A Basic Automatic Packaging System for Low to Medium Production

A Basic Automatic Packaging System for Low to Medium Production 

Packaging systems can range from the extremely simple to the incredibly complex, depending on a great number of factors.  The product being filled, the container, the packaging machinery included on the system and the production level demanded can all play a part in building the ideal system.  While there are a great number of components that can go into any packaging system, for facilities with low to medium production demands looking to add efficiency and productivity, there are some basic packaging machines that will work for just about any project.
Packaging systems can work to condense the space used for functions such as filling, capping and labeling product.  Condensing the space means less product handling and transfer time, leading to greater efficiency.  While a few seconds here and there may not seem like a lot of time, when you calculate those few seconds over a day, month or year, most people are surprised at home much actual time can be saved by simply reducing the distance traveled for each packaging phase.  The following machines can be used to set up such a system with almost any product.


Using a loading turntable allows the operator of the packaging system to quickly and easily introduce bottles to the line.  The loading turntable then moves the bottles to the conveyor to be transferred to the other packaging machinery.  Loading turntables are available with different sized tops to handle containers large to small.  An adjustable superstructure is used to guide the bottles to the conveyor, and makes changeover from one container to another quick and easy.


Coming off the turntable, the bottles will move down a power conveyor to be taken through the filling, capping and labeling process.  These conveyors can be manufactured in different lengths and widths to handle almost any container shape or size.  Power conveyors can also be manufactured using aluminum, stainless steel or even HDPE for harsh environments and/or products.  Both speed and stabilizing guide rails are simple to adjust, meaning quick change over time with minimum downtime.  


The power conveyors will first deliver the bottles to a liquid filling machine.  Liquid fillers can use several different filling principles, allowing the machines to fill both thin and thick products.  These machines will use anywhere from two to sixteen fill heads, depending on production demands.  Filling machines will normally be controlled by a PLC and a touchscreen operator interface, which makes the set up of fill times, index times and other delay and duration times wasy on the operator.  Once set up, all times for a specific bottle can be saved in a recipe screen, further simplifying the set up process for future production runs.


Once product has been introduced to the bottles, the next step is sealing the bottles.  The power conveyor will move bottles from the filling machine to the capping machine.  The type of capping machine used - from spindle cappers to chuck cappers and snap cappers to ROPP cappers - will depend on the type of cap being used.  With most automatic machines, a cap delivery system will be included, meaning the operator usually need only introduce bulk caps on occasion and make certain height and width adjustments for different bottles.


Once out of the capper, and still on the power conveyor, the bottles will move through a labeling machine.  Labelers can be manufactured to apply the label in a variety of different ways.  One popular machine is a wrap labeler, which, as the name suggests, wraps a label around a container.  Other applications may include a front label, front and back label, three panel label or some combination of several different applications on custom machines.  


Once the label is applied the product is ready to be delivered to the consumer.  In order to expedite this process, the power conveyor will deliver the final product to an accumulating turntable.  Product gathering on the turntable in turn provides an ideal spot for a packing station.  Bottles or other containers can be packed into cartons, boxes and/or pallets for delivery to the retailers.  Proper set up of the packaging line may have the accumulating turntable near the loading dock, saving even more transfer time!
While the above packaging system is an example that would truly work for a vast majority of packaging projects, keep in mind that there are numerous adjustments, tweaks and additional packaging machines that can be added to a system to make it ideal for a specific project.  For very low production or extremely limited spaces, the filling, capping and labeling can be done on semi-automatic machinery built onto a single frame, known as a Uniframe Packaging System.  Tabletop machinery can also be manufactured to fill, cap and label bottles in a facility driven by manual labor.  Some facilities may not automate the entire packaging process, but only one or two phases.  Whatever your vision for your own packaging system, Liquid Packaging Solutions can assist you in seeing those visions become reality.