Slat Conveyor Systems – Overview
A slat conveyor is one of the most commonly used types of conveyor for moving parts along and assembly line. They are well suited to applications where components are being assembled onto a fixture located at an ergonomic working height. They also allow production assembly operators to work on one or both sides of the line. Fixtures can be added to the slats to enable parts to rotate 90, 180 or 360 degrees to facilitate better ergonomic access.
In automotive plants, slat conveyors may be used to convey parts like instrument panels, center consoles or door trims. The are used for engine and power-train assembly. They are also used for sub-assembly of frames and axles, and on a larger scale even for vehicles after they have been fitted with the chassis components and move to the final assembly line (sometimes known as a ‘flat top’ conveyor line).
Depending upon the conveying application, different lengths, widths, heights, controls and accessories are available to meet the needs. Slats can be made from mild steel, stainless steel or plastic. In some cases the product sits loosely on top of the slats, and in other cases the product is mounted to one or more fixtures. Some typical specifications are shown below, with many more combinations available:
- 12” – 108” between frame widths (i.e. the width of the conveyor)
- Speeds ranging from 10 feet per minute (FPM) up to 60 FPM max speed
- Fixed or variable speed control
- Adjustable legs
- Continuous or indexing movement from station to station
Use a slat conveyor when:
- You want to assemble products on either a moving assembly line or on the line at each work station while the line is stopped (before indexing to the next position). A slat conveyor provides a great stable working surface.
- Part access is mainly from abiove the part (if you need access from both sides, consider an overhead conveyor with a swiveling fixture)
- Use slat conveyors for products that need to be held in place as they are moved along the line
- Fixtures should not be too tall. Remember the fixture will be mounted to the slats and will return underneath the conveyor to the start point, so you will need clearance to the floor for the slat and fixture return path
- Moving in either continuous or indexing modes (i.e. the slat conveyor stops and starts each time to move a product to the end of the belt using a sensor)
- Very well suited for robotic loading and unloading functions as the fixture is always in a repeatable location. With appropriate guarding, human and robotic assembly work can be carried out on the same assembly line
- Changing the speed is necessary. When fitted with a VFD (variable frequency drive), a slat conveyor is a simple conveyor to adjust the speed on
Don’t use a slat conveyor if you need:
- Accumulating products (i.e. for a buffer). Slat conveyors can’t allow the products to nest up against each other (“accumulate”) as the product is typically held in a fixed position relative to the slats. If you need accumulation, use a roller conveyor with pallet system or and overhead conveyor such as a power and free conveyor
- Moving a product around curves. Slat conveyors run in a straight line only,
- Product flexibility or switching different tooling for different models. Unless the tooling can accomodate all variations, slat conveyors are not as flexible as overhead conveyors or roller conveyors with pallets
Digital Design for excellent ergonomics
- All Ultimation slat conveyors are designed using 3D CAD software
- Our designs will include the entire assembly line including tooling, overhead lighting, power outlets for torque tools and all required tool rails and tool spring balancers
- We have detailed ergonomic standards to ensure that assembly operations follow automotive and other industry standards for height, reach and operator comfort
- All safety systems are included (guarding, emergency stops, pull cords)
- We design and assemble the conveyor in our location. You attend for testing and run-off and it is then reinstalled in the final assembly plant location
Call us. Our staff are ready to help.
- Call us on 586-771-1881. Our staff will help you with the necessary calculations for load, speed and everything else you need