Combining Power and Non-power Conveyors
Combining Non-Power and Power Conveyors
When discussing individual packaging machines, they are often categorized as automatic, semi-automatic or manual packaging machines. Logically, when a person thinks of an automated packaging system, they have in mind a power conveyor system along with automatic rinsing machines, liquid fillers, capping machines, labeling equipment and other automatic packaging machines. In reality, a packaging system can be set up in a number of ways that may utilize some automatic packaging machinery, some semi-automatic machinery and even some manual packaging equipment or labor. For example, a packaging line may automate the filling, capping and labeling process using a power conveyor to move bottles through these phases. However, once labeled, the bottles may move to non-power conveyors for the packing phases of the packaging lines.
Power conveyors can be manufactured in a number of different styles using aluminum, stainless steel or even HDPE for harsh chemicals. These conveyors will use a belt or chain made of a material suitable to the individual application. While most applications will typically use a polypropylene or delrin belt, alternative conveyor belting is available, such as heat-resistant conveyor belt, stainless steel chain, anti-static belting and many other application specific materials. These power conveyors are a necessary component of an automated packaging system. Automatic liquid fillers, capping equipment and labeling machines simply lose all efficiency without the power conveyor system. Moving bottles by hand or with a non-power conveyor between automatic packaging machines essentially turns the automated packaging equipment into semi-automatic machinery via the time loss on bottle transfer.
So while automated conveyors are necessary for automatic packaging machinery, non-power conveyors can play a large part in a packaging system after the automatic packaging phases are completed. While a number of packagers may continue along the automated route, using case erectors, case packers, palletizers, pallet wrappers and other end-of-the-line packaging machinery, a good number of facilities will transition from automatic packaging to manual or semi-automatic packaging once the fill, cap, label portion of packaging is completed. It is at this point that the power conveyor systems can be combined with non-power roller conveyors or skate conveyors to assist in the packing phase of the packaging system.
For example, a packaging system that automatically fills, caps and labels bottles may then use an accumulating turntable to gather the products. Manual labor can be used to erect cases on the roller conveyors or skate conveyors and then pack product into the boxes. Boxes can then be pushed down the non-power conveyors to a station where they can be labeled, coded or otherwise marked, if necessary. From there, the cases may be accumulated at the end of the roller or skate conveyor, where they will eventually be placed on a pallet and prepared for shipment.
Of course, this is only one example of how power and non-power conveyors may be combined or even used on a packaging system. Just as there are nearly an unimaginable number of products being packaged in our world today, there are nearly an unimaginable number of ways in which a packaging system may be set up for a specific product. The solution consists of finding the most effective and efficient packaging line for your application. If you need assistance finding your solution, contact a Packaging Specialist today.