Operator Interaction with Semi-Automatic Packaging Equipment
Semi-automatic packaging equipment, including tabletop equipment, provides an economical and efficient way for small to medium sized packagers to increase productivity. Understanding the difference between semi-automatic and automatic packaging machinery really comes down to understanding how operators interact with the equipment. While automatic equipment simply requires the operator to set up the machinery prior to running production and then monitoring the equipment during production, semi-automatic equipment will require a little more interaction on a more frequent basis. Below we will look at some common semi-automatic machinery and how the operator runs production using the machines.
Semi-automatic rinsing machine
Automatic rinsing machines use an indexing system to move bottles under the rinse heads. From there, the machine either clamps an inverts bottles or uses a vacuum nozzle to complete the rinse. Semi-automatic rinsers use an operator to place bottles on the rinse nozzles. Once bottles are in place, the operator will use a foot switch to activate the rinse for a predetermined amount of time. Once cleaned, the operator removes the bottles and repeats the process. Like automatic machines, more than one bottle may be rinsed at a time, the operator simply places four, six or some other number of containers on the nozzles before initiating the rinse.
Semi-automatic filling machine
Automatic filling machines work much the same way that the automatic rinsers work. Bottles are automatically indexed into the fill area and positioned under the fill nozzles. Once filled, the bottles are released and continue down the conveyor to the next packaging machine. Semi-automatic fillers again require a little more manual labor with each cycle. The operator of a semi-automatic filling machine moves bottles into place under the fill heads, then uses a foot or finger switch to begin the fill. Once bottles are filled, the operator moves the full containers down a slide track to make way for the next set of containers. Like the rinser, semi-automatic fillers can fill more than one container at a time, and provides consistency and reliability through volumetric, fill to level or other principles.
Semi-automatic capping machine
Automatic capping machines will either use an indexing system or provide continuous automatic capping as bottles move along the power conveyor, with caps also automatically delivered to the bottles. Semi-automatic cappers will differ depending on the type of closure being used, but generally the operator will need to place a cap on each bottle and move the bottle in position to be capped. Some may require activation with a switch, while others will simply require the operator to slide the bottle in place to begin the capping process. Again, the main difference being the operator of the semi-automatic machine will need to interact with the bottle and cap with each cycle.
For small to medium packagers that rely on manual labor to prepare product, semi-automatic machinery offers the ability to add efficiency and consistency over hand packaging, but operators will still remain a major part of the packaging process! To learn more about semi-automatic machines, contact Liquid Packaging Solutions today to speak with a Packaging Specialist.