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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Lesson in Technology - The Activated Roller Belt

My learning experience in material handling continues and continues.... and continues some more.  Many times faster than I can absorb it.

Learning.  It can be a bit like this!
One newly acquired bit of knowledge I thought I would share is something called the "Activated Roller Belt" made by Intralox.

This fascinating bit of technology has a conveyor chain, like you might expect on a conveyor line, but in addition to that, it has small rollers embedded in the belt at an angle to the belts direction of travel. 

By activating these rollers in a controlled manner, the direction of travel for anything on the belt can be changed.  This is accomplished without gates or any other (apparent) physical force. 

Instead of trying to describe it, I was able to find a video showing it in action.  It's an interesting little watch.

I hope you enjoy a sharing my little bit of insight into the material handling world!

Photo Credits:

photo credit: punch via photopin (license)


  1. How are those rollers activated? Does each one have its own motor, or is there something under them that is stationary and drives it at certain points (and in a certain way)?

    Thank you for sharing. This is really neat!

    1. There's a stationary roller beneath the belt that spins the smaller rollers embedded in the belt. By turning on those rollers in a specific sequence, the desired control can be achieved.

      You can take a look at the patent here; It's not super detailed, but enough to get an idea of the function.