But fasteners eventually tear or degrade the belts and welding introduces positional errors of up to 0.04 in. and 1 of perpendicularity error. To solve these problems, engineers at Conveyor Ltd., Loveland, Ohio, have developed the patented FlexLoc system that can hold positioning accuracy to within 0.01 in. in four axes.

It uses male, dovetail-shaped urethane attaching points welded to the conveyor belt. Subpallets quickly and easily attach to the dovetails. But when the belt is tensioned and moving, the belt pulls down the dovetails, thus locking subpallets in position. Users attach their own part-holders to the subpallets using standard T-slot grooves similar to those on machine tools and stamping press bolsters. The subpallets let users set position via a gage bar, thus ensuring accurate X-axis registration of part holders on the belt, a critical function when performing several operations on a common belt. Subpallets also eliminate perpendicularity errors.

The system is said to be ideal for high-cycle and subsecond indexing applications. It can also be used on flat belts for lower-cycle operations.