Published 19-08-2021
| Article appears in August 2021 Issue

The Impressive Agility of the OMNIA wheel


How this intuitive piece is revolutionising multi-directional conveyor sortation
Australian designed and manufactured omni-wheels are an imperative component of a new, multi-directional, conveyor sortation (MDS) table being made by the NSW company, OMNIA.

In testament to their remarkable performance, the tables are now becoming highly sought after both here and overseas and are soon to be used at a major European postal service.  
Managing director of OMNIA Peter McKinnon describes their omni-wheels as ‘wheels within wheels’. 
“The omni-wheels allow the MDS to sort and divert packages in conveyor systems without the need for pop-ups or rotating re-directional mechanisms,” Mr McKinnon says.
“Our transposed axle system is unique worldwide and allows goods to move in any direction.
“By using two different sized omni wheels, at 90 degrees to one another, there are fewer moving parts and greater reliability and performance, than with comparable roller belt and pneumatic systems,” he explains.
“Fewer moving parts and less friction in the mechanics means less wear-and-tear, noise, maintenance and energy usage.  
“With our systems you can divert, position, align, rotate, orient and merge a wide range of packages totes and payloads. There’s no need to lift, push or guide packages. 
“The modular tables work individually or as a group to manipulate more complex package sorting and movement. They can be programmed for secondary processing such as labelling, specific inspection and accept or reject processes.” 
The highly productive system can sort up to 4,880 items, weighing up to 30kg per hour, assuming a 50% diversion rate.
However, Mr McKinnon said it is not just the systems speed and performance that is attracting customers. 
“Customers like the systems simplicity, scalability, reliability, and ability to be relocated. Compact and lightweight, our MDS modules are easy to install in existing infrastructure and added to adapt for load, speed and size. Being able to quickly drop in a replacement module has benefits for maintenance while continuing operations.”
OMNIA’s conveyor sortation tables are available for both automated and manual conveyors in a range of sizes. Automated modules can be repurposed by reprogramming rather than having to install new hardware.
The patented omni-wheels are made entirely of polymers. As they are entirely injection moulded, using several over moulding techniques and they do not require metal pins, screws or inserts to hold them together. Removing the need for inserts and fasteners delivers an extremely robust and reliable wheel. 
“Our wheels are durable, impact resistant, don’t corrode, and perform at optimum levels in a variety of temperatures - which reduces down time due to lost or broken rollers.
“OMINIA’s MDS tables are an ideal choice for industrial applications in dusty, dirty or corrosive environments.” 
Mr McKinnon said the growth in e-commerce logistics and automation means the need for MDS tables is on the rise. OMNIA is continuing to invest in refinements to enhance its range and plan to meet these demands.  
In further news, the company is now finalising designs for its MDS tables to be able to handle a 100x100mm minimum parcel size. A recent $563,000 grant from the Australian Government’s Manufacturing Modernisation Fund (MMF) is also contributing to its $2.25M project to automate manufacturing of its 50mm wheel to increase production at a lower per unit cost.



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