How Much Does it Cost to Install a Conveyor System?
Conveyor systems play an essential role in many factories and industrial operations. They can be utilized to move and sort products from Point A to Point B, helping to take the strain off workers when it comes to moving heavy objects while enhancing productivity and safety on the shop floor. And while a conveyor system is an investment that typically more than pays for itself in increased efficiencies and a better overall safety record compared to manual operations, one of the questions that we often receive here at JHFoster pertains to the cost of installation.
It’s a difficult question to answer because any conveyor system should ideally be optimized to cater to the environment that it’s being installed in. And it’s the specific needs and requirements of the environment it will operate in that will largely dictate the cost. For instance, there are a variety of different types of conveyor systems, such as bucket conveyors and aero-mechanical styles to chain and drag conveyors. The most popular type of conveyor system, however, is the belt conveyor.
Belt conveyors are often preferred for their affordability, ability to move all kinds of materials long distances, manage changes in elevation, and keep material visible while in motion. Here’s a closer look at how to assess installation costs, as well as other costs that make up the total cost of ownership of a belt conveyor.
So what’s the conveyor cost per foot of your next belt conveyor project? Like we said in the intro, there are many factors that need to be accounted for when it comes to your cost estimation belt conveyor project. Generally speaking, however, most experts advise budgeting about $1,500 per linear foot of conveyor that you need to run. This number accounts for a variety of variables, including:
- Wire rope and supports
- Light and heavy truss
- Power source
- The belt
- Miscellaneous other hardware
While the price of installation may seem significant to you, keep in mind that a conveyor is an investment that’s likely going to automate a manual process. There’s an upfront cost associated with installation, but it’s something that will pay for itself over time in increased productivity, better safety statistics, and, ideally, serve as a gateway to further organizational growth.
As noted earlier in this piece, there are various other factors that may influence the total cost of a conveyor system. Some of these accessories and optional add-ons include:
- Slide gates: Many conveyors are designed with slide gates so that products can depart the system at various intervals. These can range anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000 based on the type.
- Valve gates: Similar to slide gates, these serve more of a chute-type function on the conveyor. They also come at a price point that’s similar to slide gates.
- Structural components: From a reinforced frame to handle heavier products to rails, stairs, ladders, and platforms, these components can account for up to 10 percent of the total cost of the conveyor system depending on the specific needs of the facility.
Other Cost Considerations
In addition to the initial installation cost, which is perhaps the easiest to quantify, there are two other costs that you need to consider when it comes to any new conveyor system: operational costs and maintenance costs.
So what are operational and maintenance costs? Think of it like this: Operational costs are how much it costs to run the system. Typical examples of operational costs include electrical and air usage. Maintenance costs, on the other hand, include the upkeep the system will require on a regular basis. Maintenance costs include things like replacement parts, general upkeep, and the labor costs of performing said maintenance.
When it comes to cost, it’s important to consider the total cost of ownership and look beyond just the installation costs. Think of investing in a conveyor as investing in an automobile. There’s the cost of the vehicle (sticker price) and then the total cost of ownership that needs to be considered. With a vehicle, these include operational costs like fuel, insurance, and registration, and maintenance costs like oil changes, tire rotations, and manufacturer-recommended repairs.
Be sure to speak with an expert so you can get a better understanding of what costs you need to budget for in addition to the initial installation.
Speak to an Expert Today
As discussed, conveyor systems are a significant investment, but they’re an investment that’s worth it in the long run when you take into account enhanced productivity from fully automating a process. For more information on how a conveyor system can help take your operations to new heights and for more information on the cost to install a belt conveyor system, contact our experts at JHFoster today. As your one-stop-shop for conveyor solutions, we’re standing by to answer your questions and estimate the total cost of ownership of a new system.