Move Your Operation to Success: Choose the Right Material Handling Conveyor

Material handling is a field involving the transport, storage, and control of goods and products throughout the processes of manufacturing, distribution, consumption and disposal of all related materials. A conveyor system is a common piece of mechanical handling equipment that moves materials from one location to another. Conveyors are especially useful in applications involving the transportation of heavy or bulky materials.

Material Handling Conveyor Options 

There are three main material handling conveyor types– transportation, accumulation and sortation.


Transportation conveyors move pallets or cartons from point A to point B. They can be used for a variety of applications from heavy full-pallet loads to lightweight items that vary in size. Transportation conveyor options are available to accommodate requirements such as desired speed and product handling procedures.

There are three main types of transportation conveyors: gravity conveyors, belt conveyors and live roller conveyors.

Gravity conveyors are made up of a frame, rollers or wheels and are pitched so gravity can move product or allow product to be moved manually down the line. Belt conveyors, one of the most commonly used conveyor type, use pulleys and a wide belt that are supported by rollers or a flat pan along its path to move product. Live roller conveyors push loads by applying power to either some or all the rollers.


Accumulation conveyors move loads from point A to point B, allowing them to accumulate when necessary to allow time for equipment or other material handling resources to become available

Red crates at conveyor rollers in distribution warehouse

down the line. Once these resources become available, the system gives a signal to release the next queue of products. There are three main types of accumulation conveyors: zero pressure accumulation conveyors, zero contact accumulation conveyors and minimum contact accumulation conveyors.

Zero pressure accumulation conveyors allow for light contact between products when the system signals that queue to accumulate. Zero contact accumulation conveyors leave space between products when the system signals a queue to accumulate. Minimum contact accumulation conveyors maintain a light but constant drive force on products waiting to accumulate.


Sortation conveyors are used to direct products from one conveyor line to another. These conveyors integrate an induction system; system merges and sortation diverts. These are tailored to each operation to properly identify, track and transport products to expedite the order fulfillment process. These conveyors are best suited for high throughput operations that require products to flow to numerous locations.

Sorting system with conveyer belt in distribution warehouse

There are seven types of sortation conveyors: shoe sorters, pop-up wheel sorters, right angle transfers, arm/pusher sorters, narrow belt sorter, tilt tray sorter and cross-belt sorter.

A shoe sorter support produce on tubes or slates and a “shoe” positively diverts product to either side. Pop-up-wheel sorters utilize a belt conveyor with added rows of angled wheels at divert areas. Right angle transfers utilize a transfer head to push the product off a conveyor onto a perpendicular or parallel conveyor.

The arm/pusher style sorters divert products onto chutes that are 90-degrees from the sorting conveyor. A narrow belt sorter is designed with multiple narrow belts that transport product. The tilt tray sorter uses a tilting tray at divert points to slide each item onto the proper chute. Lastly, the cross-belt sorter utilizes a series of small, individual belted trays which are activated when an item needs to divert off one conveyor onto another at a 90-degree angle.


If you want to expedite your material handling operation, a conveyor system is a viable option. Choosing the right material handling conveyor is key to maximizing resources while accelerating order fulfillment.

REB will assign a dedicated project manager to your project who will handle all aspects of the project including (final engineering, obtaining permit, delivery coordination, installation, and testing). You can be assured that we will have professional safety conscious installers on your project, who are experienced working during on-going operations.

To learn more or get help with a project, fill in the Request A Quote form or call (800) 252-5955. Whether your project is large or small, we have the expertise to ensure your next project is a success.

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Brian Dubin

All Products Automotive, Inc.

“We have been a customer for over 15 years. REB offers a good selection of products at great prices. They are an excellent source of materials along with suggestions and information on a variety of storage issues."

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Harrington Industrial Plastics

“REB is by far my favorite vendor, the customer service and dedication to making sure every order is complete and on time. Fantastic communication, and an absolute pleasure to work with.”

Gary Rothschild

Epko Industries

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Cabernet Corporation

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Pacific Storage Company

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Tom Beckermann

Felling Trailers Inc.

“REB Storage Systems provides a high quality product with the best customer service in the industry, no matter the volume of products we buy.”

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