Laning Conveyors Offer Simple Loading of Non-Round Bottles
While there are numerous ways to load bottles on to an automatic packaging system, from hand placing on a conveyor to bottle hoppers, turntables and unscramblers, there are times when loading a uniquely shaped bottle will not be possible on some or all of these options. As a general rule, round bottles are fairly simple to load on a system, with the turntable being a popular option. When non-round bottles are used, however, alternatives will typically be a necessity. One efficient solution for loading non-round bottles is the laning conveyor from Liquid Packaging Solutions.
The laning conveyor - see a video of the machine here - uses adjustable lanes to form rows of bottles which are then released to the main power conveyor for the packaging system. The conveyor consists of a loading table that allows operators to quickly place bottles in to the lanes. The table can accommodate bags, boxes or other containers that may hold multiple bottles for the line. Of course, packagers seldom run a single bottle on a line, so the guides that create the lanes on this loading conveyors are also easily adjustable. In the video above, you can see the simple hand knobs used to make lanes narrower or wider to handle a variety of container sizes. This simple is often the only one necessary to run multiple container sizes or even shapes, meaning less downtime and more production time.
The number of lanes can also be changed or adjusted to meet the needs of line and bottles being run. For example, smaller container may be presented to the main power conveyor in groups of 12, while larger bottles, such as gallons may be cut in half to six bottles for each cycle. It is fairly common for the number of bottles presented to match the number of bottles rinsed or filled at the first packaging machine on the line. For example, if a packaging line includes a 12 head rinser and filling machine, the laning conveyor will be set up with 12 lanes, releasing enough bottles for one round of rinsing and filling each time the laning conveyor cycles.
As noted above, laning conveyors will usually be seen on lines running unique, or simply non-round, bottles. While loading conveyors work well with many different projects, unique and non-round bottles have a tendency to jam or tip on the loading tables. Setting up the lanes to offer support to the non-round bottles allows the laning conveyor to load such container while removing the possibility of jamming and tipping, ensuring efficiency when preparing products using such container or a combination of containers.
Of course, laning conveyors are only one of several options to quickly and efficiently make bottles available to packaging machinery. The best solution will always depend on the containers, the speeds desired, the machinery involved and several other factors. To learn more about laning conveyors and other loading and unloading options for packaging lines, browse the LPS website or contact the offices today.