In Assembly and Distribution Applications Towline Preventative Maintenance Eliminates System Downtime

Towline Prevention Eliminates System DowntimeTowline systems are essentially a means of conveying work pieces or assemblies from one workstation to the next in a predictable sequence. However, towline systems lend themselves easily to interface with other operations that improve the overall productivity of operations.

For example, custom interfaces can be designed for various requirements (i.e. loading, unloading, etc.) related to “handling” the transported loads. The system can be configured for automated electronic cart weighing. An ASRS stacker crane interface with P&D (pickup and delivery) stations can help automate the materials handling process with the towline able to exchange materials with the automated system. A cart lift-and-store interface will allow carts to be handled in aisles for put away and picking functions related to specific assembly of custom orders.

 Towline preventative maintenance eliminates system downtime due to their robustness, ease of operation and ease of maintenance. Clearly, a preventative maintenance program that focuses on regular lubrication, cleaning, and inspection/adjustment will keep the system running smoothly for years.

A program of anticipatory maintenance can substantially reduce the threat of system downtime, which can be costly in any type of manufacturing or assembly operation. For example, if during routine inspection excessive chain wear is detected, first check to see if the chain is being properly lubricated and being used as specified. Finding and eliminating the root cause of a potential problem during routine maintenance will eliminate costly shutdowns later and extend the life of the system.

Chain jamming is the largest single cause of unnecessary downtime. The system can be designed to virtually eliminate jamming by solutions such as Track-Gap™ that employ two proactive means of eliminating track jamming. The Track-Gap system consists of a void or open area in the channel, between the chain guard and channel wall and below the towpin. This designed area helps keep contaminants contained below the towpin and out of the chains links. This engineered solution makes a large impact on towline performance.

When considering towline system refurbishment, upgrade or new installation, there are four critical design elements that must be addressed: work piece weight, line speed, the footprint, and required throughput. Understand your needs and requirements and then call the leaders in towline installations and technology, SI Systems to help you today.


SI Systems has been providing world class material handling and software systems for manufacturing, assembly, kitting, order fulfillment and warehouse operations for over 50 years. Systems include towline in-floor drag chain conveyor systems, NFF (No Fault Forward) assembly systems, Automated Guided Cart (AGC), Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV), WES, WMS and WCS software systems, order fulfillment dispensing A-Frames and integration services. Visit for more information and white papers on this subject or email: for more information.


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