Automatic Rinsing Machines and the Operator Interface
Not every packager will require or use rinsing machinery prior to filling their bottles or other containers. It will depend in part on how the bottles are made, transported and stored, as well as on the product being packaged. In many cases, the choice to use container cleaning equipment will also come down to the personal preference of the packager. Automatic packaging machinery will require some set up prior to cleaning containers without the assistance of manual labor during each cycle. At LPS, the rinsing machines are set up and run via an operator interface that is in many respects similar to the controls used for a filling machine. From the touchscreen interface, the operator can control and change settings as necessary to ensure smooth, consistent and reliable cleaning of containers with each cycle that passes through the machine. Below is a quick overview of the different screens and what can be accomplished on each.
The Main Menu of the rinsing machine interface serves as a navigation and home screen and allows access to all other screens necessary to set up the machine. In addition, the screen will display total production output, which can be reset on a daily, weekly, annual or other basis to track the efficiency of the equipment. At the bottom of the Main Menu, along with all other screens, will be several controls for main components which will typically include the rinser conveyor, the rinse heads and the rinse cycle, but may vary depending on the project and the components of individual machines.
The Manual Toggle screen will typically be used during set-up, maintenance or clean up of the machinery. This screen allows the operator to take control of various components of the rinsing machine to toggle between different settings. For instance, the clamp used to hold bottles during the inverting process on the rinsing machine can be toggled between open and closed, but should remain on AUTO whenever production is being run on the machine. The operator can also control indexing pins, the conveyor and the carriage, among other components depending on the individual machine.
RINSER SET UP
The Rinser Set Up screen will determine how the machine performs while in automatic production. This screen allows the operator to turn on and off rinse heads (in the event of an issue, less than all heads may be used) while also allowing for set up of sensors and the clamp and choosing the proper indexing type. Once all settings are chosen, they will remain in place until changed. The recipe screen also allows these settings to be saved, to make set-up or changeover of the rinser a quick process.
The Adjust Pre-Sets screen will include different delay and duration times that will ultimately make up the rinse cycle each time a set of bottles passes through the rinse area. For example, the operator can set the rinse duration on these screens, determining how long the actual rinse of the bottle will last. However, other settings may include durations and delays for indexing gates, a delay from the inverting of containers to the start of the rinse and a delay from the end of the rinse to the return of containers to the conveyor. All of these times, some of which will be only a fraction of a second, help to clean containers in the most efficient, yet most thorough, way possible.
AUTO INDEXING SET UP
Rather than reaching indexing times by trial and error, the Auto Indexing Set Up screen allows the operator to quickly and easily get the best times for this task. The operator will simply line up bottles on the power conveyor leading in to the rinse area and press the Start ASU Index button. The indexing times will then be recorded and saved until changed, making a potentially time consuming task incredibly simple.
As noted above, the Recipe screen allows all the settings from the Rinser Set Up screen, and actually all the other screens as well, to be saved for a certain bottle. This screen also allows those settings to be recalled at a later date by simply entering the number of the desired recipe. For packagers cleaning multiple containers, the Recipe screen saves huge chunks of set up time each time a new bottle is run. When bottles are provided to LPS during manufacturing (which is strongly suggested), the LPS team will record the necessary Recipes for each bottle to save the packager even more time.
Finally, the Alarm screen simply works as an assistant to help identify problem areas when the machine is not functioning properly. Whether a downstream jam or a malfunction of the container cleaning machinery itself, the Alarm screen will flash a message to point the operator in the right direction. Once any issues are resolved, a simple twist of the E-stop button and a press of the Reset button will put the equipment back in use.
Of course, different rinsing machines may have controls that vary slightly depending on the bottles that are being cleaned and even the rinse media being used. To learn more about container cleaning equipment and inverting rinsing machines, call our offices to speak with a Packaging Specialist today.