Moving Product in 2021: Loading, Transferring and Accumulating Products
Automatic packaging systems require more than just rinsers, fillers, cappers and labelers. The efficiency of the system will also come down to the ease with which bottles can be loaded, moved from one machine to another and gathered and prepped for shipping. These complementary pieces of equipment allow the system to perform as a whole, while also saving time in the packaging process.
Several different methods of loading bottles on to a packaging line are available to help speed up the process and ensure continuous performance by the line as a whole. Loading turntables are often a good choice for bottles, allowing an operator to simply place bottles on the turntable top, with a bottle guide then releasing the bottles on to the main conveyor line.
However, non-round bottles may require a different approach, in order to avoid bottle jams at the point of entry. Loading or laning conveyors provide one good solution for square or other non-round containers. These front-end machines allow operators to place bottles on a wide conveyor belt. The belt will include several lanes to create lines of bottles to be released to the main conveyor system. Loading tables on these special conveyors allow for quick and easy placement of bottles or other containers.
Finally, some systems may require bottles to loaded in a certain fashion, or oriented in a specific direction to be filled, capped and labeled correctly. Bottle unscramblers can be used for high-speed lines to quickly load container or to load containers on the conveyor in the correct direction or orientation.
Of course, the efficiency of automatic packaging machinery would be dramatically hindered without a quick and easy way to move bottles from one machine to another. Power conveyors provide a solution for the transfer of containers from filler to capper to labeler or some other specific machine.
Power conveyors can run in a straight line or in curved sections to allow the layout of the packaging line to add efficiency to the system as a whole as well. Loading equipment can be placed by storage and accumulating equipment can be set up by shipping docks, for example, through the use of curved conveyors or transfer turntables. Transfer turntables allow bottles to change direction on a system, setting up horseshoe shaped lines or other designs.
Power conveyors can also be manufactured in different ways to suit the needs of the specific packaging project. From low profile conveyors to save space to sanitary style conveyors to allow for quick and easy clean up, the conveyors used for any project will take in to account the specific needs of each individual packager.
Accumulating and Packing Bottles
Accumulation equipment is pretty self-explanatory. Turntables, conveyors and other equipment can be used to gather product for packaging tasks. The most common accumulation equipment will be used at the end of the line to collect finished product and allow for equipment or labor to quickly and easily prepare those finished products for shipment.
However, in some cases product may be gathered for tasks other than shipping preparation. Some products will be filled hot and will need to cool prior to sealing. Cooling conveyors can allow products to accumulate and cool before moving to the capping machine. Other systems may include automatic and semi-automatic equipment. In these cases, automatic equipment may be used to fill and cap product, for example, and then turntables or conveyors can be used to accumulate product for labeling.
Different levels of automation will require different components to make the system, as a whole, efficient. To learn more about automation and moving product, contact a Packaging Specialist at Liquid Packaging Solutions today!