Liquid Packaging Products: Power Conveyors
Attached to almost every automatic packaging machine, there will be a conveyor to move bottles and other containers in and out of the rinsing, filling, capping or other packaging area. Inline packaging processes would not be truly automatic in the absence of power conveyors, forcing manual labor to move bottles from one machine to another. And while most people think of the movement of bottles from one machine to another when thinking about conveyors, they actually have additional uses as well!
First and foremost, power conveyors act as the circulation system for an automatic inline packaging system. They connect the different machinery on the line and move them not only from machine to machine but also move containers through the packaging zones, be it rinsing, filling, capping, labeling or other task. Conveyors can be built in a straight line or they can be built in curved sections to allow flexibility for different production floors and processes. Different types of conveyors also serve different purposes, from low profile equipment to sanitary style or washdown conveyors, each project will be analyzed to find the best solution for the individual packager. Different lengths, heights, widths and belt types can also add benefits to different lines. Utilizing different guide rail systems, conveyors also keep bottles stabile and stop issues such as tipping, splashing, bottle jams and breaks.
But in addition to bottle movement, power conveyors can serve other purposes as well. At the beginning of a packaging line, a loading or laning conveyor may be used to help load empty bottles on to a packaging line. These power conveyors are manufactured with a loading table at the start of a line which allows operators to set boxes, bags or other bulk bottle on the table and load them on to the conveyor. The laning conveyor sits perpendicular to the main power conveyor and presents lines of containers to the main conveyor for delivery to packaging machinery. Laning conveyors are often used for larger bottles or non-round bottles where a turntable or other loading option is either inefficient or simply not workable. Combining the laning conveyor and main power conveyor system allows for quick and easy loading of bottles.
Other packagers may require a conveyor system for cooling when molten or hot fill products are being prepared for the shelf. These cooling conveyors will typically be placed after the filling machine on an inline system and can take a number of different forms. Cooling can take place on a serpentine, single layer conveyors system or the design may include multiple layers for extended time. Fan systems may also be used with some systems to assist in the cooling process.
Conveyor systems may also be used to accumulate product after it has been filled, capped, labeled and otherwise prepared for the shelf. These conveyor systems may also be designed in a serpentine fashion to hold more product, or they may simply be an extension of the power conveyor with packing tables added for convenience. In rare cases, accumulation may also take place before the product is fully prepared for the shelf. For instance, a packager that uses a combination of automatic and semi-automatic machinery may accumulate product on a conveyor after the fill. Accumulated product could then be capped with a manual or automatic capping machine.
While conveyors are mostly used to move product along the packaging system, they do serve more than that single purpose. For questions about power conveyors, or to speak with a Packaging Specialist about which power conveyors would work best for a specific project, contact Liquid Packaging Solutions today.