’s satisfaction.

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2 comments

  1. Bill Galbraith says:

    Originally titled “Still no ‘Sky Hooks’ after all these years.” which many will remember was a common phrase when tasked with this challenge.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The use of Sky Hooks had been in constant decline due to the advancements in use of hovercrafts and David Blaine Style magic.

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