What You Need To Know about Conveyors

Conveyors: What You Need To Know

No matter the industry, and no matter the purpose, it is highly likely that you will find a conveyor system of some form or another working as part of an assembly or production line – thanks to something of an industrial revolution, competition between operations in various industries has led to the vast majority of enterprises adopting conveyors to help produce, assemble and distribute products with efficiency and to quality standards; as such so that they may be left alone to carry out such work.  Essentially, the work of a conveyor was long ago completed by that of the workers, and in competitive industries such as automotive, food production and the pharmaceutical, automated processes have proven to be essential in ensuring that supply meets demand – on time, in full and to specification.

No two conveyors, however, are the same – depending upon your line of industry and your needs, you may find the need for anything between a roller conveyor to transport certain goods, overhead or flexible conveyors to lift and distribute, a simple belt conveyor to connect the assembly line together, or even more complex units that assist directly in the production and assembly of items.  The type of conveyor system installed will depend entirely upon what is needed – meaning that it is highly important that you assess the needs of your operation before proceeding to make any large purchases. AutoCAD have a toolkit for drawing and designing conveyors which can help you to visualise your production flow before implementation.

conveyor belts in actionHow do Conveyors Help

Conveyors are produced and sold to help make production lines compete in a world which is becoming more automated, and more efficient – and with manual labour at a minimum in some production areas beyond upkeep of certain machinery and transportation devices, the conveyor systems you choose to use need to be both effective and reliable, as well as responsible – meaning that you can safely allow a belt, roller or overhead system to seamlessly continue the chain of production without physical or manual overrides – or even without human attention.

Conveyor systems have become an essential facet of many industrial operations, and as such, to ignore the benefits of installing conveyors will likely have a knock-on effect for trade and sustainability within the industry – conveyors not only produce and transport efficiently, safely and autonomously, but they also take up minimal space, allowing you to provision for and install as few or as many as you need or prefer.  Conveyor systems are fast becoming the backbone of certain industries within the UK, and have already seen a majority take-up worldwide. Continue reading “What You Need To Know about Conveyors”

Factory Engineer Operating Hydraulic Tube Bender

All About Engineering

All about Engineering: Who Does What?

Engineering workers discussing over clipboard in shipping yardThe word ‘engineering’ covers a fairly broad spectrum.  After all, engineering by definition refers to designing, creating, controlling and manufacturing – and as you can imagine, this can account for a fair amount of job roles in many different sectors!  To be an ‘engineer’ is to work in one of several different sectors for one of a thousand different reasons – as one engineer may tackle one part of a process, two or three more will be involved further down the line on something completely different.  When discussing engineering as a whole, it is also important to understand exactly which area of industry and expertise you are referring to in order to avoid confusion – so let’s have a look at some of the main engineering areas and industries operating today.

Construction

 Construction engineering is essential – without construction, we would not have public facilities, offices, roads, precincts and other infrastructures – and a construction engineer is an essential part of the process between getting a community project off the paper and into the real world.  A construction engineer oversees community projects with local knowledge in mind, approving and chaperoning physical work and construction to ensure that initial designs and desires are met to order.  There is also much scheduling and planning involved in construction engineering, with much evaluation and testing involved in later stages to ensure that large-scale projects are completed satisfactorily.  The role of a construction engineer is a creative one, but one which requires a ruthless eye for detail, a meticulous knowledge of how certain faculties and infrastructure are built, and a willing to be able to try and test new ideas.

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Conveyor belt system

Conveyors 101

Conveyors 101: Which Does What?

Anyone working in an assembly or production line environment today will likely tell you that conveyor systems are somewhat essential – across the decades, as new materials and products have been rolled out for public and private use as well as in assembly and construction, the methods in which we handle, assemble and delivery products behind the scenes has developed thanks to new technology and smarter, stronger, and more efficient ways of handling varied loads. Gone are the days of relying entirely upon manual handling to complete unwieldy or complex tasks on an assembly or production line – the rise of the conveyor, an automated system which allows product to be moved, delivered, assembled and transferred, has more or less allowed industry to evolve to become cleaner, quicker and more reliable.

Belt conveyors in a packaging and parcel factoryHowever, while conveyors are depended upon to carry out many line tasks on an automated basis, no size fits all – some transport, others carry, lift, winch, assemble and even collect – and no two operations are the same, meaning that certain industries may require systems that take up less space, require less manual interaction, or even less machinery altogether – in which case a quality conveyor systems for example can cater to all tasks for one operation would be required. No matter what the job nor the industry, there will be a conveyor or two that will happily handle the tasks that are laid out for it. Here are some of the more common conveyors and what they can be used for.

Belt Conveyor systems

Is perhaps the most common or at least the most well-known conveyor system, for it operates in our daily lives more often than we realise – it’s a system that’s in use at supermarkets and airline terminals the world over. Belt conveyors in industry, however, are best put to use when small or raw materials are in need of transportation, with an emphasis on product quantity as opposed to size (for which other types can be used). Belt types are commonly used on assembly and production lines to move smaller or less unwieldy objects from one station to another. As they operate on a continuous loop, they are considered extremely economical and are therefore commonly used, particularly when high-speed conveyance or transfer of many small items is required.

Gravity Conveyors

Are in fact even more cost-effective than the belt conveyor, but carries a number of reasons as to why this is the case. Commonly used in the unloading or offloading of heavy duty vehicles and in certain assembly lines, the gravity conveyor is not automatically powered and thus depends upon gravity and a system of wheels and skates to allow product to move efficiently and freely along the line. These systems are ideal for picking and packing line where manual intervention are already a requirement, as some manual control will be required in order for these systems to operate effectively. While they are certainly cost-effective, they may not be a catch-all solution – particularly if a business is in need of speedy automated transfer and movement.  Quality gravity conveyors by Dematic

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factory-floor-production

How your business can benefit from a production line

Since the start of the industrial revolution, the assembly or production line has been an essential component of manufacturing, production and assembly alike.  In factories and warehouses that are dependent upon close construction and packaging of items and products before dispatch, these lines have revolutionised efficiency and productivity in many industries to no end – and with more and more conveyor and assembly line solutions evolving as the years go by to keep up with demand for greater efficiency (as competition grows fierce between businesses), it is unsurprising to know that the demand for such services will never really go away.

But why are lines so important to businesses, and how could your operation benefit from a production line in-house?  There are many great reasons as to why – and it all starts with improving the quality and speed of your services.

Revolutionising Assemblyfactory-floor-production

Up until its introduction during the industrial revolution, life without the production line in industry was reliant upon an entirely human, manual approach to production and dispatch.  This meant that all the tasks now handled by machinery and conveyor systems were relayed to human hands, which not only made for a much slower process, but also required more money for wages on behalf of the business – of course, it also meant that products were produced at a much slower rate, meaning that supply may often have been outweighed by demand.  The presence of production and associated machinery support has allowed for more products to be produced at a quicker rate, and at a fraction of the cost.

Standardising Products

One of the huge benefits to having a production based product line is that you can ensure that you will produce standardised results – that is, there will be no variation between the items you make and construct should you wish for it to be that way.  Old processes where human hands were required at every step of the way would often see slight variations in product from person to person – which, of course, had an adverse effect on quality control.

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Oil pipelines need cleaning

Why pipelines need pigging?

Oil pipelines need cleaningAnyone working in an industry that makes use of long, complex or otherwise hard to manage pipelines will tell you that a simple way to clean, maintain and examine such networks regularly is entirely necessary – pipelines that transport water, oil and other products have to meet a constant stream of demand, meaning that any potential disruption could have detrimental effects not only upon revenue for the company, but potentially upon the health, wellbeing and/or comfort of the customer on the other end of the chain.  Keeping such pipelines in check proved to be a complex task – at least until pigging came into the mainstream as a reliable and efficient method of analysing and making sure that such networks are kept free from any potential blockades or other internal issues.

Pigging involves the use of a specialist device, known as a pig, which can come in a range of shapes and sizes for a multitude of different tasks. Visit Pigtek Ltd here (http://www.pigtek.com/) to see the different types of pigs available.  Some pigs internally clean pipelines, others remove debris and soil deposits, while some can even be used to take measurements and other details about the pipeline that can be picked up at the other end.  Essentially, no matter what type of pig you use, they are crucial to pipeline maintenance – for they travel the entire breadth and distance of the network to ensure that everything is flowing and connected as it should be.

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oil refinery

What is petroleum engineering?

Oil and petroleum continue to provide our world with the energy it needs to keep everything ticking over – from our cars to our power stations, from our flight and rail systems to our home electricity – without adequate petroleum and oil technology – and the engineers to help supply such power safely and effectively on a regular basis – we would be forced to consider an entirely new option in the generation and use of energy in our daily lives.

However, it must also be considered, given evidence available, that the use of gas, petroleum and oil on a regular basis will have a knock-on effect for the environment around us.  Therefore, the impetus for intelligent and responsible energy generation, use and preservation has grown considerably in recent years, resulting in a need for petroleum engineers to analyse and officiate the responsible use, trade and application of such fuels.

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structural bridge

What Structural Engineering is and Involves

structural bridgeWhen commissioning any building for any purpose – commercial, private or otherwise – there needs to be a plan of action and a team in place to ensure that said structure is designed and built to stand.  After all, a building without clear structural planning is at risk of not being a building for very long – and poor structural care will lead to collapse, which could in turn lead to public harm.  After all, every building is raised to stand, and never to fall.  While there are always a number of engineers and designers involved in the commissioning of a building, it is the work of structural engineers to ensure that a structure can withstand pressures, weather, its local environment and any stresses it may be put under.

Essentially, the work of a structural engineer oversees the internal structure of a building to ensure that it can withstand everything that could potentially be expected of it.  A structural engineer will analyse and appreciate all possible factors, from the local area, human traffic, local terrain and environment – and will propose measures so that a prospective building can effectively weather such storms and provide a safe and secure environment to those who will be using it upon completion. Continue reading “What Structural Engineering is and Involves”

millennium architectural building

What is architectural engineering?

When it comes to commissioning new buildings, a team of dedicated engineers are required to oversee and complete such projects – and no matter what their role may be in proceedings, the design, construction and application of technology in bringing a building to life from a simple blueprint can be considered part of architectural engineering.  While the term is used in the US to cover a specific type of engineering and may even be considered part of the arts, architectural engineering covers any and all principles involved in the design and construction of public buildings – from the initial research and design through to application and construction.  It is essentially an umbrella that covers the process in getting a building off the page and into the real world – and it often requires many talented and analytical professionals to ensure that this is the case. Continue reading “What is architectural engineering?”

large oil refinery

How does the oil industry work?

While the oil industry – from sourcing to selling – can seem a little complex on the outside, it can be relatively simple to break down.  Essentially, the oil industry operates largely on two separate levels – upstream and downstream – and it is within these that natural oil and gas are retrieved from the environment, refined and then sold for distribution to the public.  This is, in the most basic terms, how these two sectors work – the upstream side is involved in exploration and acquiring natural oil, and the downstream sector refines, distributes and readies the product for sale. Continue reading “How does the oil industry work?”

Housing damage from an earthquake

The Importance of Structural Materials Preventing Disasters from Happening

Housing damage from an earthquakeWhen designing and bringing a building to life – commercial or residential – it is just as important to consider the implications of nature, natural disasters and accidents that may occur during its lifetime.  How can you effectively protect or safeguard a building, regardless of size or shape, against the threat of fires, destructive wind forces such as hurricanes or tornadoes, or even earthquakes or floods?  The answer is, of course, there is only so much that anyone can do – but the best way to tackle a problem such as safe-proofing a building against nature needs to start in structural planning – as certain materials may be more beneficial in assisting you against the elements than you may think.

The work of a structural engineer in analysing and designing the best options for structural safety and performance during natural disaster is absolutely crucial – in fact, it is largely their oversight and input that ensures buildings’ survival in such disasters.  Any talented structural engineer will know that concrete – perhaps surprisingly – is a building’s best ally against all elements and against the forces of nature, and that, when used correctly and in the right amounts, it can make all the difference between a building crumbling to the ground or retaining its shape in even the biggest catastrophes. Continue reading “The Importance of Structural Materials Preventing Disasters from Happening”

Engine

What Is The Best Route Into The Engineering Industry?

EngineIf you’re interested in becoming an engineer – no matter what field or industry you may be aiming for – there are, thankfully, a number of different routes and choices at your disposal.  These routes, naturally, will include education in some form or another – meaning that you can either choose to go to university to study a specific area of engineering (or even a more general overview), or you can opt to sign up for an apprenticeship.  Both options are fairly attractive – while you will learn the tricks of the trade from either option, however, it is important to understand that there are big differences between a university education and an apprenticeship.

The University Route

Getting into engineering via bachelor’s degree or equivalent is a highly popular route to take; however, it is one for which you will need to ensure that you already possess certain qualifications and skills for.  For many universities in the UK, it’s likely that you will need strong A-Level results in subjects such as Maths and Physics – and maybe even Chemistry, depending on the nature of the discipline you are looking to move into.  This means that it will definitely pay to do your homework in more ways than one – get to know the types of degree courses that are available to you, and, where possible, tailor your sixth form or college education accordingly.

To be able to attend the best universities, you are obviously going to need extremely strong grades – but the overall benefit of learning engineering via university is that you will be able to fast-track into a whole host of graduate schemes – and the better you do, of course, the better you will stand out amongst your peers.

The Apprenticeship Route 

Many young people interested in training to become engineers may opt to take on an apprenticeship posts-sixth form.  This is essentially on-the-job training, meaning that while you are studying and learning the tricks of the trade, you’ll also be working a full-time job, earning money as you do so.  The benefits to going into an apprenticeship are threefold – not only do you get a great idea of how your industry works simply by working alongside trained professionals, but you also get to earn money while you do so, and can come out the other side with a great qualification that will put you in good stead to get a job elsewhere.

There are downsides – you will likely need to spend much time studying outside of work, and it may be unlikely that you get a full time job offer at the end of the scheme unless you prove yourself to be exceptional at the trade – however, it is just as viable an option for getting your foot on the ladder in engineering – meaning that there is at least one alternative to the main degree route.

The best route into engineering will depend upon the way you learn, your career goals and of course your finances.  Both degrees and apprenticeships help to train and prepare some of our most talented engineers across all manner of industries, meaning that the best choice will ultimately be the one that suits you most comfortably!

bridge

How engineering helps the world along

How engineering helps the world along

bridgeEngineering comes in all shapes and sizes and all manner of different fields and forms.  From structural engineering to investigating new and efficient ways for our lives to be improved, it’s safe to say that the role of an engineer is likely to be protected for some time to come.  Engineering, after all, is not only the act of putting things together – it’s the science of analysing data, predicting potential outcomes, and ensuring that projects complete efficiently and without failure.  Whether you are working as an engineer as part of a bigger firm, or if you are the sole project engineer for the drilling of an oil well, there is an awful lot of responsibility on your shoulders.

What do engineers do?

Engineering not only helps us to design and build services and structures that are safe and beneficial to society, it also helps us to appreciate how much we are dependent upon mathematics and probability.  An engineer without a mathematical approach or at least an appreciation for the integrity of the project they are working on will be very unlikely to produce quality results.  By this, too, we mean that said results could prove disastrous and unsafe, as well as unprofitable.  Engineering is, essentially, learning from existing data – whether from past attempts or through test applications – to ensure that our buildings stand up and don’t fall down.  Engineering ensures that our cars run on the right fuel and can be safely driven without fear of the engines exploding.  Engineering is the link between an idea and a finished project, and it requires both an analytical mind and the willing to take on multiple trials before getting a product just right – safe to use, and beneficial to the user.

Why engineers are important

engineNot everyone can be an engineer, and this is why we are dependent upon their skills and expertise, as well as their stability, in our day to day lives.  Would an average person be able to apply themselves to designing and testing new water pipes five days a week so that communities can benefit from fresh water?  Perhaps not – which is why engineers are passionate about what they do, about solving problems and finding solutions.  Without engineering, our society risks operating on faulty processes, dangerous structure designs and a lack of quality control.  We need engineers to be able to test the water and to find flaws before projects go public.  It’s rare that engineering fails – but when it does, thousands might feel the repercussions.

Consideration is important

How important is engineering in our day to day lives?  Very – without engineering, the bed you sleep in may not be as comfy – the insulation for your home may not keep you warm – and the locking mechanisms in your front door may not keep you safe.  The world needs talented engineers to be able to function correctly – and engineers, in turn, need these opportunities to be able to put their incredible stamina and analysis to perfect use.  The next time you board public transport, use a smartphone or even put on a pair of shoes – consider that engineering, in one form or another, made sure that all these elements work through weeks and even months of intensive testing.