What Are The Types of Conveyor Belts Used for Industrial Purposes?

Conveyors are among the most popular and flexibly used types of equipment across all production levels. Whether you’re packaging foods or creating a buffer zone between two process areas, you can count on an industrial conveyor system to help you get materials from point a to point b.

With so many different types out there, our experts want to ensure you’re equipped with the knowledge of knowing what the 5 most popular types are, and how they’re used in various manufacturing processes and industrial use cases.

Most Common Types

From belt and gravity conveyors to overhead and chute varieties, you‘re likely to find all, if not most of them in production facilities across various industries.  Industrial uses for conveyors are essential in production facilities of all types. There are more than 13 major types of industrial conveyor systems, so it can quickly become an overwhelming task to determine the best solution for your industrial needs.

Each system has a different design built for multiple uses. However, you can best categorize them by two main categories: floor conveyors – those mounted to the floor –  and overhead conveyors. No matter what type, each product brings a unique benefit to your warehouse.

To help you navigate the different types and use cases, our experts have put together a guide to help you find the turnkey solutions that will help you facilitate production, increase productivity and ensure safety across your various operations.

Belt Conveyor

We wanted to start with one of the most simple, yet adaptable types of conveyors on the market. Not only are belt conveyors used in a wide range of industries, but they can also be repurposed for all types of uses. A standard belt conveyor can help you move products along an assembly line and help reduce time spent either walking, operating a forklift or carrying items that can sometimes be too heavy for your team member to lift. 

Additionally, a belt system also helps move products along various steps of the process, directional changes or across steep inclines. If you’re using robots, it makes sense to have a few different pieces moving products throughout each individual process. Lighter duty conveyors are used in the production of smaller products, while heady duty conveyors can be used for larger or messier products, such as coal mining.

Overhead Conveyor

This is the second most common type of conveyor due to its flexibility during installation. Overhead Conveyors take up virtually zero space in a production facility as it takes advantage of the unused vertical space above the general working area. These types of conveyors can pass through production areas that humans and robots can’t likely reach, such as ovens, sprayers and more.

There are a few different types, mostly ranging from hand push to motorized track conveyors. Some of them feature an enclosed track, while others do not. Their flexibility in design allows you to use these conveyors as a universal link chain of sorts that can accommodate itself to tight spaces. Additionally, it can improve work environments by restricting human power in areas that can often prove dangerous such as increased contaminants.

Additionally, a closed track system is designed to integrate with a variety of additional systems such as power and free systems, which we will talk about shortly.

Modular Conveyor

Nothing depicts a modern worksite like a modular system. Material handling continues to be a necessary component of any flexible manufacturing system, which means that a modular conveyor will be required to accomplish the job. So how are these different than your standard belt conveyor?

For starters, a modular conveyor are made up of multiple “modules” that can be replaced, removed, added, and arranged as needed. Think of them as lego pieces that can actually be kinetic when needed – and yes, their modularity is that simple. Setting up these flexible conveyors doesn’t require welding or drilling, they’re built to be moved and easy to substitute and replace without compromising performance. 

Their interchangeable ability makes them even more useful to work alongside a robotic work machine and a variety of additional technology that might often not be compatible with other conveyors.

Power and Free Conveyors

You can consider these the workhouses of any production and assembly line. While they are technically overhead conveyors, they deserve to be highlighted on their own due to their ability to be so versatile. Power and free overhead conveyor systems are easy to maintain and suited for demanding environments where production accuracy is extremely important. 

These types of conveyors can handle loads as light as 5 pounds and as heavy as 20,000 pounds. Additionally, they can be adapted to where they’re not continuously moving, but rather stop when necessary without slowing down overall production. Below are some of the different ways in which you can adapt your power and free conveyor to fit your production capacity:

  • Creating variable chain speeds
  • Leveraging high-speed indexing
  • Using on-line storage
  • Implementing them in areas where changes in elevation are most common

It’s important to note that these operate to such an optimized degree of flexibility due to the fact that they have not one, but two tracks. This makes it easy for one track to load and move, while the other track allows unloading and stopping while they simultaneously work together to create an efficient network of systems.

Inverted Continuous Flow Conveyor

While these operate very similarly to the power and free conveyors, they actually offer a continuous flow. Rather than have two tracks, these conveyors handle individual loads up to 250lbs, making them ideal for large column production uses. As their name suggests, their inverted design allows these conveyors to be used in applications where the product needs to be kept safe from contamination. 

While these systems have only been around since the 1960s, they’ve quickly come to the industrial scene as your solution for eliminating contamination, ensuring total product accessibility, and making way for more robotic operations as they feature an ergonomic interface not seen in other types of conveyors.


Ensuring you’re regularly maintaining your conveyor is important. They’re not only the most often used pieces of equipment, but they can also impede other processes from continuing. JHFOSTER offers an in-house team that can provide all parts and on-demand repairs, so you don’t have to worry about unforeseen equipment issues. Our remote and onsite service solutions can help you maintain your operations moving forward no matter what. 

Our experts at JHFOSTER can help you design turnkey operations that improve efficiencies across every step of your manufacturing process. Whether you’re trying to integrate a new conveyor system or looking to custom engineer your existing build to help you achieve new production goals, we are your one-stop solution shop for all your conveyor needs. Schedule a call with one of our experts today!