Conveyor Speed and Packaging Machinery
Power conveyors are an important part of almost any automated, inline packaging system. Conveyors are used to move bottles from one machine to another, as well as load, accumulate and cool product when projects require a conveyor for these tasks. Each of these tasks, and specifically the transport of bottles, helps the automated packaging lines reach higher speeds when preparing product to meet demand. However, conveyors will seldom run at the top speed possible for a multitude of reasons.
Smooth Transition to Avoid Damage
Conveyor systems are typically made up of sections of conveyors that will use dead plates, turntables or other means to move bottles from one conveyor to the next over a distance that allows for many different packaging tasks. Running full speed can cause bottles to back up, jam, tip or crash into one another. These issues may not only damage the bottles, but could also damage machine components as well, leading to extended downtime and repair. Depending on the bottle type, material, shape and size, a conveyor speed can be found to both meet demand and keep machines and products safe.
Stop and Go for Packaging Tasks
Some machines, such as overflow fillers and chuck cappers, may require bottles to stop on the conveyor to allow the packaging task to complete. Overflow filler heads dive into the bottles to complete the fill once the bottles are in place. Chuck capper heads descend over the cap to apply torque. Running full speed and attempting to stop the bottles in a specific location for the packaging task can also cause damage or lead to a misplaced bottles on the conveyor, causing spills, splashes, loose caps and other similar issues. Indexing systems help to place bottles, but there is seldom a need to run the containers at full speed when performing these tasks.
Varying Machinery Speeds
Overall speed for every packaging line will only be as fast as the slowest machine. In the case of full automation, there is no reason to run conveyors at full speed if that speed exceeds the slowest packaging machine. For example, if a liquid filler can run 100 bottles per minute but the labeling machine can only apply 60 labels per minute, there is usually not any benefit to running the filler at top speed. Doing so will simply cause bottles to back up at the labeler in the above example, and the output will not increase past that 60 bottles per minute performed by the labeling machine. Again, top speed and output for the full line will be determined by the slowest packaging machine.
Not running at top speed does not mean lower efficiency, or that demand will not be met. When manufacturing equipment, Liquid Packaging Solutions will always test machines, including the conveyors, to ensure that customer expectations are met while packaging tasks remain reliable, consistent and safe for bottles, product and production workers. Conveyor speed will meet the necessary demand while also taking into account the need for non-damaged product that is consistently filled, capped, labeled and otherwise prepared.
To learn more about the types of conveyors available from LPS, contact a Packaging Specialist at LPS today at 1-219-393-3600.