Bottle Material, Shape & Size - Changes to Packaging Equipment
Many different pieces of information are gathered from a packager before determining the best packaging machinery for any given project. The bottles, or other containers, being used on a project will obviously be important information. However, rarely is a packaging machine built just for a bottle material, shape or size. Instead, certain modifications to machinery will be made to accommodate the material, odd shapes or large or small sizes.
For example, on a project using glass bottles, neck grabbers may be added to an overflow filling machine. Though not always a necessity, the neck grabbers add a little more stability to the bottles when the heads dive, ensuring that nozzles don't chip or break the bottles when diving. The machine stays the same, but the addition of the neck grabbers (which may also be used at times with plastic bottles as well) adds another layer of safety and efficiency when using glass containers.
Another example might involve tall bottles or oddly shaped bottles. In such a case, certain components may be added to machinery for stability purposes as well. The power conveyor system might use a double guide rail setup to keep bottles from tipping and jamming while moving along the packaging line. Double gripper belts may also be added to a spindle capping machine in this situation to ensure bottles don't rattle or tip while the closure is being applied.
Similarly, glass or plastic bottles, tubes or other containers may require pucks to be added to a packaging system as well. Where the containers will not smoothly move down a conveyor, the pucks allow the placement of the containers into a flat bottomed component that allows for easy movement. Though no machines may be modified, this addition allows for the unique containers to be efficiently prepared for the shelf.
As noted, on rare occasions, a different machine may be chosen based on the containers being used. When non-round bottles are being filled, capped and otherwise packaged, a loading turntable may not be an option for getting bottles on the line. However, a packager can use a loading, laning conveyor to get non-round bottles to the main power conveyor system in an efficient manner. Bottles with rounded bottoms may also be run on a monoblock machine using a starwheel indexing system rather than employing pucks as discussed above.
While many different factors are taken in to account when identifying the best equipment for any packaging line, the above examples show why it is important to understand the containers that will be run on the system. To discuss your own containers or other project factors with an LPS engineer or specialist, simply send in your request via the Quick Connect box found on this page or call the LPS Offices today.