Understanding the Benefit of Recipe Screens on Automatic Equipment

Most businesses do not set up automatic packaging systems to run one product in to one container size and shape. Instead, one or more products are probably placed in to many different sized containers, from sample to bulk. Taking the time to set up all of the indexing times, delay times and duration times on automatic packaging machinery each time a product or container needed to be changed would lead to excessive downtime and inefficient use of the equipment. Recipe screens help eliminate this set up and changeover time.

Many automatic packaging machines are controlled using a PLC with a touch screen operator interface. In general terms, the PLC is programmed to send certain signals to make the machine work as intended. The touch screen interface allows the human operator some input as to what signals will be sent. The operator interface uses multiple screens to set up and control the machine. More than any others, these controls are found on automatic rinsing and automatic filling machines. To illustrate the importance of the Recipe Screen, we will focus on the liquid filler.

As noted above, the operator interface will include several different screens. A few of these include:

  • Filler Set Up Screen
  • Adjust PreSets
  • Auto Set Up Screen
  • Recipe Screen

Understanding the first three screens will help to understand the benefit of the Recipe Screen. The Filler Set Up Screen contains settings for sensors found on the filling machine, including a count sensor to ensure the correct number of containers enter the fill area and back up sensors to ensure the machine works in conjunction with other equipment on the line, stopping backups and bottle jams. This screen may also include pump speeds and pump ramp settings depending on the type of filler.

The Adjust PreSets Screen include many delay and duration times that help the filling machine work consistently and reliably. Some of these may include a head dive delay, a container available delay and duration times for the entry and exit gates when using pin indexing. Again they may differ slightly depending on the type of filling machine being used for any given project.

The Auto Set Up Screen allows for different fill durations depending on the type of filling machine used as well. For some fillers, the screen allows the operator to set the duration time for each fill head independently, or all at once. The screen will also allow the operator to place bottles on the conveyor and quickly find and set indexing times. Components such as drip trays, neck grabbers, head dives and more can also be set to function or not function for different bottles on the Auto Set Up Screen.

Each of these screens will include delays, durations and settings that are unique to the product and bottle being used for any given run. When changeover occurs, many or all of these settings will need to be changed to accommodate the new product and/or bottle. Without the Recipe Screen, once the settings are changed, they are lost! However, the Recipe Screen on the operator interface allows the operator, once all settings are in place, to record these durations, delays and component settings, to be recalled at the press of a button from the same screen. Rather than line up bottles every time they are changed over to figure out ASU times, a recipe can be pulled up that has already stored the correct times.

To make things even easier, when a packager supplies the bottles and products that will be used with the machinery, LPS will record the necessary recipes before the machinery is even delivered to the plant floor, making set up and changeover simple from day one. To learn more about Recipe Screens or any of the controls for automatic packaging machines, contact an LPS Representative today!