Difficult to Convey: Documents and Stacks of Paper

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Saving you paper on moving paper.

The material handling industry is wrought with products that are simply a bear to move. For some products there are plenty of “okay” options, but an optimal one is seemingly nonexistent. So do you just call it quits, close the doors, and never sell another of your difficult to convey products? Of course not.

One of the most difficult to convey products I’ve ever witnessed is stacks of loose leaf paper. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Let’s MacGyver this situation and bundle the papers together to make them one, solid block of product. We convey solid blocks of stuff all the time.” Well, maybe that wasn’t what you were thinking, but whether it was or not, keep those tube socks on and consider this:

This is a good solution, but you are introducing an additional non-value added process to your production line. This process may even be one that has to be undone later depending on how many stages of processing the paper requires. Can you really afford the additional costs there?

More conventional “okay” solutions introduce sticks of belted, slider bed AC conveyors. This option is affordable and can fit seamlessly into an automated process. Without complex controls however, the simple conveyor will provide exactly what it is designed for; simple conveyance:

This means that there is no ability to accumulate the stacks of product, no ability to mitigate the flow of the product, and no option to ramp up or slow down speeds to ensure the top of the stack does not topple on start up or when stopping. AC belted conveyors typically require large diameter end pulleys to support the tension of the belt. This may seem like an unrelated fact, but a large diameter end pulley means a larger transition between connecting equipment which can spell trouble for paper. Will your paper stack survive these conditions?

Conveyor paper incorrectly

Paper stack that has not been conveyed properly.


Paper stack that has been properly conveyed.

This dilemma, which brings back memories of tedious physics problems and static friction, is what makes conveying paper such a difficult task. The “okay” solutions are not the best for the throughput of the system, and while the introduction of complex controls or additional processes can help, the cost and time for installation increases greatly.

So how does one convey paper such that the throughput of the system is optimized, the integrity of the stacks is maintained, and the cost of the solution is not ridiculously high?

Bastian Solutions has created a DC powered, zero pressure, plug-and-play style, belted slider bed conveyor that does just that. By utilizing DC brushless motors, the distinct zones create zero pressure accumulation with controllable acceleration and deceleration profiles. The use of slider beds keeps the stacks of paper on a flat, level surface to assure consistent conveyance. After multiple prototypes and iterative designs, we were able to create tight enough transitions between the zones to capture all the pros of the simple, AC bed, without any of the cons. The plug-and-play nature of the conveyor make this product very similar to our ZiPline BZPDC and other DC powered products, meaning a few wire harness connections and a power supply are all that separate you from a fully functioning system.

Paper stacks on zero pressure conveyor

Paper stacks properly conveyor on zero pressure accumulation conveyor.

For more information about this product or to receive a quote, please contact: [email protected] or call (317) 467-2583

Nate has recently moved into the Sales Manager role at Bastian Automation from his previous position as Account Engineer. He is responsible for leading the sales and marketing team. He oversees all facets of sales including marketing and literature, strategic market planning and penetration of new accounts, management of existing customer accounts and general management of the Application and Account Engineers. Nate graduated in 2009 from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering.

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