Handling Larger Containers on a Packaging Line
A walk through a local grocery store will make it clear to anyone that products come a wide variety of sizes. From bite size to family size to bulk containers, packaging machinery must be built to rinse, fill, cap and label different sizes, shapes and materials. Larger containers, however, can present some unique challenges and custom solutions when manufacturing a packaging line.
The first challenge for larger bottles and containers is usually stability. Containers must move through package machinery in a stabile manner, pausing or stopping in correct locations or at least traveling down a consistent path to allow for the packaging machinery to reliably prepare the product for the shelf. Stability can be achieved in a number of different ways with larger containers. Conveyor systems may use a second set of guiderails to keep big bottles from tipping or rocking as they move. Filling machines may use neck grabbers to steady a container and ensure that liquid doesn't spill from a shaking bottle. Spindle cappers typically use a gripper belt to steady a bottle, and with larger containers a second set can also be added to keep bottles in line. Stability will usually not be an issue for larger containers other than the possible addition of certain components to accommodate the bigger size bottles.
Of course, larger bottles take longer to fill as well. Long fill times can slow down production, as machinery on a packaging line can only perform as fast as the slowest component. A simple solution to filling larger containers is using larger nozzles to more quickly get product in to the containers. The fill principle itself, such as an overflow filler to help push foam out, can help with specific products that have specific characteristics.
Other individual machines may also require some adjustments or custom designs to handle large containers. Conveyor widths may need to be increased depending on the shape of the larger containers. Capping machines may require unique sensors for large containers with handles or F-style bottles. Alternatives to inverting containers in order to clean them may be necessary when containers are large, oddly shaped or heavy, requiring a vacuum style rinse that allows containers to stay on the conveyor.
While large containers can create unique challenges, none of the challenges are insurmountable. Packaging machinery can always be designed or modified to handle bottles large and small. To discuss the preparation of your own container with a Packaging Specialist, contact Liquid Packaging Solutions toll free today.