Efficient Power Conveyor Systems Means More Than Just Speed
Setting up a power conveyor system almost always carries the benefit of moving containers through the packaging process faster than they were being moved through the system previously. This may replace hand delivery of bottles, slide tracks or any other manual mode of moving bottles from one packaging machine to another. While faster may be better, speed is not the only factor that makes conveyor systems efficient!
Conveyor System Layout
The way the conveyors are laid out on the production floor can significantly contribute to the efficiency of the system as a whole. For example, imagine a facility where empty bottles are stored at the north end of the facility and pallets of packaged bottles are shipped out on the south end. It would make no sense to load the bottles on the south end and prepare them for shipping on the north. Understanding the process before the conveyors are put in place can save the packager a lot of time as well. The conveyor system should be designed not just to move bottles but to make the entire process as simple and efficient as possible. While the straight line example above may be simplistic, there are other ways to achieve similar results, including curved conveyor sections, multi-lane conveyors and other design components that can add efficiency.
Quickly moving bottles down a power conveyor system and through a packaging line will not result in the desired hourly or daily output if the system is constantly down for extended periods of time for changeover. Many packagers will use more than one container size to prepare their product, and the conveyors will often require some adjustment to handle each different bottle. Guide rails, for example, lend support to the containers as they are moving, fighting against tips and jams that can shut the entire process down. Moving from a thin container to a gallon jug, or any other bottle with a bigger width or circumference, will require these rails to be adjusted. Guide rails on Liquid Packaging Solutions conveyors can almost always be adjusted by simply loosening a hand knob, sliding the rail in to place and tightening the same knob. Quick changeover leads to less downtime, which in turn adds to the efficiency of the conveyors and the packaging process as a whole.
Conveyor Clean Up
All packagers should wipe down conveyors at the end of the production day. Doing so will help ensure a long useful life for the conveyors and is simply good production practice. However, for some packagers, clean up and wash down may be necessary more than once a day or after certain runs. Different conveyor types can help serve the needs for a specific project, and where clean up is a concern, sanitary style conveyors can help control spills, drips and product build up while also allowing for quick and easy conveyor cleaning, again adding efficiency to the entire process.
So while speed will typically be a main concern or buying point for a power conveyor system, packagers should not stop their analysis at speed alone. LPS will work with packagers to ensure that all other factors that could impact efficiency are taken in to account and help each individual packager find the specific conveyor solution that will work best for their project.