Complete Packaging Systems for Liquid Products
In addition to individual machines, Liquid Packaging Solutions offers integration of many different pieces of equipment, allowing packagers to combine LPS equipment with OEM equipment to produce complete packaging systems through a single vendor. Integration services allow packagers to receive equipment, installation, training and service from a single point of contact, making the entire process of building the ideal system for any project that much easier. Below are the major categories that typically make up complete packaging systems.
The loading of containers on the front end of a packaging system can be accomplished in several different ways. Loading turntables allow an operator to simply place empty containers on the turntable top, to be delivered to the power conveyor system. However, other processes may be used depending on the container, speed and simply the desire of the packager. Bottle hoppers, loading and laning conveyors and unscramblers are also popular choices for starting the packaging operation.
Conveyor systems make up the circulation system of the packaging process, moving bottles and other containers from one machine to the next. While different systems exist to handle different types of products, generally speaking the system will be set up to take advantage of the production space. This may be a straight line or the power conveyors may utilize curved sections or transfer turntables to shift bottles through ninety degree turns. While stainless steel conveyors will be used a majority of the time, other materials do exist for projects and products that do not work well with stainless.
Container Cleaning Equipment
Bottle rinsers and bottle vacuums are used to clean dust, debris and other contaminants from containers before product is introduced. While these machines will not be seen on every packaging system, those that run foods, beverages, pet products and other ingested items are likely to use such equipment. Rinsers may use either air, water or other liquid solution to wash away debris, while vacuum type machines use a special nozzle to first blast the container with air and then vacuum loose debris from the bottle. Rinsing machines invert bottles over a basin to allow contaminants to exit the bottle during the rinse. The bottle vacuums are more popular among heavy or oddly shaped bottles that are not easily inverted, as they will stay on the power conveyor through the cleaning process.
Different filling machines exist for different products, with each principle having unique benefits. For example, an overflow filler allows each bottle to be filled to the same level, even where interior volumes differ. A piston filler allows for products to be filled accurately by volume. Many different principles exist for products both thick and thin, and each filling machine will be designed and built for the specific project and process at hand.
The type of capping machine used on any given packaging project will obviously depend on the type of closure to be used by the packager. One of the most popular closure types, the screw-on type cap, can be handled by both a spindle capper and a chuck capper. Other machines exist for snap on caps, ROPP caps, corks and any other closure you can imagine! Custom machinery will sometimes be manufactured to handle unique cap types, shapes and sizes.
Of course, the container must be prepared for presentation to the consumer! The labeling machine will ensure that each item packaged will receive a consistent and reliable label, to help introduce the product and add aesthetic value as well. Labeling machines can handle wrap labels, front, front and back, top, panel wraps and may other configurations. These machines are often coupled with coding equipment to allow for the printing of expiration dates, batch numbers and other information right onto the label itself.
Packing and Accumulating Product
At the end of a packaging line, turntables may once again be used to accumulate finished product for packing. Even conveyors will in some cases be used for accumulation. However, not every product goes to market alone. In today's world, six packs, twelve packs and other bundles are desired for a wide range of products. Other products may be placed into a carton or a box before being shipped to the retailer. Other equipment to assist in packing may include box erectors, box tapers, palletizers and pallet wrappers.
While the above categories may represent the most popular categories of packaging machinery, custom equipment exists in each of these categories, as well as outside those listed, for unique packaging processes. From bottles and caps to product, labels and bundles, each project will be analyzed by LPS to discover the ideal solution for the specific task at hand.