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Conveyor Type Settings   

Conveyor Types are global settings that you can import to any Straight or Curved Conveyor object in your simulation model.

This section will explain the settings that you can customize when you create or edit Conveyor Types using the Conveyor System tool. Before reading this section, you should be familiar with the purpose and basic functionality of the Conveyor System tool. See the following sections for more information:

You can adjust the global settings for different Conveyor Types using the Conveyor Type Properties dialog box. This dialog box has two tabs:

  • Behavior - settings that affect the behavior for all conveyors that are assigned this Type.
  • Visual - settings that affect the appearance of all conveyors that are assigned this Type.
Units of Measurement
Many of the fields in the Conveyor Type Properties dialog box have editable Unit of Measurement fields. See Adjusting Units of Measurement for more information.

The Behavior Tab

The following image shows the various settings available in the Behavior tab:

Conveyor Type Behavior

Conveyor Movement Settings

The first four settings in the Behavior tab control conveyor movement:

  • Accumulating - If this box is checked, items will accumulate on the conveyor, meaning they will collect together along the conveyor, similar to a roller conveyor. If this check box is cleared, items will move in lock-step with each other, like on a belt conveyor. By default, this check box is cleared.
  • Speed - The default speed of the conveyor.
  • Acceleration - The conveyor's speed as it moves when it first starts or when it changes from a slower speed to a faster speed.
  • Deceleration - The conveyor's speed as it slows down to a stop or when it changes from a faster speed to a slower speed.

Acceleration and Deceleration
Acceleration and deceleration are only applied when the conveyor's speed changes. They are not used when simulating per-item motion such as when an item is blocked by a downstream conveyor or by accumulation.

Spacing Settings

The next three settings in the Behavior tab control the spacing of items as they move along the conveyor:

  • Stopping Space - The minimum amount of space between items while they travel along the conveyor of while they are accumulating. If the space between items is less than the specified space, the item will stop moving.
  • Moving Space - If items are stopped along a conveyor, this is the amount of space needed between items before they can resume movement.
  • Entry Space - The amount of space that must be clear before an item will enter a conveyor.

Spacing Rule: Stopping Space ≤ Moving Space ≤ Entry Space
A conveyor's Moving Space must be greater than or equal to its Stopping Space. If the Moving Space is equal to the Stopping Space, items will immediately follow behind items they accumulate against. If the Moving Space is greater than Stopping Space, items will stop in place when accumulating, and then resume when the Moving Space is cleared. This results in a caterpillar-like accumulation effect.

Each spacing setting has two different fields, as illustrated in the image below:

The first editable number field, the Item Percent field, allows you to a percentage of space multiplied by the item's length. 1.00 is equivalent to 100%, or in other words the full length of the item. The value 0.5 would be equivalent to 50%, half the item's length. And 2.00 would be equivalent to 200%, twice the item's length.

The second editable number field, the Additional Spacing field, allows you to add an additional amount of space based on the units of measurements you specify. (See Adjusting Units of Measurement for more information.)

Using these two fields, you can create a dynamic set of spacing rules that is either relative or absolute to the item's length. The following images show examples and explanations of different spacing settings:

The default of 1.00 x Item Length + 0.00m defines spacing based purely on item length.
Defining a spacing value of 1.00 x Item Length + 0.06m adds a gap of 6 centimeters between each item.
A spacing of 0.00 x Item Length + 0.5m defines a 0.5 meter spacing, independent of item length.

Power and Free Settings

The next group of settings is designed for use in simulating Power and Free conveyor systems. In these systems, dogs travel at fixed intervals along a looping chain. These dogs pick up carriers in the system as they pass them. In simulation terms, it is similar to having a moving space greater than stopping space (there is a caterpillar-like accumulation effect), except that the point at which an item can move on the conveyor is defined by the location of the next passing dog, instead of by the space between it and the item ahead of it. (See Power and Free Systems for more information.)

The available settings are:

  • Power and Free - If checked, items can only move on the conveyor at fixed intervals, at the points where simulated dogs pass the item's position.
  • Dog Interval - The spacing between each dog on the Power and Free chain. If you want to simulate a repeating irregular pattern of gaps between dogs, you can enter in a series of custom numbers separated by commas.
  • Item Edge - Defines the associated item edge to be picked up by a dog.

Initial Dog Positions
When Power and Free settings are enabled, by default the conveyor will assign the dog positions based on the first item that enters the conveyor. If you need more control over defining dog positions across multiple conveyors, you can use a Motor.

Power and Free conveyors do not simulate carriers automatically. If you need to simulate carriers as limited resources in the simulation, you can simulate them explicitly by having items that are picked up by the dogs represent the carriers, and then use Decision Points to move other items into and out of those carrier items, representing the actual loads that are being moved by the carriers.

Slug Building Settings

The last group of settings allow conveyors to build slugs. Conveyors can build and release slugs as part of a saw-tooth merge. See Merging for more information on how to build a saw-tooth merge. The Slug Building settings are as follows:

  • Slug Builder - Enables slug building when checked.
  • Ready Criteria - Defines when a slug lane can be considered ready for release. One or more of three options should be chosen. If any of the checked items is fulfilled, the slug will be marked as ready for release. The slug may continue to build while waiting for release. If the conveyor is not connected to a Merge Controller, it will release slugs as soon as they are ready for release.
    • Fill Percent - Select this box and enter a value to define the percentage of the full conveyor length that is required for the slug to be ready for release.
    • Item Count - Select this box and enter a value to define the number of items in a slug required to be ready for release.
    • Time Elapsed - Select this box and enter a value to define a maximum elapsed slug-build time. The time starts when the first item is added to the slug. If the slug is still not ready when the timer finishes, the slug will be made ready for release.
  • Release Speed - The speed at which a slug will be released.

The Visual Tab

Visual settings mostly define how conveyors look when drawing in render mode. Render mode can be enabled in Conveyor System Properties. The following image shows the various settings available in the Visual tab:

The Visual settings are as follows:

  • Width - The width of the conveyor.
  • Roller Skew Angle - The angle, in degrees, at which the rollers are skewed. If non-zero, items will convey to one side of the conveyor as that travel down it.
  • Roller Diameter - The diameter to draw rollers when in render mode. Only used in render mode.
  • Roller Spacing - The distance from the center of one roller to the center of the next roller. Should be greater than Roller Diameter. Only used in render mode.
  • Leg Repeat Distance - The distance between each leg of the conveyor. Only used in render mode.
  • Leg Height Rule - Defines how the height of each leg will be determined. Only used in render mode.
    • Leg Height Following Conveyor Height - Legs will be a set height no matter how the conveyor rises or falls. If the conveyor rises, leg bases will rise with it.
    • Leg Height from Lowest Point on Conveyor - Leg height is determined from the lowest point on the conveyor. For example, if the conveyor plane goes from z = 1.00 to z = 5.00, and Leg Height is defined as 1.00, the leg base will be at z = 0.00 all along the conveyor (lowest point (1.0) minus leg height (1.0)).
    • Leg Base Relative to Model - Legs will extend to a fixed model z position, defined by Leg Base, no matter how high the conveyor is.
  • Leg Height - The conveyor leg height. Only used in render mode when Leg Height Rule equals Leg Height Following Conveyor Height or Leg Height From Lowest Point on Conveyor.
  • Leg Base - The leg base z-point. Only used in render mode when Leg Height Rule equals Leg Base Relative to Model.
  • Side Skirt Height - The height of the conveyor's side skirt.
  • Side Skirt Width - The width of the side skirt. Only used in render mode.
  • Side Skirt Vertical Offset - Defines the position of the side skirt relative to the conveyor plane. This is defined as a ratio of the Side Skirt Height. Usually the value will be between -0.5 and 0.5. For a value of -0.5, the side skirt will extend down from the conveyor plane. For a value of 0.0, the side skirt's center will follow the conveyor plane. For a value of 0.5, the side skirt will extend up from the conveyor plane.
  • Color - Defines the color by which conveyors of this type will be drawn. Only used for non-render mode.
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FlexSim 2016.1