Automatic Packaging Machinery Control Panels
Automatic Packaging Machinery Control Panels
The ease of operation for many different packaging machines begins with the controls used to set up or operate those machines. From push button controls to switches to touchscreen set up, each machine manufactured by Liquid Packaging Solutions is built to make the operation of the equipment as simple as possible. While most automatic packaging equipment will include a main power switch along with an Emergency Stop and Reset button, different types of equipment will be controlled in different manners. Below we take a quick look at the controls for some of the most common machinery built by LPS.
TURNTABLES AND CONVEYORS
Loading turntables, accumulating turntables and power conveyors are simply machines to operate, consisting of two basic controls, power and speed. On a number of lines, the controls may be on the turntable or conveyor itself. Operators simply flip a switch to turn the equipment on and use a simple speed pot to adjust the rate at which the tabletop turns or the belt moves. Alternately, the controls may be tied in to the control panel for another packaging machine. For instance, a filling machine control panel may include power and speed controls for a turntable, power conveyor or both. Centralizing the controls for multiple machines on one control panel can help to increase efficiency in the operation of the packaging line.
Automatic container cleaning equipment will include slightly more detailed controls than the turntables and conveyors. These machines will include a control box with a touchscreen operator interface. On the interface screen, there will be menus that will allow the operator to manually control certain functions of the rinsing equipment, as well as screens to set up rinse times, indexing times and other functions of the machine. Generally speaking, delay and duration times for indexing and rinsing will be set up upon the initial use of the machine (or by LPS as it tests the machine in-house). All of the relevant information for a production run is referred to as a recipe. Once all data has been entered for a specific container, the recipe can be recorded and saved on the PLC for future use. So rather than finding and setting the times for a bottle on each and every occasion that it is used on the packaging line, the recipe screen allows a one time set up, followed by a simple recall of the settings in the future, making changeover as simple as possible and significantly decreasing the downtime of the line.
Automatic filling machinery controls are very similar to those found on the rinsing machines. The operator interface will include screens for the manual toggle of functions like the head dive, the drip tray, indexing pins and more, depending on the type of filler being run. Set up and Pre-set screens will control duration and delay times such as fill time, indexing time and more. The operator interface will, like the rinsing machine, include a recipe screen that allows the packager to save and recall all settings for any specific bottle and product combination. Filling machines may also use a clean-in-place system, which generally allows the product pathway to be flushed with water or some type of cleaning solution after a production run. If this feature is included on a liquid filler, the touchscreen on the control panel will include a separate screen to set the times and the number of cycles for the cleaning process.
The controls found on a capping machine will depend in large part on the type of capping equipment in place on a packaging line. However, most capping machines will not include an operator interface. Instead, adjustments to components will be made manually using simple hand knobs and dials. For instance, a spindle capper will include a control panel with power and speed controls for gripper belts and spindles. In addition to simple switches and dials to control these components, the panel may include a power height control, a cap elevator power and speed control or a control for a F-style type container sensor. A snap capper will include switches and dials to control the snapping belt or stomper and the gripper belts. The control panel will be fairly simple for capping machines and set up and changeover will combine the speed settings with simple hand knob component adjustments for different widths and heights, again keeping downtime to a minimum by keeping set up easy.
These controls will vary from machine to machine based on the unique characteristics of any given packaging project. However, even controls for custom machinery will be developed with ease and efficiency in mind.