Laning Conveyors Help Load Non-Round Bottles onto Packaging Lines
Many packagers and packaging systems rely on turntables to get bottles onto the power conveyor for movement through the different machines - rinser, fillers, cappers - and complete the packaging process. Some higher speed systems may also use a bottle unscrambler which allows bulk bottles to simply be placed into a hopper, sorted and delivered to the main conveyor system. However, when using non-round bottles, glass bottles or containers with other unique characteristics, neither of these solutions may be feasible. An alternative solution for loading bottles is a simple laning conveyor, which allows bottles to be placed into lanes, resulting in rows of containers being delivered to the conveyor.
Loading turntables are a great solution for round bottles. The containers can simply be placed on the turntable top and the rotation will move bottles to the outside with the help of a bottle guide. However, non-round bottles have a tendency to jam on the turntable, or spin and tip as they contact the bottle guide. The laning conveyor solves this issue by allowing the lanes to be adjusted to fit the size of the bottles, creating a little more stability than the loading turntable. Laning conveyors also include a loading table, allowing the operators of the packaging system to quickly and easily unload containers from bulk boxes, pallets or other packaging and just as quickly load them into the lanes.
Of course, bottle unscramblers can also be employed for some non-round bottles, though they may also be cost restrictive for some packagers. Unscramblers, however, also have their limits. Dumping large, glass or other breakable materials into the hopper of an unscrambler can lead to chips, breaks or general marring of containers. Laning conveyors allow glass bottles to be quickly loaded without the likelihood of breaking, marring or otherwise harming containers. Again, the lanes for the conveyor can be adjusted to meet the needs of the bottles, which also allows the machine to handle a range of container sizes and materials.
Adjustment of the rails is accomplished by simply loosening and tightening hand knobs, which allows for a different number of lanes as well. Typically, the number of lanes will equal the number of heads on equipment such as the bottle rinsers or liquid fillers. This unwritten rule allows the number of bottles released to the conveyor to equal the number of bottles run each time the other packaging machines cycle.
Whether a loading turntable, unscrambler or loading conveyor, the correct solution for each packaging line will depend on a number of factors including, but not limited to, the space available, the bottle sizes, the bottle shapes and other considerations. For more info on any of the bottle loading equipment offered by Liquid Packaging Solutions, contact a Packaging Specialist at LPS today.