Up, Up, & Away: Spiral Conveyor vs. Incline Conveyor

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Incline and spiral conveyor are both excellent methods of product transport, but which is right for your application?

Spiral vs. incline conveyor

In a perfect world, every conveyor system would be flat. However, this is hardly ever the case.  People, equipment, walls, and daily operations always seem to get in the way.  Therefore we must go over, under, or around.

Going over is a common method to miss obstructions and can free up valuable floor space within a warehouse or manufacturing facility.  So how do you get the product from floor level to the desired overhead elevation? It depends. There are two important questions to answer.

1. What type of floor space is available?

If floor space is wide open, incline conveyor and decline conveyor are the simplest form of transportation.  If a single incline or decline conveyor can be used, this is the most cost effective and least complex solution.

If floor space is limited, spiral conveyor may be the best solution.  They can move product to higher or lower elevations within a very small foot print.  A complex incline or decline conveyor setup using multiple conveyors with powered curves and straight sections to reduce the foot print can increase integration and electrical cost and may be more costly when considering the whole package and not just the material cost of the inclines / declines verses a spiral.

2. How large is the product?

Incline and decline conveyors are often a better choice for transporting larger products. Even the larger spiral conveyors max out at about 30” between side rails.  Someone should always verify product can be conveyed based on the radius of the spiral and the length and width of the product.

If your product fits on a spiral conveyor, another benefit is that spirals also increase the amount of product storage within a very small foot print compared to incline or decline conveyors. They can also be taken one step further by utilizing an accumulating spiral which is more flexible, allowing for additional product to be stored compared to a conventional spiral.

Every situation is different and the circumstances of each situation will typically lend itself to one solution or another.  In a nut shell, if there is available floor space, incline / decline conveyor will work great.  However, if floor space is a premium, a spiral conveyor may be the best fit as long as your product size is conducive.

If you have questions about which type of conveyor to use for transporting product to higher elevations, please contact us. We have a great team of engineers ready to help.

I have been with Bastian Solutions as the Kentucky Regional Manager since July of 2015 and have prior experience in automation across many different industries. I enjoy working with customers to develop solutions to their material handling challenges, helping them reach their goals.

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