Ultimation is selected as ‘Great Place to Work’ in Metro Detroit

The conveyor systems industry is growing–literally! Great teamwork helps Ultimation build customized material handling solutions for the vertical farming industry. Innovative, hard-working team members like Jenni Collins are the reason we were named one of “2019 Metro Detroit’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For”.

Ultimation CEO, Jacqueline Canny is grateful for her strong team, commenting “It’s our people that have enabled our fantastic growth. Senior leaders like Jenni in the customer service management role are critical in ensuring each interaction helps build our brand.”

 

Jenni Collins Ultimation

 

Jenni leads a team of customer service specialists at Ultimation who focus on the company’s ‘quick ship product range’.

Ultimation is Finalist in Amazon Small Business Awards

Ultimation has been selected as a finalist in Amazon’s inaugural Small Business Awards. The company is one of six finalists in the category for Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year. The Amazon Small Business of the Year program is designed to spotlight some of the small businesses that are demonstrating the benefits that small business can achieve by selling on Amazon.

Ultimation CEO, Jacqueline Canny was quoted by Amazon saying “I’m a strong believer in U.S. Manufacturing and the value of  Made in the USA products. Our conveyor and material handling manufacturing business is in Metro Detroit, so we know how to get great stuff made. We’re proud to say that about 70% of our sales team are female. With the focus on relentless improvements in process and products, our formula to success is pretty simple. Made in the USA products, sold directly to the end customer, shipped quickly and with the best pricing.”

Amazon small business awards

Now that the finalists are announced, the public will have an opportunity to vote for the winner. Voting is open until November 8th 2019. You can learn more about the Amazon Awards and vote for Ultimation by following this link.

Ultimation’s primary business segments are larger conveyor systems, however in recent years the company has expanded into smaller, ‘quick ship’ products and systems that are sold through the company’s own website and through the Amazon channel. The intense measurement systems from Amazon and relentless customer focus of the Amazon process have enabled Ultimation to improve their ISO 9001 quality process and continually improve customer satisfaction.

Can conveyors improve yield for vertical farming systems?

Vertical farms or indoor farms have the potential to achieve great efficiency in food production, promising less use of water and delivering fresh food produced efficiently from nearby geographic locations. However challenges remain – and conveyors and better vertical farming technology will likely be part of any economically viable solution.

What is vertical farming?

Vertical farming is a system for food production that is typically used in indoor farming systems. They work with surfaces or modules to hold the plants in position while they are in an environment where all growth factors are controlled. By controlling the light, temperature, humidity, water and nutrients that plants receive, indoor vertical farming can potentially achieve higher yields for a given surface area dedicated to production.

Conveyors are sometimes used in indoor farming to optimize the density of the plants as they grow and to move the plants through automated systems to reduce labor in planting and harvesting. High efficiency LED lights have greatly enabled more efficient vertical farming technology. However replicating the efficiency of the sun remains a major challenge that indoor farming companies hope to achieve through improved control of all other plant growth variables.

Conveyors for Indoor farming

Types of Conveyors used by Indoor Farming Companies

Ultimation has supplied conveyors and equipment for vertical farming companies ranging from small gravity and belt conveyors from our “quick ship” product range up to major overhead power and free conveyor systems to support commercial scale production. Conveyor types used in vertical farming are:

  • Gravity roller conveyors
  • Belt conveyors
  • Skate wheel or flow rail conveyors
  • Overhead monorail conveyors
  • Power and Free Conveyors

How do vertical farming systems work?

Vertical farming systems require great efficiency – volume each plant occupies, the energy to move product around, labor, ventilation systems, lighting and nutrients. Conveyors enable that efficiency of each resource to be optimized as much as possible. Ultimation’s customers include several of the leading vertical farming companies. The technology used by these vertical farming companies is typically top secret and therefore we’re not able to publicly show or talk in detail about the various types of conveyors that are used in vertical farming systems.

Automation for vertical indoor farms

Conveyors and industrial automation equipment used in vertical farming automation systems can include many of the traditional conveyor types such as gravity roller conveyors, belt conveyors and skate wheel or flow rail conveyors. But more recently the technology used in larger systems is including motorized conveyor systems and overhead conveyors. Power and Free conveyors are the ultimate in space and volume optimization for vertical farming systems as they enable tight concentration of product in some areas while then enabling separation of the products as and when required for movement to processing areas.

Indoor farm technology – Squeezing more plants into less space

Ultra high density vertical farming systems aim to optimize plant production relative to the productive space employed for the task. Conveyors are essential in that optimization process to use all the available vertical space of a facility. Vertical farming automation can enable spacing to change as plants grow throughout a facility. Technology used can include robots as well as overhead conveyors, floor conveyors and specialized plant processing equipment.

Food safe materials and lubricants are used for all vertical farming conveyor systems. Ultimation has experience with the various different requirements and the available food-safe conveyor lubricants, oils and greases that can safely be used in these environments. Vertical farms can help reduce “food miles” which is the distance that food items travel from the point of production to the table. High volume indoor farms located near to major consumption areas have the potential to reduce CO2 emissions from transport as well as deliver fresher and better tasting products.

Interested in vertical farming technology and vertical farming equipment? Contact Ultimation today at [email protected] or call us on +1-586-771-1881 to discuss your requirements.

If you’d like general help  learning about conveyors, which types to use and how to specify them? This step by step guide will help.

Ultimation Recognized as Leading Integrator for Jervis Webb Conveyor Systems

Jervis Webb conveyor systems have been in use for over 100 years, and with Ultimation’s help, the Webb brand continues growing. There’s no better technology available for durable overhead conveyor equipment and Webb systems have always been the “gold standard” in conveyors. Ultimation recently received the award for the largest systems integrator and parts distributor for Webb conveyor systems for 2018.

Webb’s overhead conveyor technology is available through a network of integrators that manage the design, build and installation of Webb systems. They integrate the base components into fully functional overhead conveyor systems complete with the necessary support steel, carriers for parts, electrical systems, installation and software programming. This arrangement enables Jervis Webb to focus on the conveyor mechanical components like track sections, trolleys, drives and take-ups. Other integrator partners with broader experience can then implement “turn key” conveyor solutions for their customers. Ultimation CEO Jacqueline Canny received the award for the largest Webb integrator for 2018 at the group’s recent national integrator meeting in Savannah, Georgia.

Ultimation CEO, Jackie Canny, is proud of the growth that Jervis Webb and Ultimation are achieving with this business arrangement. “Our Jervis Webb overhead conveyor business segment has grown dramatically since Ultimation’s first system with Webb in 2012. We are delighted to now be recognized as the largest integrator and parts distributor. We’re supporting Webb’s business growth with systems and parts throughout the United States, Mexico, Canada and South America. Webb is the best conveyor equipment available in the market, and Ultimation is growing quickly in this business segment” said Canny.

Jervis Webb conveyor largest distributor

Ultimation’s internal sales team with CEO Jackie Canny and Engineering and Sales VP John Daugherty

Learning more about Jervis Webb conveyors and conveyors in general

You can learn more about Jervis Webb’s rich history in the conveyor business in this post. Want to learn more about the different types of Webb overhead conveyors available? This product category page explains the types of overhead conveyors and their uses.

If you’d like general help comparing floor conveyors and learning about other conveyor types, which types to use and how to specify them? This step by step guide will help.

5 Conveyor Design Trends for 2019

The beginning of a new year is a chance to look back at where the industry has been and look ahead to the future. Ultimation’s engineering and sales teams recently discussed the conveyor manufacturer landscape and weighed in on their view of 5 conveyor design trends for 2019.

1. Keep It Quiet

The modern industrial workplace can be a busy and noisy place sometimes. So conveyors shouldn’t add to that. In addition to incredible energy efficiency, modern 24V DC powered roller conveyors that use either Itoh Denki or Interroll motor driven rollers are super quiet compared with chain driven conveyors. We see conveyor manufacturers replacing older style chain conveyors for automated conveyor systems at an increasing rate in 2019. Because they are low voltage and each individual motor has relatively low torque, people can often work in close proximity to the conveyors as well.

powered roller conveyor

2. Squeeze It In

Conveyor manufacturers have long sought to use otherwise under-utilized industrial space for productive purposes. Conveyor design pioneer Jervis B Webb enabled the use of the overhead space above the factory for the modern overhead conveyor. But what about conveyors that use other spaces elsewhere in the supply chain that doesn’t get used as productively as they might? That truck and trailer driving next to you down the highway might just be a moving automated conveyor system on wheels. Ultimation’s innovative tire and wheel delivery trailers hold up to 800′ of powered roller conveyor delivering products to the Tesla assembly plant. Conveyors make sure the products are loaded and unloaded quickly, always stay in the critical production sequence and the easily damaged top face of the wheel is always kept safe.

tire and wheel delivery trailer

3. Stay Small, Stay Flexible

Highly automated conveyor systems are great. Our engineers love to design and install them. But sometimes less is more. And while robots are very flexible, the tooling required to hold parts in position for robots is often more expensive than the robot itself. Lots of Ultimation’s customers are looking for conveyor types like simple belt conveyors or roller conveyors to get their productivity efforts moving ahead. Lean production, less walking, less bending — and less capital spending. Many of them ship the same day.

Conveyor types

 

4. Spread It Around

The time spent commissioning large automated conveyor systems can be substantial. Speed it up with distributed, autonomous control. Distributed motor starter systems like the Rockwell Allen-Bradley ArmorStart range have been used by conveyor manufactures for years. Using 24V DC powered roller conveyors with network integration (Think “Internet of Things”) can reduce the time spent in the field for conveyor manufacturers and expensive controls engineers. We especially like the new  Interroll MultiControl Card and at under $200 it can control up to four MDR motors, link to various networking systems and provide its own pre-programmed distributed autonomous control routines. In layman’s terms, it can control the buffer and feeding of lines without needing an expensive central processor or lots of engineers. Conveyor technologies are increasingly using these distributed control systems.

Interroll MultiControl

5. Throw It Out, but Keep the Frames!

The new year is a great time to clean up and to think about new equipment. But before you throw out that old gravity roller conveyor, did you know you can upgrade it to make it a motorized roller conveyor instead? Ultimation developed retrofit kits to convert existing gravity roller conveyor systems using both Itoh Denki and Interroll 24V MDR technology. We supply everything you need for the conversion including power supplies, motors, idler gravity rollers, drive belts, cables, and power suppliers. Some of our customers have miles of gravity roller conveyor they will eventually convert to motorized conveyors.

 

powered roller conveyor

 

Need help learning about conveyor design, other conveyor types, which types to use and how to specify them? This step by step guide will help.

Ultimation is a leading conveyor manufacturer and we’re happy to share more information about conveyor technologies and conveyor design trends with you.