Troubleshooting Packaging Machinery - Wear Parts
While automatic packaging machinery is manufactured to run absent operator interaction once production has begun, operators are still necessary to setup, changeover and monitor machinery as well as perform maintenance when necessary. Almost all packaging machinery includes wear parts, typically those that contact the bottles, caps or other components of the packaging process. Over time, the contact causes these parts to wear down and perform at less than maximum efficiency. While replacing wear parts should not be a common process, when a machine is not performing properly, checking these wear parts can make troubleshooting a quick process.
Conveyors move product from one machine to another, and may also be used for loading, accumulating and other packaging processes. The conveyor belt itself can wear over time, though again this should not be a common occurrence. If bottles are tipping, jamming or otherwise not transferring as they should, troubleshooting can start by checking the conveyor belt itself.
Most conveyors allow for the replacement of a section or sections of the conveyor belt rather than the entire belt. A crack or other wear in the belting can affect performance of the entire packaging system. In addition, sprockets can wear on certain conveyor systems, especially in an environment where dust and other debris collects on a daily basis, which is why keeping conveyors clean is a good preventative measure.
If conveyor systems are not performing as expected, operator can check for worn belting or worn down sprockets and replace wear parts as necessary.
Depending on the type of filling machine being used, different parts may wear during the filling process. Overflow filling machines include nozzle seals that dive over the bottle opening, contacting the bottles with each cycle that is run. Over time, these seals can wear and may need to be replaced to ensure consistent and reliable filling.
Other types of filling machines may use pumps to move product, and the pumps themselves can include wear parts that will need to be repaired or replaced over time. With corrosive products, tubing and materials for product pathways are usually matched to minimize the corrosive effects, but even tubing may need to be replaced occasionally for some packaging projects.
While there may be other reasons for inconsistent fills, checking the wear parts for the particular filler and replacing them as necessary can bring back the reliable and consistent fills.
Like filling machines, capping machines will include different wear parts depending on the type of capper that is used for any given project. Spindle cappers use gripper belts that contact the bottles and spindle disks that touch the cap while spinning to tighten the threaded closures. Chuck cappers may use inserts to grab the cap while applying torque. These and other capping machine parts wear over time when constantly in contact with caps or bottles. Like other wear parts, the deterioration of the belts, disks and similar components should not require frequent replacement, but these parts will break down over time due to the contact.
When a packager finds inconsistency in the capping process, it is always a good idea to check the wear parts for the type of capper being employed and replace those that are necessary to return to consistent and reliable sealing of bottles.
Other Packaging Machinery
Other packaging machines and custom packaging machinery may also include wear parts, all dependent on the task being performed. When troubleshooting for inconsistent or inefficient performance, these wear parts should always be checked to ensure replacement is not necessary.
Of course, wear parts are not the sole reason for inconsistent performance, and technicians from Liquid Packaging Solutions are always available to assist in troubleshooting and identifying problem areas. But a simple check of wear parts on just about any packaging line can lead to a quick and easy resolution to inconsistent performance.