Low Space is No Problem with Tabletop Packaging Equipment
There are a number of products that get their start in a local or regional area, which means production may start at low to medium levels. While many businesses aspire to moving to a national or international level, there are also a number of great products that remain rooted in their local or regional origins, sometimes even adding to their allure. For products with lower production demands, completely automatic equipment may not always be the best option for a packaging process. In addition, producers of these products may not have the space for such equipment. In these situations, tabletop packaging equipment will often offer a great solution.
Rinsing machines are used to remove dust, debris and contaminants from bottles before product is introduced. In many cases, bottles and containers may be held in storage for some time before being brought out to the production floor. Using an air rinser, wet rinser or bottle vacuum to remove the debris can help to ensure a pure product for items such as food, bottled water and other beverages. Even products that are not ingested or injected can benefit from packaging that is free of debris simply through an increased aesthetic value when on the shelf.
Though not normally an actual tabletop machine, stand-alone semi-automatic container cleaning equipment takes up very little room while providing an efficient and reliable way to rinse bottles. The operator simply places bottles or other containers over the nozzles and steps on a foot switch to begin the rinsing cycle. Once completed, the operator removes the bottles and normally transfers the same to the filling machine to receive product.
Liquid fillers can be used to move products thick and thin into waiting bottles or other containers. These machines will be matched to the product to create reliable and consistent fills based on level, volume, weight or other means. From overflow machines to gravity, pump, piston and custom equipment, filling machines can be manufactured to work by sitting level on a simple tabletop.
These machines will normally use a slide track and one to six fill heads. The operator will slide bottles along the track and under the heads. Once in place, a footswitch will again be used to start the fill cycle, just as with the rinsing machine. Filling machines may also use one or two finger switches as well, especially on an overflow filler where the machine uses diving heads or nozzles. One switch will be used to dive the heads, the second to begin the fill once the heads are in place. Once the fill is complete, the bottles can be slid to the opposite end of the track, removed and transferred to the next packaging phase, which will usually be capping and sealing.
The type of capping machine used for any given product will always depend on the type of cap or closure being used for the product. The most popular tabletop capping machines are chuck cappers, though other types and custom machinery are available. Chuck capping machines can range from handheld cappers to simple tabletop machines with a V-slot or nest for position the bottle.
Typically, the operator of the capping machine will place the cap onto the bottle, position the bottle under the capping head and step on a foot switch to activate the sealing process. In some cases a sensor may also be used that will activate the head once the bottle is in place. Handheld and tabletop capping machines will not always add a significant amount of speed to the capping process, but removes some issues of hand capping bottles such as inconsistent tightness while also protecting against repetitive injuries of the labor used to package the product.
Labeling equipment can be used to place wrap around labels, front and back labels and other patterns on bottles or containers. Tabletop labelers may work differently depending on the type of bottle and the label application. For round bottles, operators may simply place a bottle into the labeling nest, allowing the label to be wrapped in a consistent way. Other machines may require that the package be placed in a certain position to receive a front or panel label. These machines will normally use sensors rather than an operator activated switch, though different options are available.
A different type of system that may or may not be built as a tabletop system in the uniframe system by Liquid Packaging Solutions, Inc. This machine will be manufactured on a single frame, either tabletop or free-standing if space permits. However, that single frame will include a combination of the equipment discussed above or even other packaging equipment. For example, the frame may include a simple rinsing machine, overflow filler and a handheld chuck capper. The uniframe system allows one operator to perform all functions in a relatively small footprint, rather than having three separate stations, one for each process. The operator would first place and rinse the bottles, move them to the filler to introduce product, then cap the bottles to finish off the process. As noted above, other equipment may be used, including the labeling machine, coding equipment, induction sealing and more.
To learn more about tabletop packaging equipment and their benefits, simply browse the product categories on our website to see some of the different options, or call the LPS offices toll free at 1-888-393-3693 to speak with a Packaging Specialist today.