Turning A Corner - Conveyors and Turntables
While Liquid Packaging Solutions produces mostly inline packaging systems or machinery, this does not necessarily mean a straight line. For those with the space and the proper set up, equipment such as a bottle rinser, liquid filler and capping machine may be set up in a straight line, allowing containers to be loaded on one end and unloaded ready for the shelf at the other. This is definitely not a necessity however, and many packaging lines will twist and turn to better suit the needs of the packager and the packager's space.
For example, a horseshoe packaging system may be used to allow the beginning and the end of the line to be placed fairly close together. As the name suggests, this type of set up resembles a horseshoe. Bottles may be loaded at the starting point and rinsed on side one. Once rinsed, the containers will make a ninety degree turn and be filled. After the fill, another ninety degree turn will lead the containers to the capping machines and to the unloading point in the line. This can be a convenient set up for several different reasons. If space is limited, the horseshoe line may be a better option than a straight-line system. From a production standpoint, this set up may also allow one person to both load bottles and collect and prep them for shipping in the same general area. While the horseshoe line is an example, there are many different ways that a packager may set up a line to best benefit the specific needs of the project at hand.
When the packaging line is not set up to run straight down a conveyor, there will obviously be a need for adjustments to the system that allow for the turns as necessary. Depending on the speed, bottles and other factors, there are a couple of different ways to achieve the turns. The main transfer system of an automatic line from LPS is almost always a power conveyor system. The first way to achieve the necessary turns on such a system is to simply build the curves in to the conveyor system. Curved conveyors simply allow containers to stay on the belt while gradually turning to a new direction. Line drawings can help to calculate the space of the curved section, as well as the space of the conveyor system as a whole, when determining the best set up for a new packaging line.
In some cases, the curved sections may not be the best option, or if space is truly limited, may not be feasible. In these situations, LPS can manufacture transfer turntables to add to the packaging line that allows bottles to make an immediate ninety degree turn on the line. Generally speaking, the bottles travel to the end of a conveyor and are delivered to the transfer turntable. A simple ride around the table redirects the bottle on to the new conveyor, traveling in a new direction. Guiderails on the conveyor and transfer turntable focus the redirection of the bottle. In the example above, simply adding two transfer turntables to the line would allow for the horseshoe design.
These simple solutions for moving bottles in different directions on a packaging line can allow for more efficient packaging systems by allowing the packager to set up the system and direct the flow of containers in a manner that best suits the project. For assistance in finding the best conveyor system set up for your own project, feel free to contact a Packaging Specialist at LPS.