Connecting Power Conveyors to Create the Transfer System

Connecting Power Conveyors to Create the Transfer System

As we have discussed before, automatic packaging machines simply lose their effectiveness without an efficient circulation system, normally in the form of a power conveyor system.  If a packaging line were a living, breathing thing, the power conveyors would make up the circulatory system, carrying the necessary components from machine to machine, or function to function.  Whether a straight line conveyor system or a slightly more complicated arrangement to save space or time, most automatic packaging lines will require more than a single conveyor to get the job done.

A number of automatic packaging lines will straight, inline design where bottle rinsers, liquid fillers and capping machines will be lined up along a length of conveyor also running in a straight line.  Given that these systems can include over a hundred feet of conveyor depending on the machinery on the line, it should come as no surprise that such a system will include multiple conveyors joined to form the system.  In general, the belt or chain on each power conveyor will be moved by sets of sprockets, powered by a motor.  Manufacturing conveyors in five, ten or fifteen foot sections allows the equipment to perform efficiently and reliably, without undue wear and tear to the sprockets or the belt and without using an over-sized industrial motor to power the conveyors.  

On an inline system, the easiest way to connect one section of the system to another is via a dead plate.  These plastic or metal pieces simply lie between the end of one conveyor and the beginning of the next, held in place by bolting the plate to the shell of the conveyor.  Either the speed of the conveyor or the back pressure from other containers will move bottles from one conveyor to the next, with guide rails in place to stop tipping, spilling or other issues.

Of course, not every production floor allows for straight line packaging systems, nor would every packager want to use such a system even if the space is available.  Some production spaces be tight or some packagers may prefer to have the loading and unloading of containers completed on the same side of the building to assist shipping and receiving.  When setting up a packaging line that requires containers to change direction to reach the different machinery, some packagers may use transfer turntables.  These transfer turntables do not accumulate product, but rather use the turntable top to navigate the bottles through a ninety degree turn and on to the next packaging machine.  For instance, a filled bottle may exit an overflow filling machine and move across a transfer turntable to make a right hand turn before receiving a top and entering an automatic spindle capper.  Once capped, another transfer turntable allows for a second right hand turn, where the bottle moves through a pressure sensitive labeler before ending up in the same general vicinity on the production floor where it was loaded onto the bottling line.

The second option for creating a conveyor system that will not travel in a straight line is to use curved conveyor sections.  These curved sections may be used in place of a transfer turntable, but may also be used to avoid objects already in place on the production floor or to complete turns of less than ninety degrees.  For example, a curved conveyor may jog bottles around a support pillar on a production floor.  These curved sections may also be used to divert containers.  If a product is packed by manual labor, curved conveyor sections may be used to split finished product into several different lanes for accumulation and packing by employees.

Many automatic packaging machines, such as rinsing, filling and capping machines, will be manufactured with their own conveyor attached.  These conveyors, along with the packaging machine itself, can then be integrated into an existing packaging line, connecting the new conveyor to the existing conveyors using one of the methods mentioned above.  Of course, if space exists on an existing line, automatic packaging machines can also be manufactured to simply roll up to the system already in place and begin automatic production.  Whether you are looking for a new packaging system or to add to an already existing line, LPS can assist in the design, manufacture and install the necessary equipment and provide training when necessary.  For more information on power conveyors or any of the machinery manufactured by LPS, browse our website or contact a Packaging Specialist toll free at 1-888-393-3693.