Bottle Stability in the Packaging Process - Rinsing, Filling and Capping
For automatic packaging lines, keeping bottles stable throughout the process helps the machinery to perform at maximum efficiency and reliability. Ensuring bottles are in the correct position to rinse, fill, cap and otherwise prepare the products for the customer requires certain components to steady and position containers. These components may look slightly different depending on the type of packaging machine being run. Components on rinsing, filling and capping machines show a variety of different methods that may be used to achieve this stability goal.
For each of the three machines, a power conveyor system will typically be used to transfer bottles from machine to machine. Conveyors will use railing to ensure that bottles do not tip, rattle or jam while moving between machines. As the bottles reach each machine, different stability components will be used for each.
Most, but not all, automatic rinsing machines will invert bottles over a rinse basin before using air, water or other liquid to complete the cleaning process. An indexing system, such as pins or a screw, will be used to position bottles under the rinse heads prior to inverting the bottles. Of course, these bottles need support when turned upside down, and a clamp is used to hold bottles in position. The clamp keeps bottles steady during the inversion and the rinse, simply returning containers to the conveyor when complete. Bottle vacuums, which may not invert bottles, will still rely on the indexing system to position bottles for the rinse and vacuum.
Just like rinsing machines, filling machines will use an indexing system to place and keep bottles in position under the fill nozzles. Of course, bottles and other containers come in many different shapes and sizes and components for keeping bottles stabile may differ based on the filling machine and the bottles to be filled. For example, tall or tapered bottles that are bottom heavy may tend to shake or rattle even when an indexing system is used for the project. In these cases, packagers may employ neck grabbers, which extend while the bottles are under the nozzles to add support during the fill. The combination of conveyor railing and upper support from the neck grabbers ensure the fill takes place without splashes, spills or simply missed fills.
Capping machines differ slightly in that not all equipment will use an indexing system. The spindle capper, for example, continuously seals screw-on type closures as they move through the machine on a conveyor. This machine will use devices to help stabilize both the cap and the bottles throughout the process. A stabilizer bar will be used to apply pressure to the cap once it is delivered to the bottle, to avoid cross-threading, dropped caps and other issues. At the same time, gripper belts will be used to ensure bottles move smoothly and steadily through the capping area. Again, different bottles may require different components, with a double gripper belt used for taller bottles receiving a screw-on type cap. Trigger sprayers can require a modified stabilizer bar to align the triggers and keep them positioned to not interfere with the tightening.
Other capping machines, such as chuck cappers and ROPP capping equipment, will still use an indexing system to position bottles, much in the same manner of the rinsers and fillers. Each capping machine will use different components to stabilize bottles during the process.
While the examples above do not include all of the components that may be used to stabilize bottles during different packaging processes, they do show a variety of methods that can be employed to ensure consistent and reliable processes. To learn more about any of the equipment manufactured by Liquid Packaging Solutions, or to get answers to your packaging questions, contact LPS today.