Types of Conveyor Rollers: Everything You Must Know Before Purchasing

Conveyor rollers are an essential part of factories and warehouses. They make transporting items quick and less strenuous. Conveyor rollers can improve the facility’s efficiency while reducing worker stress. However, with so many types of conveyor rollers available, figuring out which variation is right for your business isn’t always easy.

Fortunately, the conveyor roller experts at Conveyor Systems & Engineering Inc. are here to teach you everything you need to know about conveyor rollers, making it easy to find the perfect type for your company.

Read on to learn the different types of conveyor rollers and how they can improve your business.

Types of Conveyor Rollers

What Are Conveyor Rollers?

Conveyor rollers are convenient roller systems that safely move products across warehouses, factories, and other industrial facilities swiftly and efficiently. Most consist of high-quality steel or stainless steel and can support heavy objects without difficulty.

However, plastic and rubber conveyor rollers are also available.

There are two primary conveyor roller designs:

  • Traditional conveyor rollers
  • MDR conveyor rollers

Traditional Conveyor Rollers

Traditional conveyor rollers are non-electric transportation systems consisting of ball bearings, a shaft, and a steel tube. Many have a low-friction material coating that smoothly moves items from place to place. Although traditional conveyor rollers don’t utilize sophisticated technology, they can take efficiency to new heights while making things more convenient for employees.

MDR Conveyor Rollers

MDR conveyor rollers, also called motor-driven conveyor rollers, are electric transportation systems commonly used in assembly lines and package handling. They come in numerous shapes, sizes, and designs, making them ideal for big, busy facilities needing larger rollers.

MDR conveyor rollers typically cost more than traditional models but offer more advantages, including, but not limited to:

  • Higher efficiency
  • Longer lifespans
  • Increased reliability
  • Higher capacity
  • Higher ROI (return on investment)

Types of Conveyor Rollers

Again, there are numerous types of conveyor rollers that can make your business more efficient. Below are some of the most common types of conveyor rollers.

Gravity Rollers

Gravity rollers are the least advanced conveyor roller model but also one of the most affordable. They feature free-rotating rollers that utilize gravity to transport products from place to place.

The rollers often consist of steel, aluminum, or plastic that support most light and medium weighted items. However, they have trouble moving heavy objects since they don’t have a built-in motor.

Gravity rollers are also customizable, allowing business owners to equip accessories like pop-up tops, curves, hanging bricks, slide rails, and supports. Although most companies view gravity rollers as temporary transportation systems, they are an economical option that can significantly improve business operations.

Types of Conveyor Rollers

Belt-driven Conveyor Rollers

Belt-driven conveyor rollers are an MDR model that features a motorized belt that makes moving objects across a facility nearly effortless. They are more efficient than traditional belt conveyor rollers since they don’t require items to stop at control points.
These MDR conveyor rollers support medium to heavy-weighted objects with wider frames.

Belt-driven conveyor rollers also allow operators to stop and reverse the belt, giving them more control over the transportation system.

However, belt-driven conveyor rollers only come in two shapes (straight and V-shape) and degrade rather quickly if they encounter excessive heat, moisture, or debris.

Nevertheless, these conveyor rollers are exceedingly beneficial to companies that need to move large, dry products across facilities swiftly.

Chain-driven Conveyor Rollers

Chain-driven conveyor rollers function similarly to belt-driven roller systems but utilize chains instead of motorized belts. They are incredibly robust and support heavy objects of all shapes and sizes. These roller systems won’t deteriorate in damp conditions (if well maintained) and allow reversible operations when needed.

Chain-driven conveyor rollers come in two primary designs

  • Roll-to-roll
  • Single-strand


Roll-to-roll models are heavy-duty MDR conveyor rollers that utilize a chain that wraps around each roller and connects to two sprockets within the rollers. They are more powerful than the single-strand variation and can transport oversized projects efficiently.


Single-strand chain-driven conveyor rollers utilize one non-looped chain that connects to roller sprockets. They also feature a hold-down bar that keeps the chain continuously engaged.

Although these MDR conveyor rollers support medium to heavy-weighted items, they aren’t as strong as roll-to-roll models.

Line Shaft Conveyor Rollers

Line shaft conveyor rollers use a rotating shaft that connects to each roller by urethane belts and drive spools. They are easy to maintain and operate almost silently.

However, the drive spools sometimes slip when heavy objects apply too much pressure on the rollers, making them less ideal for heavy-duty transportation. Fortunately, the excess stress only affects the weighed-down area, allowing the machine to continue operations in non-affected regions.

These MDR conveyor rollers span over 100 feet and come in straight and curved designs. They allow reverse operation and can improve any warehouse’s efficiency.

Zero Pressure Conveyor Rollers

Zero pressure conveyor rollers, also called pressureless accumulating conveyors, are advanced roller systems that prevent goods from touching each other during transport.

They use sophisticated motors and sensors to control specific zero pressure areas on the track, creating buffer zones between items. Some rollers utilize motors that connect to the machine’s control system, allowing photocells to determine when a product reaches or surpasses track zones.

Business owners can buy zero-pressure conveyor roller kits to upgrade their existing transportation system or purchase a complete unit. These cutting-edge conveyor rollers are the most innovative and efficient model available, making them the go-to choice for large factories, warehouses, and other industrial facilities. Although these MDR conveyor rollers usually carry higher price tags, many business owners believe it’s a small price to pay for outstanding efficiency, longevity, and consistency.

Powered Conveyor Rollers

These MDR conveyor rollers combine motorized and non-motorized rollers to transport goods quickly. Every tenth roller has an internalized motor that pushes items forward to manual rollers connecting to several O-rings. Powered conveyor rollers carry small, lighter products without issue but struggle to move heavy objects without halting the track.

However, powered conveyor rollers work well for smaller warehouses needing to transport small, lightweight goods.


Types of Conveyor Rollers Benefits

Benefits of Conveyor Rollers

Conveyor rollers provide companies with numerous benefits, ranging from increased efficiency to prompt transportation. Below are just some of the benefits conveyor rollers offer.

Increased Efficiency

Conveyor rollers make transporting heavy and oversized products less strenuous. Instead of carrying burdensome goods across a warehouse manually or with a dolly, employees place objects on the conveyor roller and let the track transport them to their destination. They decrease transportation times, allowing workers to focus on other tasks without hindering product transit.

Low Maintenance

Most conveyor rollers require minimal maintenance and preserve their efficiency better than other transportation systems. Replacing broken or malfunctioning rollers is incredibly easy and only takes a few minutes to complete. Although employees must clean the conveyor rollers every so often, it doesn’t require extensive maintenance to ensure optimal functionality.

Traditional conveyor rollers are also relatively easy to repair. Most parts are readily available and don’t demand exceedingly high prices. If you want a low-maintenance transportation system that will withstand the test of time, consider purchasing a high-quality conveyor roller.

Diminished Transportation Times

Again, conveyor rollers transport goods across industrial facilities faster than employees, drastically reducing transportation times. Some MDR models allow you to adjust mechanical roller speeds, increasing efficiency while diminishing transit periods even further. Buying a professional-grade conveyor roller is one of the best ways to decrease transportation times while taking efficiency to new heights.

Numerous Customizable Designs

Many conveyor rollers allow business owners to customize their design and add additional tracks and accessories to their transportation system. Some of the most prevalent conveyor roller accessories include:

  • Pop-up stops
  • Supports
  • Hanging brackets
  • Slide rails
  • Pneumatic brakes
  • Butt spurs
  • Side tables

Several models sport various track shapes, allowing the conveyor roller to maneuver in oddly shaped facilities without reducing efficiency or transportation time.


Conveyor rollers are relatively affordable and make up their costs over time. They allow workers to work faster and more efficiently, allowing businesses to distribute goods quickly and increase revenue in a shorter time frame.

How To Maintain Conveyor Rollers

Although conveyor rollers require minimal upkeep, they still need regular maintenance. Below are some efficient maintenance tips to ensure your conveyor roller performs optimally year-round.

Oil Regularly

Some conveyor roller components require regular lubrication to maintain maximum efficiency. Employees must regularly oil the drive screw, pressure screw, chain, and roller bearings to ensure optimal functionality. Develop an oiling schedule and teach your workers how to properly lubricate the mechanism to maintain your conveyor roller’s performance.

Clean Frequently

Keeping your conveyor roller clean ensures smooth transit while preventing potential system blockages. Dirt, debris, and residue often become trapped within various mechanisms that play an essential role in the transportation process. However, different types of conveyor rollers require various cleaning methods.

For example, it’s best to spay a stainless-steel conveyor roller with water and a cleaning solution, but using the same cleansing method on a belt-drive system could ruin the unit. Always research your model’s preferred cleaning procedure before using a specific washing method.

Types of Conveyor Rollers Maintenance

Conduct Weekly Examinations

Sometimes examining a conveyor roller will reveal potential issues before they affect the system. A conveyor’s rollers occasionally become wobbly and decrease the unit’s transportation efficiency. However, if you identify a malfunctioning roller before it jams, you can lubricate or replace it before it hinders system performance.

Also, conveyor belts, chains, and roller bearings wear down over time and eventually require a replacement. Replacing these components before they break down entirely will keep the unit functioning with minimal delay. Creating a weekly examination schedule will help you identify potential problems before they take hold of your conveyor roller.

Don’t Overwork the Conveyor Roller

Roller bearings often overheat when a conveyor roller operates for too long. You must allow the transportation system to cool after extensive use to prevent the unit from overheating. Excess temperatures can lead to numerous issues that could cause the system to break down prematurely.

It’s best to turn the conveyor roller off whenever it’s not in use to prevent overheating and preserve the unit’s overall well-being.

Contact Conveyor Systems & Engineering Inc. for High-quality Custom Conveyor Rollers

If you need a first-class conveyor roller for your business, contact Conveyor Systems & Engineering Inc. We carry numerous types of conveyor rollers that will help your business thrive in today’s competitive market. Our advanced transportation systems will help your company reach its full potential at a rate that won’t stress your financial means.

Conveyor Systems & Engineering Inc. is one of the nation’s leading conveyor roller manufacturers. We’ve been constructing high-quality custom conveyor belts and rollers for over 27 years and can equip your facility with an efficient transpiration system that allows your company to operate at its highest efficiency level. If you need a custom conveyor roller or belt for your business, contact Conveyor Systems & Engineering Inc.

Whether you need a traditional conveyor roller for your warehouse or an MDR transportation system for your factory, contact Conveyor Systems & Engineering Inc.
Give Conveyor Systems & Engineering Inc. a call at (847) 350-2900 today! Use our Roller Builder to get a custom quote on your conveyor roller project!