Hytrol e24™ Rollers vs. Lineshaft and Conventional Motor Driven Rollers
24-volt motors offer "cost of ownership" flexibility, maintenance, and space saving advantages
Since Hytrol rolled out the e24™ 24-volt motor conveyor in 2008 at Pack Expo at the Cisco-Eagle booth, we have implemented many projects with the new technology. In fact, it has become 18% of power roller conveyor sales since then. Many manufacturers have copied the concept as well. Its advantages and cost savings are well documented, but this comparison takes it a step farther for several existing types of conveyors.
Comparison: e24™ and lineshaft conveyors
The concept of lineshaft conveyors is pretty simple, and often effective in the correct circumstances. We specify and install it all the time for transport and accumulation projects. Lineshaft conveyors are powered by a motor and driven by a drive shaft and spools that run beneath the conveyor. Flexible bands are utilized to turn the rollers, which are by definition individually powered. This allows the conveyor to be used in any type of accumulation application with minimal back pressure on the load. Line shaft is typically quieter than many alternatives. So why would you utilize e24™ instead?
- e24™ adds safety to conveyor operation: low voltage, low torque motors, no chains and chain guards.
- Reliability: e24™ has over 125,000 hrs. motor life expectancy.
- Ease of installation: With a 24-volt system, you have no lineshafts to align and no air to pipe.
- Energy savings: with an e24™ system, there is no energy consumption when zones are sleeping or accumulated, no air compressors to operate.
- Maintenance: This is a huge value-add. With e24™, you have no chain tension and lube. You don’t have to align sprockets, nor do you have reducers to deal with. There are no chain guards because there are no chains. Shaft couplings don’t have to be maintained. Any component may be replaced without shutting down the line. Overall, it’s simpler with fewer mechanical components. Drive band replacement is exceptionally easy and fast. Since there are fewer components, an e24™ system requires few spare parts on hand, and uses common spare parts to make it easier to repair or maintain.
- Quieter: While lineshaft systems are quieter than some motor driven rollers (MDR) and other live roller alternatives, e24™ is likely the quietest conveyor you will see.
- Flexibility: You have the ability to vary the speed on each and every motor. Also, you have no minimum conveyor length. One size motor fits all speeds and sizes, making it possible to run exactly the speed you want in exactly the zone you want, in exactly the way you want to do it. Space is also saved, since none is lost beside the conveyor line due to drives.
Comparison: e24™ and motor-driven rollers
MDR’s are another good option for many conveyor applications. They decentralize the drives by placing power in each roller (or a number of them) along a line. Conveyor zones are switched on and off as needed. Since there is no central motor, drives are located per zone. This allows finer control of a given conveyor system since each zone can be individually controlled. MDR systems save energy vs. centralized drives. Many of these advantages are similar to those offered by 24-volt systems such as e24™, so what are the differences?
- e24™ is More reliable & lasts longer: it has a life expectancy over 6 times greater than that of conventional MDR systems. That’s 125,000 hours vs. 20,000 hours.
- Energy savings: e24™ saves about ½ amp per motor.
- Flexibility: MDR’s must be sized to the width of the conveyor and the correct gear ratio for speed. Not so for e24™ and its common motor, which works with all widths and speeds. Also, e24™ is capable of narrower conveyor widths. MDR’s have problems skewing rollers or with racking frames. In addition, e24™ has no issues when skewing rollers or racking frames.
- Lack of gears makes it whisper-quiet: E24 is gearless–and thus quieter than MDR’s.
- e24™ is more robust: It has no small wires extending through shaft and channel. Its motor has fewer, but heavier components than traditional MDR systems. The 24-volt systems run cooler and are better able to dissipate heat than MDR systems. No torque is transmitted through the hex shaft in an e24™ system.
- It’s simpler and easier to maintain: e24™ makes it easier to change drive bands. You also have just one motor to stock in spare parts. That motor can be changed out without shutting down the conveyor line. Same motor drive accessories are available.
In summary: speed, flexibility, lower energy consumption, and lower cost of ownership
We are proponents of offering conveyor solutions that are economical over time, rather than only at the time of purchase. The 24-volt design is likely to offer you the most flexibility possible when it comes to speed adjustment with its on board but independent controls and ease of use. This allows you to tweak your system as needs and load profiles change.
Scott Stone is Cisco-Eagle's Vice President of Marketing with more than thirty years of experience in material handling, warehousing and industrial operations. His work is published in multiple industry journals an websites on a variety of warehousing topics. He writes about automation, warehousing, safety, manufacturing and other areas of concern for industrial operations and those who operate them.