Conveyors are usually thought of as devices for moving product from A to B. However, they can also be more directly involved in production lines, and can actually FORM the production lines.
Conveyors can form a moving "workbench", allowing workers to work on a product, and then moving it down the line to the next assembly position, once the worker completes his/her task and pushes a button
We desgined, fabricated and installed just such a system for Vauxhall Cars in their engine assembly plant
In some cases, even the human workers can be eliminated. A recent project in Norway involved us creating a fully automated system - using a mixture of electric valves, screw conveyors and belt conveyors - to mix different combinations of rare metals for delivery into furnaces.
Another European project in an underground facility was to allow the operator to pre-load multiple 10-ton skips into a 'magazine', and have them individually presented to a filling point on a weigh-scale. Once full, each skip was moved automatically into a holding area, pending removal by fork-lift truck.
The system could accomodate 8 skips - three in the 'magazine', one being filled, and three full skips in the holding area. This was sufficient for the process to run - entirely unattended - for a week.
AT a smaller scale, we designed and installed a gravity roller system for a furniture manufacturer. Each gravity table functioned as a workbench, allowing the operator to complete a specific function on - say - a sofa, before rolling it into the adjacent holding area for the NEXT person in the line to receive it, and add THEIR component, and so on. Each table had pneumatic brakes to form a solid working plantform, and could even rotate along its long axis to allow easy access to the sides and back of the product.