COVID-19 has changed the way we work.

While those that work in an office setting may have the option to work remotely, the same does not hold true for the manufacturing floor. As manufacturing companies across America look at re-opening; many are needing to reevaluate how work is done and how work can be done in order to ensure those working on the manufacturing line are kept safe from this virus.

Pallet-handling conveyors can and will play a big part in reshaping manufacturing during COVID-19 and in a post-COVID world.

Manufacturing During and After COVID-19

With pallet-handling conveyors interactions between people can be kept to a minimum, in many cases no person to person contact is required. This creates the necessary social distance between employees. Conveyors can be used to transfer product between employees. And while this can be done on a standard conveyor, pallet-handling conveyors come with additional benefits such as:

  • Uniform and stable conveying surface
  • Product accumulation without products touching each other
  • Ability to stop and locate product
  • Product can be “built up” or assembled on the pallet

You see, pallet-handling conveyors carry product along the manufacturing, production, assembly, or testing line on a workpiece pallet. These pallets range in size, based on the size of the ultimate product to be conveyed. In addition to providing stable and constant conveying surfaces, workpiece pallets are able to to stopped, located, rotated and more  – depending on what needs to be done to the product on the pallet.

Adding Automation to Manufacturing

Not all facilities or product lines currently have automation. Nor will all manufacturing facilities require the same level of automation. Just as each product being manufactured is unique, so are the automation and conveyor needs unique. VersaMove pallet-handling conveyors from mk North America can be designed to work in fully automated robotic work cells or they can work on lines that rely entirely on human operators and any combination there of.

Pallet-handling conveyors also allow manufactures to slowly implement automation in a way that fits their product, facility size and budget. VersaMove pallet-handling conveyors are modular; and thus expandable. Not only can conveyors be added to the line (or conveyor lengths increased) but pallet-handling modules can be added.

A line can start simply by moving the product from worker to worker, spaced 6-ft apart of more, then added to as time, space and budget allows. This first step, is the most important in a post-COVID manufacturing environment, as it is essential that employees to have the required “personal space” and adhere to any local or state guidelines on social distancing.

When Space is a Factor

When trying to maximize the distance between employees, the amount of floor space a facility has can quickly become an issue. Thankfully, pallet-handling conveyors can be configured in a variety of layouts to best utilize the geometry of the manufacturing facility. Additionally, spur conveyors with lift and transfers can be added to bring pallets and product off the mainline, and over to where workers or robots may be stationed. Over-under conveyor layouts allow for empty pallets to be returned to the beginning of the line under the conveyor mainline. Or the conveyor system can be arranged in a rectangle – the possibilities are endless.

A rectangular pallet-handling system allows for workers to be spaced with acceptable distances between them.

Ready to Learn More

If you are ready to learn more about how VersaMove pallet handling conveyors can help keep your manufacturing employees safe during COVID-19 contact mk North America today.

Get in touch today to learn more!

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