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Buffers for Part Storage

Buffers are used to store parts between production operations. In each of the different types of buffers described below, the conveyor system is used to accumulate parts in queue for the next operation.  
FlexLink Accumulation Tables

The accumulation table is only suitable for round parts where random orientation and sequence are acceptable to the operation. Accumulation tables usually include several lanes running in opposite directions to reduce queue pressure on the parts. The large amount of floor space required for the accumulation table can sometimes be a disadvantage when compared to the small foot print of an alpine buffer.
Accumulation Table

Alpine Buffers "Single Screw"

Single Srew Alpine

FlexLink Alpine conveyor systems provide a maximum amount of accumulation in a minimum amount of space. They are ideal for providing:

1. A compact accumulation zone between machines.
2. Cooling/drying zones between machines.
3. Combined product accumulation and elevation.

Alpine conveyors are typically used to reduce the effects of temporary machine interruptions of production flow by providing a large amount of product accumulation between machines. When downstream operations stop, product can be diverted into the alpine for accumulation allowing the upstream operation to continue without interruption. When normal production is resumed, product in the alpine can be gradually reintroduced to the line. Alpine conveyors are a simple and efficient way of connecting production lines which operate at different speeds. They can also be utilized for cooling or drying of products without interrupting normal product flow. FlexLink Alpines can handle a wide variety of product shapes and sizes and can be configured with infeed and discharge at the same or different elevations. Standard 5 degree or 7 degree vertical bends are available for inclines and declines.

The alpine buffer can accept a variety of part shapes and is usually configured so that the part "first in" is the "first out" of the system. Parts enter the typical "single screw" alpine buffer at one level and exit at another level. This feature is useful when transporting parts overhead the buffer will lower the part, and store the part in a small footprint next to the machine. If the change in elevation is not acceptable, then a cleated elevator is often required, to place the part entry and exit at the same elevation. Another option is to use a "double screw" alpine buffer as shown below.
  Alpine Buffer - "Double Screw"

The "double screw" alpine buffer places the part entry and exit at the same level. This is accomplished by using a horizontal bend cross over. In this design adjacent buffer levels flow in opposite directions. These "double screw" buffers are not suitable for very tall parts unless the overall length of the buffer increases. This alpine buffer can also be easily configured for continuous recirculation.

Double Screw Buffer

 Serpentine Buffer

Serpentine Buffer

The Flex-Line serpentine buffer utilizes wheelbends to stow parts. Serpentine buffer are frequently installed overhead to save floor space. The tight wheelbend radius offers high density accumulation with minimum distance between tracks. Typical wheel centerline dimensions for each chain width is shown in the chart below:

XS 44 mm chain - 300 mm track centerline

XL 63 mm chain - 300 mm track centerline

XM 83 mm chain - 320 mm track centerline

XH 103 mm chain - 340 mm track centerline

XK 102 mm chain - 400 mm track centerline


 Vee Chain Buffer

Vee Chain Buffer

The Vee Chain Buffer is a good choice for accumulating round parts that have a smaller width than diameter dimension, but will stand on end. The buffer is often constructed from two chains at a 45 degree angle as shown in the photograph.

The Vee Chain Buffer can also use a single FlexLink XL chain with the special vee-cleat for smaller diameter parts. This 63 mm wide XL chain is shown with a 2.5 inch diameter part in the drawing below.

FlexLink XL Vee Chain