While most people are kicking off the New Year with resolutions, I personally find that January is the perfect time to reflect on how we have done in the past year.
Flexco had some clear standout solutions in 2018. I’ve brought the top three together in a “Best of 2018” list and they reveal some key trends for 2019.
The more I think about it, 2018 was a great year! The Flexco team implemented solutions to belt conveyor issues and increased the productivity of our customers’ conveyor systems all over the world and in a wide array of industries.
Let’s get started. Here is the No. 1 solution of 2018:
1. Prevent Product Loss At The Transfer Point in Parcel Handling
With the “Amazon effect” in full swing and the rise of the e-commerce market globally, I was not surprised that our solutions for the parcel handling industry were one of our most prevalent in 2018.
The term “Amazon effect” describes the effect that the entire digital marketplace has had on traditional forms of commerce, and it has driven major growth in e-commerce.
The largest parcel handling hubs process more than 1.8 million packages per day during peak season, so an efficient facility is necessary to keep up with these volumes. Also, daily deliveries fall behind when facilities operate at anything less than 97% uptime, and downtime can cost as much as $2,500 per minute.
For parcel handling operations, transferring product safely from one belt to another, or from belt to chute or other structure, is often one of the biggest problems. Foreign object debris anywhere along the line has the potential to damage the belt, compound product loss, or even worse, shut down the system completely.
With uptime being so critical within parcel handling operations, Segmented Transfer Plates provide a safe transition of products throughout the sortation process to help prevent unscheduled downtime, just like they helped reduce downtime in this package sortation facility.
This simple, but highly effective solution has been implemented into major parcel handling facilities all over the world and takes my number one spot in the best of 2018 list.
You can see our Segmented Transfer Plates in action by
2. Increase Productivity and Sanitation During Endless Belt Splicing
The food processing industry is amidst a tempestuous period because of the growing global demand for food safety and consumer demand for higher quality products. There is a significant economic impact attached to getting food safety wrong, which makes it a top priority for food processors.
In the food processing industry, an interruption to production is no small matter. Valuable goods and raw materials can spoil. Workers who are on the clock may be unable to perform their jobs. With output and profitability at risk of suffering, food processors are searching for new ways to increase their productivity and sanitation.
The Novitool® Aero® Splice Press takes the second spot in my “Best of 2018” list as it is highly effective at combatting both these important issues, increasing productivity and sanitation.
The splice press increases productivity for food processors by enabling them to splice their belts quickly, with cycle times of as little as 8 minutes. Productivity is even further increased when food processors control their belt splicing in-house, as it allows them to respond immediately to a damaged belt instead of waiting for outside contractors to arrive. Here’s a great blog post that goes into this in more detail.
Controlling belt splicing in-house also removes the risks associated with outside contractors coming into the facility and cross-contamination occurring. Plus, the Novitool Aero Splice Press is air-cooled as opposed to water-cooled, and in food production applications, the threat of bacteria harboring in water containers is a major concern. Using an air-cooled press limits the risk of waterborne bacteria growth and increases facility sanitation. You can read an informative blog post on sanitation here.
This is a great real-life example of the Novitool Aero Splice Press creating sanitary splices at a bakery, and you can find out more about
3. Limiting Dust At The Transfer Point
Dust. It’s a dirty word in the bulk handling industry and can be associated with several other words and phrases, such as maintenance costs, worker safety, plant safety, diminished quality, and contamination.
Organizations and government agencies across the globe have regulations for dry bulk materials handling, and while the measurements and laws differ, they all have the same goal in mind … dust control. Consequently, FlowFirst™ Transfer Points are the third solution in my “Best of 2018” list.
Coal, Cement, Pulp and Paper, Aggregate, Iron Ore, and many other heavy-duty industries all struggle with dust control, and one of the most difficult areas of the conveyor system in which to control dust is at the transfer point. Speeding material up, slowing it down, changing its direction, and liner impact … all of these things create some amount of dust. As materials move through transfer points, they experience all of these variables.
When it comes to limiting dust with controlled flow chutes, Flexco uses Tasman Warajay® Technology to provide transfer point solutions that combine three factors: material impact, material stream shape, and conveyor loading.
A custom-engineered controlled flow transfer chute is designed to keep impacts low (or away from the perpendicular hit), which will keep the material going in the desired direction, regardless of size, with less material degradation.
A condensed, controlled stream that does not fold or roll over on itself (especially when changing direction) is optimal when it comes to controlling dust, as it decreases the amount of material that has the potential to become airborne.
A controlled flow transfer chute isn’t only important for dust minimization – with an effective transfer also comes the ability to increase tonnages and productivity on site.
Productivity – The Common Theme
So what does reflecting on our best solutions of 2018 mean for the future? The common theme here is increasing productivity. Industries are beyond reaching maximum production levels and are focusing their efforts on increasing productivity. It’s the largest opportunity industries have to grow their profitability.
Solutions like Segmented Transfer Plates, the Novitool Aero Splice Press, and FlowFirst Transfer Chutes reach to the core of increasing productivity, and solutions like this will continue to be in high demand in 2019.
For Flexco, this means continuing to focus on what is most important to our customers by designing, manufacturing, and supporting products and services that maximize belt conveyor uptime, increase productivity, and promote safety.
Authored by: Martin O’Neill, Senior Director of North American Sales and Global Strategic Accounts
O'Neill has worked at Flexco since 1993 in a variety of sales and leadership roles, beginning his career in Australia as a Territory Salesman in New South Wales. He now provides leadership and coordination of all sales resources in North America, including Territory Managers and Transfer Chute Field Application Specialists, as well as strategic leadership for Global Strategic Account resources. O'Neill earned a bachelor's degree in Business from Sydney University in Australia.