Conveyors and Turntables for Semi-automatic Packaging Processes

Conveyors and Turntables for Semi-Automatic Packaging Processes

For those in the packaging industry, the word conveyor will usually bring up an image of an automatic packaging system with power conveyors moving bottles or containers from one packaging machine to the next.  However, conveyors can significantly increase the efficiency of semi-automatic lines as well.  Turntables can also assist in loading, accumulating and packing bottles or containers on systems that are less than fully automatic.  These cost-efficient tools are often overlooked by those using some type of manual labor to complete the packaging process.
Conveyors can be broken down into two general categories, powered and non-powered.  Power conveyors will use a motor to move bottles, boxes or other containers from one location to another.  Non-powered conveyors use gravity or maybe a little manual push to move product from one place to another.  Either type of conveyor can be put to use on a semi-automatic packaging line.  Imagine a packaging system with a semi-automatic overflow filler and a semi-automatic chuck capper.  At the overflow filler, an operator will line bottles up under the fill heads and initiate the fill, usually using a foot switch or finger switch.  Once the fill is complete, the containers must be transported to the capping station.  The operator could remove the bottles by hand and physically transport them to the capping station, where caps could be placed on the bottles and placed under the chuck capping machine for tightening. However, while this is happening, the filling machine will not be running production.  In the alternative, a conveyor could be used to move bottles or containers to the capping station while the operator continues to fill bottles.  Both powered and non-powered conveyors can accomplish the task, depending on the type of container being used for any given product.  
Conveyors can also be used to accumulate bottles for the operators of packaging machines or for the accumulation of finished product at the end of a packaging line.  Loading bottles onto a conveyor can allow the operator to quickly and easily move the needed amount into the fill area in the example above, increasing the speed with which fills can be completed.  At the end of the line, after bottles have been filled and capped, accumulation on a conveyor with a pack table makes shipping preparation that much easier.
In the alternative, both loading and accumulating turntables can be used on a semi-automatic system.  Loading turntables allow bottles to simply be placed onto the turntable top, where they can be delivered to a conveyor for tasks such as rinsing, filling or capping.  Accumulating turntables can be used anywhere on a packaging line, though they are most often seen at the end of a packaging line to assist with shipping preparation as well.  Turntables can be manufactured with different sized tops to handle containers both large and small, so they can assist with almost any product.
Of course other alternatives exist for setting up a reliable, consistent and efficient semi-automatic packaging system.  Analyzing your needs and your production demands, along with the type of product and package being used, will help to reach the best solution for your own packaging process.