The conveyor systems market is nearly always on a growth curve. And even with the current COVID 19 crisis, expectations for future growth are still high. Ultimation President, Richard Canny, explains the reasons that conveyor manufacturers are looking ahead. The material handling segment will see some changes.
“The most obvious factor is the rapid shift to e-commerce purchasing channels. The shift away from bricks and mortar stores to online stores was already fast. But in the conveyor systems market we are seeing B2B buyers adopt the same shift rapidly. Online sales of quick-ship conveyors like belt conveyors and roller conveyors is strong”.
Many Ultimation customers are companies that are growing fast through e-commerce channels themselves. “They need smart and lean supply chains. This is driving continued investment in conveyors and automation. This is happening with companies of all sizes. But in the floor conveyor segment, we are seeing very fast growth in motor driven roller systems. These conveyors have built in lean-logic. It enables automatic buffer movement of product” said Canny.
Micro distribution centers coming to your neighborhood?
Ultimation predicts that some of the present enormous scale distribution facilities will change. Some facilities like those used by Amazon will transition to smaller micro distribution centers. Micro distribution centers will be smaller. They will also be closer to the end user customer locations. Using predictive logic for which items to stock reduces space. They will also customize items in stock to the real time demand in that geographic area.
The conveyors utilized in micro distribution centers will be more flexible and lower speed. They will be designed for interaction with both humans and robots. Cobots will share the same compact spaces and assist team members with their work.
Oversize parcel handling is also changing the conveyor systems market. This is also true for the Fedex and UPS delivery systems that move them to customer locations. Fedex recently announced rate increases for oversize, difficult to handle packages. This is due to a surge in these type of shipments. Ultimation’s motor-driven roller conveyor systems are ready to handle these. Using pre-engineered modules, zones can range up to ten feet. E-commerce delivery of large, perishable products like garden plants represents a huge challenge. Yet this is also an opportunity for conveyor systems and parcel delivery companies.
Conveyor manufacturers are wary of the risks of a second wave of COVID 19 infections. According to Canny, “We are seeing customers focus on quick solutions rather than projects that might take 12+ months to install. Everyone wants to be as cautious as possible right now”.