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  • Writer's pictureBen P.

Rail Indexing Buffer Conveyor

Updated: Dec 8, 2021

We provide custom automation solutions with turn-key integration. One of our recent projects involved building a custom conveyor to help improve cycle time between two different production phases. The concept was to create an accumulating conveyor capable of holding five sets of forklift mast rails. These rails varied in size and weight with a maximum total distributed weight of 7,000 lbs.

Working with an industry leading conveyor company, our mechanical engineering team designed a conveyor capable of transporting and holding five sets of rails. The final concept was three strand chain conveyor that featured five sets of lifters, ten total lifters plus a spare lifter section for routine maintenance.

Each lifter is designed to be lifted by an independent SMC three position air cylinder to lower, stop, and lift the product. These three positions allow rails to accumulate at each lifter and transfer to next lifter or production phase. Lifters are set up with three sensors to ensure rails are secured before lifting.

In this system, our controls engineering team interfaced Omron’s NJ PLC and NA HMI via Sysmac Studios. This enabled an EtherCAT network to be developed which included Omron’s MX2 Inverter as well as SMC EX600 modules. The combination of these EtherCAT devices and Sysmac’s capabilities allowed for the complex communication between devices and actuation of mechanical components.

At TOA SE we work close with our customers from concept to integration. Contact us at 859-881-3330 or for your next automation project.

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