Material Handling Experts


Calculating Conveyor Speeds

What speed should your conveyor operate?

conveyor speed photo

The standard speed for most unit handling conveyors is 65 FPM (Feet Per Minute). This is the average speed a person walks when carrying a 50 lb. box. Other speeds, both faster and slower than 65 FPM, are also available.

However, some facts should be pointed out when changing speeds:

Horsepower ratings in the Cisco-Eagle catalog and website are calculated according to the standard speed listed for that conveyor. When increasing the speed, more horsepower may be needed.

As a rule of thumb, it will take twice as much horsepower to move a given package at 130 FPM than at 65 FPM. The formula below may help to determine the approximate power requirements :

Horsepower in chart (based on 65 FPM) x DESIRED SPEED (In feet per minute)/65


  • Model TA, 11' long requires 1/2 Hp motor at 65 Feet per minute for a total load of 320 pounds.
  • You desire your conveyor to operate at 90 Feet Per Minute.
  • Calculate as follows: (1/2 X 90) / 65 = .69
  • You should select the next highest horsepower or 3/4 Hp.

This formula may be used to give you a good estimate. Ask us to do a complete horsepower calculation is you have any concerns.

The service life of a conveyor running at a higher speed may be shortened considerably. Most conveyors are not designed to run over 200 FPM. When they do, some parts may need to be balanced to prevent excessive vibration, and special bearings may be required. The type of belting used on a conveyor may also need to be considered.

NOTE: Pallet handling conveyors generally operate at 30 FPM and 30 may be substituted in the denominator of the formula.

If you have questions, contact us. Cisco-Eagle can help you determine the right speed, horsepower, and other specifications for your conveyor.