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Conveyor or carts for material handling

5 Reasons to Utilize Conveyors Over Carts for Material Transport

Tim Brown | 24 June 2016

The challenge of how to best move materials efficiently though the facility is something that keeps many operation managers scratching their heads.  The evolution of material transport in most operations generally starts with operators carrying products by hand from point A to point B.  At some point, the volume of product dictates the use of a cart to improve efficiency.  Eventually, the debate shifts to utilizing non-powered carts and trucks or conveyor. But when is it right to utilize conveyor over carts?
  1. High Volume / High Cost – As the number of movements within the facility increases so does the cost of these movements. Conveyors can greatly reduce the cost associated with moving products via cart by driving down labor requirements and improving efficiencies.
  2. Sequence / Error Reduction – Many operations require products to be kept in specific sequences as they move through the facility. Conveyors are an extremely effective method to achieving this (think Henry Ford assembly line).  Quality control engineers strongly favor conveyor over cart systems for this very reason.
  3. Product Damage – When applied correctly, conveyors can greatly reduce product damage. The process of repeatedly loading and unloading product onto and off of carts takes a great toll.  Zero pressure accumulation conveyors, which allow products to travel and accumulate on conveyors with minimal contact between products, are extremely effective tools for reducing product damage.
  4. Safety & Ergonomics – By nature, conveyors offer many advantages in terms of safety and ergonomics over cart transportation. Conveyors can be positioned at ergonomic heights in which products can be loaded and unloaded with minimal bending and twisting.  Conveyors also move products in predefined paths, eliminating the potential of warehouse workers colliding with one another as they move goods through the facility.  Conveyors also reduce operator fatigue and injury.
  5. Tight Space – Conveyors can greatly reduce the overall footprint of an operation. When applied correctly, they can be suspended over an operation (ceiling hung).  Often times fork truck aisles and cart staging areas can be removed, creating a very efficient operation.
Bastian Solutions can help you evaluate whether a cart based or conveyor material delivery solution makes sense for your operation.  Give us a call today.

Author: Tim Brown

Tim is a Bastian Solutions Senior Applications Engineer based out of Louisville, Kentucky. He has a Bachelor of Science and a master’s degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Louisville. Tim has been providing distribution design and integration leadership for numerous Bastian Solutions’ clients for over 30 years, helping clients develop strategic initiatives and lead successful system implementations.    


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