The 1978 rock anthem “Roll with the Changes” by REO Speedwagon suggests that one has “got to, got to, got to keep on rollin’” with the changes to stay positive and be successful. Although not sung about beverage warehouses, more SKUs, smaller batches and more frequent changeovers have impacted conveyor systems, which literally have had to “roll with the changes.”
Tom Eure, director of material handling at Beloit, Wis.-based Regal Beloit America Inc., notes that the variation of container shapes and diverse designs are significantly impacting conveying operations. “Historically, a plant would run one or two bottle or container designs; now they’re running many different shapes and sizes,” he explains. “System manufacturers are designing more flexible and dynamic conveyor systems, addressing the need for quicker changeovers and offering rail adjustments that can be made quickly and easily repeatable (either manually or automated).