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Conveyor Belt Accumulators
A non-indexing conveyor belt accumulator collecting balls

Conveyor Belt Accumulators

A conveyor belt accumulator uses some sort of belt to manipulate the objects even after they have been collected into the robot. Conveyor belts are a type of frictional grabbers since they rely on the friction between the belt and object to accumulate.

It is important to note that there are two main types of conveyor belts: indexing belts, in which the belt runs only when grabbing an object to enable good sorting, and non-indexing belts in which the belt continuously runs and the objects self-sort.

A non-indexing conveyor belt as shown above continuously runs. When the first object is grabbed it moves to the top of the belt until it hits the back of the accumulator where it hits a stop and the belts slide past it. When a second object is grabbed it moves up until it hits the first, and stops (at which point the belt now slides past both of these stationary objects).