MDRs, or motor-driven rollers, are the future of many conveyor systems. Efficiency, versatility, zero-line pressure, and reduced maintenance are only some of the features and benefits of this rapidly expanding technology.
The late 1960s introduced the lineshaft conveyor, which provided a revolutionary conveyor design for warehouses and other material handling facilities. It was a low-cost alternative to flat belt or chain-driven roller conveyors where low line pressure was required for product accumulation. To this day, it remains in service in a multitude of conveyor systems.
Although lineshaft conveyors provide for a wide range of applications, it is not without its disadvantages. There is a limited range of product weight capabilities for both heavier and lighter weight packages, which prevents the user from expanding product size and variety.
Maintenance is also problematic in that there are several moving parts that can be very time-consuming to replace. The round urethane belts will lose tension in many areas, creating “dead spots” in the system, interrupting product flow. On longer systems, the lineshaft conveyors often generate excessive noise, which can be bothersome to those working near the conveyor.
These limitations led to the evolution of the motor-driven roller conveyor eliminating these drawbacks.
These motorized conveyor rollers incorporate both a 24 volt brushless DC motor and gearing totally enclosed and sealed within the roller tube, requiring zero maintenance. This feature alone results in fewer moving parts, a quieter, cleaner operation, higher efficiency, and lower operating costs.
MDR conveyors consist of zones of a predetermined length, and can be set anywhere between 12 and 120”. Each zone utilizes a control card with either a diffuse or retroreflective sensor for product detection. The control cards are “daisy-chained” together and communicate with each other through a centralized control network.
The motorized conveyor rollers will not operate until a product is detected in a predetermined zone with zero back pressure upstream of that zone. The gap between products is regulated by the zone length. The MDR can be used for singulation release, allowing one product at a time to move to the next zone, or slug release, which conveys a specific number of products after the downstream zone has cleared. The sequences can be repeated for each zone provided the zone ahead of it has been cleared.
MDR accumulation is a zero pressure conveyor which does not allow a product to contact another. This is extremely beneficial when conveying fragile parts or other products that can be damaged by excessive backpressure.
As a Hytrol distributor partner, we have the best and most advanced MDR system in the industry: The EZ-Logic and Gen3 controls. What makes them unique is the ability to provide electronic control without the use of a PLC. Each controller is equipped with a sensor to detect product presence, a microprocessor to accept input signals, and control connections to allow for communication of data between zones. The retroreflective sensor detects across the conveyor, whereas the diffuse type is mounted underneath between rollers, depending on customer requirements.
EZ-Logic controllers and cordsets are supplied with connectors that deliver the convenience of a plug-and-play control system mounted on the conveyor with a tool-free design for fast and easy installation. The jam sensor feature will automatically initiate accumulation upstream until the jam has been cleared.
In addition to urethane belts, the Hytrol MDR can be configured for roller chain or poly-v service.
The EZ-Logic system is pre-configured to the most common settings, but offers the additional operating characteristics such as accel/decel ramping, variable speed control, and reversing capabilities.
EZ-Logic can also be used with a computer and Configuration Manager Software to both save and retrieve configuration settings and access diagnostic information.
The EZ-Logic system is highly advanced but easy to operate, but can also be employed for complex control, divert, and metering systems. Quite simply, it’s the best.
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