History of Conveyor Belts

The history of conveyor belts begins in the latter half of the 17th century. Since then, conveyor belts have been an inevitable part of material transportation. But it was in 1795 that conveyor belts became a popular means for conveying bulk materials. In the beginning, conveyor belts were used only for moving grain sacks to short distances.

The conveyor belt system and working were quite simple in the early days. The conveyor belt system had a flat wooden bed and a belt that traveled over the wooden bed. Earlier, conveyor belts were made of leather, canvas or rubber. This primitive conveyor belt system was very popular for conveying bulky items from one place to another. In the beginning of the 20th century, the applications of conveyor belts became wider.

Hymle Goddard of Logan Company was the first to receive the patent for the roller conveyor in 1908. The roller conveyor business did not prosper. A few years later, in 1919, powered and free conveyors were used in automotive production. Thus, conveyor belts became popular tools for conveying heavy and large goods within factories.

During the 1920s, conveyor belts were common, and also underwent tremendous changes. Conveyor belts were used in coal mines to handle runs of coal for more than 8kms, and were made using layers of cotton and rubber covers. The longest conveyor belt now in use is 60 miles long, in the phosphate mines of Western Sahara.

One of the turning points in the history of conveyor belts was the introduction of synthetic conveyor belts. It was introduced during the Second World War, mainly because of the scarcity of natural materials such as cotton, rubber and canvas. Since then, synthetic conveyor belts have become popular in various fields.

With the increasing demand in the market, many synthetic polymers and fabrics began to be used in the manufacture of conveyor belts. Today, cotton, canvas, EPDM, leather, neoprene, nylon, polyester, polyurethane, urethane, PVC, rubber, silicone and steel are commonly used in conveyor belts. Nowadays, the material used for making a conveyor belt is determined by its application.

History of Industrial Metal Bending

Metal bending processes are used to form pipes or tubes that can be used for different applications such as petroleum pipe lines, handles, as freeway signs, in power plants and more. There are different machines as well as processes that are used to bend metals these days however this was not the case in the past.

In fact if you had to trace back the history of metal bending it goes back to the ancient Chinese civilizations. This is where reeds were used as tubes to transport water. In other parts of the world, hollow trees were used to transport water from one place to another. Later as newer technologies were developed, manmade tubes were created and machines that would help create tubes and bent tubes were first developed. Cast iron was used later on in England as part of industrialization to form pipes and tubes but this was manually done. This requirement was mainly due to the creation of the new railways network and manufacturing industry set up. Later on as technologies developed, converter furnace processes was introduced and these processes helped produce hollow bars as well as malleable low carbon steel. With the onset of World War II further aided to the metal bending industry as there was a huge requirement for pipes and tubes in aircraft, ships as well as automotives.

Currently, with the advanced technological developments as well as computerization, metal bending is done using different processes and machines. In certain specific cases even pre programmed robots are also used to perform heavy duty metal bending tasks. These days there is a lot of demand for pipe benders as they are used in different industrial applications. Larger and powerful benders are used for heavy industrial applications. Piping as well as mandrels is used to support as well as secure the pipe while the metal is being pushed to be bent. The ram, which is the upper part of the press, is used to shape the metal as well as form different shaped bends.

The uses of pipes bent are plenty. They are used in marine vessels, tanks, windmills as well as trains too. They are also used for architectural as well as structural applications and they are also used in stadiums, skyscrapers, bridges, canopies, homes, stores, stadiums and more.

There are different metal bending service providers and you find the one who caters to your needs depending on your requirements.

The History Of Industrial Engineering

The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology defines industrial engineering as: the profession in which a knowledge of the mathematical and natural sciences gained by study, experience and practice is applied with judgment to develop ways to utilize economically, the materials and forces of nature for the benefit of mankind concerned with the design, improvement and installation of integrated systems of people, materials, equipment and energy. It draws upon specialized knowledge and skill in the mathematical, physical and social sciences together with the principles and methods of engineering analysis and design to specify, predict and evaluate the results to be obtained from such systems.


The origins of industrial engineering can be traced back to many different sources. Fredrick Winslow Taylor is most often considered as the father of industrial engineering even though all his ideas where not original. Some of the preceding influences may have been Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, David Ricardo and John Stuart Mill. All of their works provided classical liberal explanations for the successes and limitations of the Industrial Revolution.

Another major contributor to the field was Charles W. Babbage. a mathematics professor. One of his major contributions to the field was his book On the Economy of Machinery and Manufacturers in 1832. In this book he discusses many different topics dealing with manufacturing, a few of which will be extremely familiar to an IE. Babbage discusses the idea of the learning curve, the division of task and how learning is affected, and the effect of learning on the generation of waste.

In the late nineteenth century more developments where being made that would lead to the formalization of industrial engineering. Henry R. Towne stressed the economic aspect of an engineer’s job. Towne belonged to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) as did many other early American pioneers in this new field. The IE handbook says the, “ASME was the breeding ground for industrial engineering. Towne along with Fredrick A. Halsey worked on developing and presenting wage incentive plans to the ASME. It was out of these meetings that the Halsey plan of wage payment developed. The purpose was to increase the productivity of workers without negatively affecting the cost of production. The plan suggested that some of the gains be shared with the employees.. This is one early example of one profit sharing plan.

Henry L. Gantt belonged to the ASME and presented papers to the ASME on topics such as cost, selection of workers, training, good incentive plans, and scheduling of work. He is the originator of the Gantt chart, currently the most popular chart used in scheduling of work.

hat would Industrial Engineering be without mentioning Fredrick Winslow Taylor. Taylor is probably the best known of the pioneers in industrial engineering. His work, like others, covered topics such as the organization of work by management, worker selection, training, and additional compensation for those individuals that could meet the standard as developed by the company through his methods.

The Gilbreths are accredited with the development of time and motion studies. Frank Bunker Gilbreth and his wife Dr. Lillian M. Gilbreth worked on understanding fatigue, skill development, motion studies, as well as time studies. Lillian Gilbreth had a Ph.D. in psychology which helped in understanding the many people issues. One of the most significant things the Gilbrethss did was to classify the basic human motions into seventeen types, some effective and some non-effective. They labeled the table of classification therbligs. Effective therbligs are useful in accomplishing work and non-effective therbligs are not. Gilbreth concluded that the time to complete an effective therblig can be shortened but will be very hard to eliminate. On the other hand non-effective therbligs should be completely eliminated if possible.

In 1948, the American Institute for Industrial Engineers (AIIE), was opened for the first time and began to give a professional authenticity for the practicing engineers. Up to this time industrial engineers really had no specific place in the hierarchy of a company. The ASME was the only other society that required its members to have an engineering degree prior to the development of the AIIE.

What is the future for Industrial Engineers? With analytical methods and the advancing technologies for the computer, modeling complex production and service systems will become more and more an every day task.

Performing a motion study. Every job can be broken down into its’ fundamental work elements. The Gilbreth family found that there are seventeen of these motions. The time to complete each motion does not change. Jobs can be studied visually or through the assistance of a camera for micro-motion studies.

The environment for the workers also needs to be set up to promote efficiency of work. Tools should be placed in fixed locations to eliminate the search and selection therbligs. Work surfaces and chairs should be adjusted to the correct working heights to eliminate stress. Whenever possible, gravity feeders should be used to deliver parts to the correct location. The worker’s tools should be designed to eliminate multiple cuts. Adjustment handles should be designed to maximize the operator’s mechanical advantage.

Performing a time study. Without a standard the company will find it hard to estimate lead-time on their products. Times very greatly when the employee does not know what the expectation of company is. In order to correct this problem the IE will develop a fair standard expectation for each operation. It has been estimated that 12% of a company’s total cost comes from direct labor. Another 43% of cost comes from the material cost. The other 45% is spent in overhead. So the idea that the largest productivity gains can be felt on the floor does not hold up in this light. A good time study will take into account the unavoidable delays, fatigue, and to an extent, outside interferences. Time for wasteful steps, such as searching for tools, will not be included in the final standard. The expectation is that the workplace will be designed to accommodate the work and will be free from this type of waste.

Set-Up Times Set up time is the amount of time it takes to begin producing different parts on a machine. If set-up times remain large the company will operate with high levels of work in progress and finished goods tying up the companies valuable capital. Companies that fail to reduce their set-up times have a tendency to look sluggish in regards to their customers.

Cost An IE will generally be responsible for coming up with a cost analysis on the equipment purchase. There are a several ways of coming up with this. Lifehow long the machine is expected to last when developing the cost analysis.

Efficiency The traditional way of looking at efficiency was to keep the machine running at a 100% The idea was the cost of the machine could be spread out over the amount of time it was kept running. The higher the machines efficiency, time running / time available, the better the accounting numbers looked in regards to machine cost.

Material The IE is concerned with the delivery and flow of material throughout the plant, often the plant has evolved as the company has.

Lot size To allow the manufacturer to stay flexible the production lot sizes should be minimalized. This will only be economical after the reduction of machine set-ups have been achieved.

Inventory Levels Since inventory is capital that cannot be converted until finished and purchased by a consumer, it should be kept to a minimal. Inventories not only tie up capital but if the customer requests a change then the inventory runs the risk of becoming obsolete.

Quality The quality of the material can affect all parts of the system. Poor quality material often introduces excessive amounts of rework into each of the processes. A typical job for an IE would be to work with the quality department to set up a Quality Management system QMS.

Maintenance The amount of maintenance that the machine is going to require is a variable that must be considered. Another issue about maintenance is whether or not the staff on hand will need to be retrained.