Many manufacturing and storage facilities are pressed for space, leaving smart plant managers struggling to find ways to optimize their facilities to increase efficiency and save room. Power and free overhead conveyor systems can often provide substantial space savings, helping companies to avoid having to find larger facilities or reduce efficiency by squeezing important processes into their available space.

Guide to Power and Free Conveyors


Richard-Wilcox Conveyor Systems offer a number of power and free conveyor systems to clients in order to help them improve productivity and efficiency in their facilities. Companies considering a conveyor system should study the advantages these systems offer and find the system that best suits their needs.

Power and Free Conveyor Systems Explained

Power and free conveyor systems are built on a two-track system. These conveyors also referred to as asynchronous conveyor systems, allow loads hanging beneath each track to move at differing paces. Users can program the machine operating the conveyor to have loads start or stop independently of one another. Users can also have loads switch tracks if necessary.

Power and free conveyors are called “power and free” because one track is operated by a powered track while the other track has free trolleys running on the lower track.

Advantages of Power and Free Conveyors

Power and free conveyors have a wide variety of applications in manufacturing facilities, distribution centers, shipping centers, assembly line operations, and paint shops, among others. Power and free conveyors have the advantage of a compact design, easy installation, centralized control, modular design and high availability of parts.

Power and free conveyors allow their owners to make the most of their available space. The devices can also help speed up work and set a pace for operations, increasing productivity and making it faster and easier to move material through a factory, distribution center, or other facilities.

Why Choose a Power and Free Conveyor System

Companies and organizations that are considering obtaining a power and free conveyor system for their facility should look into their available options to determine whether it is the most efficient and economical solution to their space-saving needs. When considering using these conveyor systems, company leaders need to think about:-

  • Size of your facility – How much space do you have for a conveyor system? Is the space you have appropriate for a conveyor system?
  • Materials the conveyor system will handle – Is a power and free conveyor the best option for moving the materials you need to be moved, or is there another conveyor option that works better?
  • Long-term needs – The power and free system you choose may work great for today’s needs, but will it be up to the task if your business expands?
  • Throughput demands – How quickly do you need the system to move materials? Can the system you are looking for meet that demand?

Properly Maintaining a Power and Free Conveyor System



Good maintenance is essential to the utility and longevity of a conveyor system. Companies seeking to install a conveyor system should be sure to follow these maintenance tips:

  • Make sure the take-up adjustment is properly aligned to avoid chain surging, jamming, and wear. Regular checks and maintenance will greatly help.
  • Keep it lubed. Chains for conveyors need lubrication to avoid wear and tear damage. Make sure your company regularly inspects chains and applies lubricant as needed.
  • Avoid contamination. There are a variety of contaminants such as abrasives, acids, paint, and more that can cause tracks and chains to deteriorate. Make sure that your devices are properly protected from contamination with protective coatings, buffers, shrouds, etc.
  • Make sure the conveyor only handles appropriate products. Avoid items that are too small, too heavy, too large, or awkwardly shaped to avoid damage to the conveyor.
  • Make sure all belts, drive trains, and parts are regularly inspected and maintained.

Case Study

A Richards-Wilcox conveyor system saved a metal manufacturing company an incredible amount of space and bumped up output at a metal fabrication facility in the Midwest. The company needed to optimize floor space for a powder coating finishing system and needed to boost efficiency in conveying long loads.

In most similar facilities, monorail conveyors are used. These systems can take up a lot of space. Richards-Wilcox built a custom power & free system for the facility. The specially designed system used 69 percent less floor space and also created space for accumulating loads before loading and unloading. With the accumulation areas, operators were better able to keep the conveyor fully loaded at all times. This boosted throughput by about 10 percent.

It’s easy to see that power and free conveyor systems can greatly help facility owners with issues of productivity and floor space optimization.


In today’s globalized economy, companies must squeeze every advantage they can to keep their companies profitable. By investing in Richards-Wilcox conveyor systems, company owners can improve safety, productivity, and use of space – a worthwhile investment by any standard. However, careful research, planning, employee training, and preparation are essential to making a conveyor system a success.