Power Conveyors Systems and Speed Considerations
Of course, automatic conveyor systems are put in place on most packaging systems to quickly move bottles from one packaging machine to the next. It is the ability of the power conveyors that keep the other machines efficient, rather than sitting idly while waiting for more containers to be delivered. From rinsing and filling to capping and labeling, power conveyors and the speed of those conveyors can greatly affect the performance of the machines and the line as a whole.
The most obvious concern among most packagers comes down to how quickly the conveyors can move the bottles or other containers down the line. Though rarely, if ever, encountered, a conveyor that moves bottles at a rate slower than a filling machine fills or a capping machine caps would be detrimental to the system as a whole. Conveyor systems will be designed to optimize the bottles and containers being used for any given project. Design may change for small containers, large containers, odd shapes, material and a number of other factors, and while how quickly the containers can be moved will always be a consideration, the design and speed will actually depend on more than just tempo alone.
Faster does not always mean better. Sometimes, in order to automate a packaging function, a conveyor system must stop and start in order to allow bottles to align properly. For example, heavy glass bottles on a filling machine can create back pressure, pushing against one another as they enter the fill area. In addition, a moving conveyor can cause bottles to shake when stopped for the fill. In order to create stability and ease back pressure, the conveyor may stop moving long enough to fill bottles or perform other packaging functions. Though continuous speed would be faster, the stop and go of conveyors ensures efficiency and reliability in the packaging line performance.
As noted above, stability is an important factor in moving containers, but not only while trying to rinse, fill or cap containers. Bottles must maintain stability while moving from machine to machine as well. A light bottle moving at a rapid speed along the conveyor belt may have a tendency to tip even with extra assistance from guide rails. Heavy bottles moving too quickly may crash in to one another causing damage. Not only can such events take that individual container out of production, but they can cause line jams, broken bottles and even damage to the machinery. Power conveyors must be designed to combine speed with the ability to keep bottles moving smoothly for the job at hand.
Stabilizing bottles as they move down the power conveyor system ultimately adds consistency to the movement of the bottles and the performance of the packaging line as a whole. To achieve consistency, the quickness, performance and stability will all be tweaked to find maximum efficiency for the conveyor. This almost always means the production speed of the conveyor system will not be set to the highest possible speed, but instead the highest possible speed for the best performance of the machines. While this may sound discouraging, keep in mind that in most cases the conveyor can move much, much faster than the individual machines on a packaging system.
Conveyor speed is always important for a packaging line trying to meet a production deadline, but in order to produce the best results from a packaging line, the ideal conveyor speed must be found! To learn more about power conveyors or any of the packaging machinery that these conveyors serve, browse the Liquid Packaging Solutions website or call the LPS offices today.