Power Conveyors and Their Many Different Uses
For inline packaging systems, power conveyor systems are essential. They allow for automation across a number of different machines or an entire packaging system by moving containers from one machine to the next. Imagine the time lost if bottles had to be run through an automatic filling machine, then gathered and manually moved to an automatic capping machine. Without conveyor systems, the efficiency that packagers look for on a fully automatic line simply would not exist.
Power conveyors used to transfer bottles or other containers from one machine to another can be manufactured in a number of different ways. For example, low profile machines can be used where space is tight and a few inches can make a difference. Sanitary style conveyors may be used for a project that requires frequent and quick clean up. The type of conveyor used for any project will depend on the needs of the packager when considering space, containers, products and other factors.
While most people envision bottle transfer as the task of power conveyors, there are actually several other uses for these machines on a packaging line as well. Bottle unscramblers and turntables are often used to load empty containers onto the line, but conveyors can also be used in certain circumstances. Loading turntables, for example, do not work well with non-round bottles, as square and other shapes can cause bottlenecks and jams on the turntable top.
Loading or laning conveyors may be used when a non-round bottle needs to be quickly loaded onto the line. These conveyors include a loading table that allows bulk containers to be placed near the conveyor. The person loading the bottles then fills up several adjustable lanes with the non-round bottles. The laning conveyor sits perpendicular to the main power conveyors and presents rows of the non-round bottles to the main conveyor for efficient and consistent bottle loading. Similar conveyors can be used to debag containers by slitting the protective bag and allowing a layer of containers to be loaded using the table, again allowing the conveyor to present rows of containers in an efficient and reliable manner.
On the other end of the line, conveyors can also be used to gather product for shipping preparation. Bottles or other containers can be collected on a conveyor after being filled, capped and labeled, allowing workers to pack or otherwise prepare product for shipment. These conveyors can use side tables to make the packing process as simple as possible. In some settings, power conveyors will be combined with non-powered roller conveyors for the packing process.
Even in the middle of the automated line, packagers may use special conveyors for different purposes. Probably the most common conveyor used mid-line is the cooling conveyor. When a liquid product must be filled hot, that product may require a little more time between filling and capping to ensure that no damage occurs to either the product or the container. In such situations a section of conveyor will be placed between the filler and the capper to allow that extra time for product to cool. The cooling conveyor may simply be a straight conveyor, extending the main power conveyor, or it may run in a serpentine pattern or even a layered pattern. For some systems, fans will be used to cool the product in order to limit the dwell time for the liquids between filling and capping.
While a majority of the conveyors manufactured by Liquid Packaging Solutions will be used to move product through machines and from one machine to another, there are many additional uses for power conveyors on a packaging line. To learn more about the different ways conveyors may help make your own line more efficient, contact LPS today for a no-obligation consultation with a Packaging Specialist.