Shrink Wrap Line Case Study

Asmech were successful in winning another project with a market leading dairy to improve the current packing process on site.

The justification of the project was based on a reduction of over 26,000 tet movements over the course of a year, transposing into an average of 12.5% utilisation improvement.

The requirements for conveying and handling was to transfer product from the current trolley packer infeed and divert them into a brand-new shrink wrap machine. After being packaged, product was orientated by 90 degrees before being elevated to high level by a spiral conveyor.

The Shrink Wrap Line System

Using a series of low back pressure and modular conveyor systems, wrapped packs are delivered throughout the filling hall and into the cold store where product is packed to order. To reduce stoppages to the shrink wrapper and all subsequent machines upstream, Asmech installed a series of drives and sensors on the line to allow product to be queued on the line in a build back scenario. This then meant that when a blockage downstream caused in the packing area has been cleared, the line would be primed with product. The philosophy of the line allowed product to be driven up to a motor, which would then turn off after a period of time when the sensor is covered. This would have a cascade effect on the line upstream by delivering product to the next available drive and turning off. Not only did this reduce line pressure on the system, thus alleviating brakes which would potentially damage product but also creates a utility saving by not running the motors when not required.

Once product has been delivered to the cold store, a second Spiral conveyor lowerates the packs to a workable height for operators.  Product would then be transferred from the spiral and onto a divert conveyor where a pneumatic paddle switch product between two individual packaging conveyors. Finally, operators would remove packs from the line and stack them into the required configurations in the tets.

Not only did this project prove beneficial to improve utilisation, but also reduces downtime on the line if an existing trolley packer was to go into fault. Asmech carried out the full design, manufacture and installation, along with full project management to ensure it was delivered to scope and plan, whilst liaising with the customer and other suppliers.

Shrink Wrap Line


Wire Belt Conveyor for Food Manufacturer

To reduce their carbon footprint, a leading food manufacturer undertook a project to convert from plastic to cardboard packaging trays. In order to achieve this, Asmech provided a wire belt conveyor system. This decision had beneficial environmental and financial savings. However, the new product proved difficult to be transported throughout the existing conveyor system.

Asmech were approached by this customer to design, manufacture and install a solution that could be implemented throughout the factory to improve production and reduce stoppages on the current conveyor system. One of the main issues on the system was that product could not be delivered into the freezers. This meant operators has to hand pack into standalone freezers at an additional cost to the current operation.

Wire Belt Conveyor provided by Asmech

To achieve the task set out, Asmech integrated a slave driven wire belt conveyor to accept product from the existing hinged infeed modular conveyor to transfer trays into the freezer. This system replaced the existing dead plate which was mounted on the infeed to the freezer. To allow the new system to be slave driven to achieve a tight transfer into the freezer, Asmech replaced a drive side plate and shaft on an existing conveyor. This enabled the new wire belt conveyor to be mounted to and driven from. The slave driven arrangement is comprised of a timing pulley. This is mounted to the new and existing conveyor system which is joined by a timing belt.

Enabling Asmech to accept the new trays from the freezer and transfer them onto an existing line. We were required to mechanically remove the existing closed top modular conveyor system from situ and install a new, underslung wire belt conveyor. This conveyor processes quicker than the freezer. Allowing the new tray to be pulled over the transfer area and pushed onto the existing conveyor line.


Timing Belt Conveyor for Pharmaceutical customer

Asmech carried out another successful project for a long-term customer in the pharmaceutical industry. The chosen solution for the customers requirements featured a timing belt conveyor. The timing belt conveyor has become one of Asmech’s most popular products. It allows the system to be centrally driven to achieve tight transfers, simplistic construction to reduce spare components and a clean, hygienic design.

The belt conveyor system accepts product from a wrapper and tamper proof machine. It then delivers to a manual packing station where operators transfer into boxes to export.

Alternative solutions have featured servo driven motors. These create gaps in the product which has subsequently allowed them to be inspected, orientated and formatted.

 

Timing Belt Conveyor


Modular Conveyor for large pet food manufacturer

The second largest pet food manufacture in 2018 chose Asmech. We had to design, manufacture and install a new modular conveyor line. It was to be installed in one of their UK factories. Due to continuous growth and product demand, our customer commissioned a new production line to increase productivity.

Asmech were invited to tender for the project and successfully won.

Modular Conveyor system

Product is filled into cardboard boxes. Boxes are sealed before being transferred onto the new conveyor system. From there the product will deliver the goods downstream. Going through a series of machines, before merging into an existing production line.

Using a modular conveyor design, the system comprised of straights, chicanes and incline sections to achieve interfaces with other machinery which featured a check weigher, row aligner and shrink wrapper.

Once operations were carried out on the product. The product is then delivered downstream, they are palletised, by an end of line robot which has the facility to pick and place from two lines to improve efficiency.

 

Modular Conveyor


Rotary Table supplied by Asmech Systems

Continuing to build on a close working relationship, Asmech recently supplied a rotary table and conveyor system. The system was integrated into a rotary filler and capping machine. The overall project was to supply a beverage manufacturer with a new bottling line. This line carried out each of the bottling processes. From blowing to filling, capping and labelling.

Rotary Table

Rotary Table and Conveyor design

Asmech designed, manufactured and supplied a conveyor system. The conveyor would initially accept bottles on a rotary table, fitted with guides to ensure product is transferred onto the line in single file. Once the product has been singled, it is driven onto a slat conveyor. The slat conveyor then delivers product to the rotary filler and capping machine. At this point, we have an interface with the filler supplier. Product is passed between machines. It is then deposited back onto the slat conveyor when the filling and capping operation has been carried out.

Bottles will then be conveyed onto a second rotary table. This will allow product to accumulate before being removed from the line.

Rotary Table Cap Coder


Roller Conveyor system – Case Study

Leading UK manufacturer Asmech Systems Ltd successfully completed a turnkey solution at a fresh food distribution factory. Featuring a heavy duty, zero-line pressure roller conveyor system with bi-directional capabilities.

The project was to supply an automated system to interface with both imported and exported produce. This would allow distribution workers to load trailers from the warehouse. It would also enable factory operators to accept deliveries from external suppliers.

Roller Conveyor System Installation

The new system was to be installed during peak season. Asmech was only allocated a 12-hour window. To rip out the existing and integrate the new roller conveyor system line. Using a team of experienced engineers and electricians, Asmech were able to complete the installation. Within the allotted time frame. The roller conveyor system was tested and commissioned by 6:00am the next morning, ready for production to continue.

The brief stated that the system would be moving heavy duty pallets and would be required to transport product in and out of the factory. Therefore, the system which Asmech supplied was split into zones. Each zone spanned the length of the pallets to allow the line to be primed.

The roller conveyor system allowed products to queue in zones and be driven into the next available space. Drives were turned off when zones were full to save energy and wear on the system. Once the end pallet had been removed from the line, the next pallet would be conveyed forward. Each drive upstream would follow suit.

Roller Conveyor for Food Distribution


Cheese Conveyor for Dairy leader Case Study

Asmech were recently approached by a leading dairy to automate their manual cheese filling process. Reducing the number of operators working on the line. Asmech proposed a new cheese conveyor system to achieve this.

The old process

The previous process required an operator, to assemble the cheese hoop moulds before positioning them beneath the filler chute.

Once located, a second operator would remove the cover on the chute, causing the moulds to fill. It would then be the responsibility of the operator to make an educated guess on the fill weight.

A third operator collects the filled mould and carries it over to the scales. Here it is weighed to find out if it is within tolerance. If a mould required rework, it would be placed on a table where further cheese would be deposited. The weighing process would then be repeated.

The fourth and final operator would then stack full moulds into a rack to dry and remove the base of the hoop. The hoop can then be used on a new, empty mould.

Asmech’s new bespoke Cheese Conveyor system

To streamline the process, Asmech designed and manufactured a system to handle full and empty moulds. The cheese conveyor system we provided also had the facility to weigh products whilst under the filling chute. This allowed the customer to increase production, remove man power from the line and improve efficiency.

The new cheese conveyor system comprised of two 3m long belt conveyors and a filling station. This reduced the line down from four to two operators. It allowed the same operator to assemble moulds and place them onto an in-feed conveyor. This conveyor would be delivered to the filling area, offloading full moulds from the out-feed conveyor to place into the racks.

Cheese Conveyor for Dairy Leader

Moulds will be delivered to the end of the in-feed conveyor. The second operator will collect and place moulds onto the scales ready to be filled. The filler cover is removed, thus filling the mould. The weight is read out on a digital screen which featured a “traffic light” function, indicating when the mould was either under, close to, achieved or over tolerance. The scales were designed to be sunk within the filling station. The top of the scales sat flush with the table to prevent the operator from having to lift product.

When moulds were filled to tolerance, the second operator would transfer the cheese onto the out-feed conveyor. The first operator can then remove the moulds from the line and place onto the rack.


Air Rinse Case study

Asmech was invited by one of the UK’s leading crisp and snack supplier to manufacture a machine with an air rinse facility to be integrated into their existing filling line to remove debris from the base of the containers.

This system will accept containers in a single file line, and using side gripping conveyors transport the containers through 360 degrees. After the bottle have been inverted 180 degrees they will remain upside down for approx. 1.2m before being returned to the original orientation. Whilst upside down a series of blow nozzles will blow filtered air into the containers to remove any debris or dust from inside the container.

Conveyor system for Air rinsing

The rinser for any container and any medium

This process tends to be the start in any filling process as the air rinse facility meticulously removes dust and other residues from containers – laying the cornerstone for care-free filling. Which and how many rinsing media are used for this purpose? This decision is completely up to you. That’s because the rinsers can be individually adjusted to any task.

At a glance

  • Meticulously free PET and glass containers of dust particles and other residues
  • Suitable for many different media
  • Process a broad range of container materials and shapes

 

Your benefits

Suitable for many different products

Whether it’s ionised air, cold water, peracetic acid or rinsing with the fill product itself

Protect your product

To ensure glass and PET containers start the filling process in perfect condition,

Adapt flexibly to your needs

The rinser’s equipment and configuration can be customised to a wide variety of different tasks and requirements: from the spray nozzles and the control system, to the number of media channels. Consult the Asmech product specialists to identify the right variant for you.

Use rinsing media efficiently

To ensure the cleaning media reach every part of the container, the nozzles of each rinser are pre-set exactly to the task at hand. That enhances the efficiency of the cleaning, and at the same time cuts media consumption.

Anti-static air rinsing

The Automatic Air Rinser and Bottle Vacuum uses dual action nozzles to first blow air into a container to dislodge dust and debris and then vacuum the dust and debris from the inside of the container.  This air rinsing bottle vacuum also moves containers through a curtain of de-ionized air prior to the rinsing process to neutralise any static charge that may be on the containers.

 


Hot Filling & Bottle Inversion Case Study

A nutritional beverage supplier in Ireland approached Asmech Systems Ltd to design, manufacture and install a conveyor system to sterilise the caps and cool the base of hot filled bottles.

A typical Asmech solution for this scope of work would be our Loop Inverter. This machine accepts product which is presented from the production line and carries it around a desired belt path with standard, rubber moulded side gripper chain. Products are inverted over 360 degrees and transferred product back onto the production line.

The specification supplied by the customer required bottles to be inverted by 90 degrees for a total of 3 minutes, sprayed with cool water at the base of the product and being re-inverted. This process allows the base of the cap to be sterilised whilst also allowing the product sealed inside the bottle to be cooled. Due to the specific inversion times requested by the customer, the operation could not be carried out within the standard Loop Inverter footprint.

Asmech designed a solution to invert bottles by 90 degrees from vertical to horizontal, and return them to their original orientation. The bottles will need to be horizontal for a total of 11m before the turning operation. This will be achieved over 1.5m by resting bottles between rubber flights attached to the slat chain, drive in a spiralled belt path. The concept of this solution enables the line speeds and inversion time requested by the customer to be met.

Roller Conveyor for Hot filling and bottle turning

 

Why Is the Process of Hot Filling Necessary?

Hot filling is a process of choice for many juices and beverages because it eliminates the need of preservatives and chemicals while maintaining the same level of shelf life and nutritional properties of the beverage. With consumers becoming more aware of potential harmful effects of preservatives, hot filling is now the obvious choice as the process is rather simple and less complex compared to it’s alternatives.

Hot filling is generally suitable for fruit juices, vegetable juices, flavoured waters, and sports drinks that have a pH level of < 4.5.

The process of hot filling involves several steps, each step is essential to maximise the benefits of shorter fill time and extended shelf life without preservatives.

The beverage is pasteurized and heated to the hot filling temperature, generally between 190 – 203 F (or 90 – 95 C) in a heat exchanger for at least 15 – 30 seconds. This process typically kills all microorganisms in the liquid.

The liquid is cooled to around 180 – 185 F (82 – 85 C) and filled at the filling station. In some cases, nitrogen is introduced into the head space (the empty space between the liquid and the brim) to remove oxygen in order to avoid oxidation. The closure is then applied immediately after. This process will sterilize the inner surface of the container.

The container is either tilted on to one side or inverted to ensure the closures is also sterilized with the hot liquid touching the inside surface.

The container / closure package is then brought to a cooling station (water bath or shower) to cool it rapidly, this process will help preserve the product taste and nutritional properties. The cooling process will also create a vacuum inside the container, preventing microbial growth.

The cooled bottle / closure package is dried and decorating label is applied.

In Review: The Benefits of Hot-Filling

There are many options, and considerations, when it comes to hot-filling your beverage, such as barrier properties required, UV coating to reduce sunlight reaction and extend shelf life.  It is best to consult with an knowledgeable expert to find a proper match for your product.

In summary, hot-filling is a good option for many fruit and vegetable juices, water enhancing and tea drinks as it eliminates the need of preservatives, while preserving ambient temperature shelf life of 6 – 12 months, and stock available hot-fill compatible containers are readily available these days making the process more feasible than before. While the aforementioned shelf life is merely an estimate, the duration is actually determined by the oxygen barrier sensitivity of the beverage, size and type of beverage bottle, and storage conditions.

Essentially, hot filling is the process by which a hot liquid is injected into a container and then inverted, allowing the heat to sterilize the container and/or the cap. The liquid must be between 194 and 203 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure sterilization and requires the use of containers that do not change form at high temperatures, such as glass and certain types of plastic. The heat treatment lasts between 15 and 30 seconds, which is long enough to ensure sterilization.

After the heat cycle, the content is cooled between 180 and 185 degrees Fahrenheit before being transferred to the final container (in some instances) and sealed. Cooling continues after transfer for up to 3 minutes.

There are several different containers that work with the hot fill process, including glass, cardboard food containers and plastic, although not all types of plastic are suitable.

Everything is made of molecules. Hot molecules move more than cold molecules, and things that are hot typically take up more space than the same things when they are cold. This means it takes fewer hot-water molecules to fill a bottle than cold-water molecules. Hot water is therefore less dense than cold water.

Gravity can separate fluids by their density. Because the cold water has more mass per unit volume than hot water, the force of gravity on a given amount of cold water is larger than that on the same amount of hot water. This forces the cold water downward and causes the hot water to be pushed or lifted upward. This motion of fluids is called convection. In the set of bottles where the hot water was above the cold water, the cold water was already on the bottom, so there was no convection.


Cap Conveyor Project for Super Dairy Case Study

The biggest project undertaken by Asmech Systems to date (2012)

A well-known dairy invited Asmech Systems Ltd to be involved in their ‘Super Dairy Project being manufactured in the UK.

The 70-acre site; which has the capacity to produce 1.5 Million bottles of milk per day (provided by 900 farmers), is based in Buckinghamshire and processes only British milk and aims to supply 10% of the milk needed in England.

Asmech Systems Ltd were contracted to design, manufacture and install a Cap Handling System for a hole in the wall in-plant blow moulding facility for the handling of caps to a filler.

Roller Conveyor for Cap handling

The Cap Handling System formed part of the process required; for the manufacture and supply of HDPE plastic bottles to the dairy at their brand-new hole in the wall plant blow moulding in-house production facility.

Asmech System Ltd designed the ‘Cap Handling System’ to deliver caps, from any one of eight dedicated storage hoppers to the required filler / fillers. The hoppers were dedicated to a particular colour of cap.

Once loaded into the hopper the product was transported by the means of an automated conveyor handling system. The system was designed to deliver to a maximum of four fillers from any one lane.

Asmech’s involvement in this very large project comprised of:

  • Locator – Used to locate a slave board and create a location guide for the  position of a boxer pack using a fork lift truck.
  • Tippers and Hoppers
  • Modular Belt Conveyors – Hoppers to the Inclines through a fire wall
  • Main Incline Conveyors for bottle caps
  • Cross Conveyors

Cap Conveyor system


Dairy Project in Scotland Case Study

A well-known dairy in Scotland contracted Asmech Systems Ltd to oversee the installation and line modification required for the replacement of three bottle labelling machines on three separate production lines, the aim was to improve efficiency and reduce costs.

The new machines would all be of the same design and incorporate modern technology and design to help streamline the spares, reduce maintenance time and cost; whilst also reducing staff training requirements.

The first two lines were successfully completed in September and November 2016; requiring less than a 24-hour loss of production on each line, to complete the removal of the existing bottle labeller, modify the electrical and pneumatic pipe, install the new labeller, electrically connect and commission.

Work on the third line was undertaken in January 2017.

Conveyor for Dairy project

The bottle labeller on the third line to be removed posed a larger challenge than the two previous. It was a large cumbersome machine being fed bottles straight from the filler.

It would remove bottles from the conveyor line, apply the label and return the bottle to the conveyor line, the actions of this machine resulted in the bottle being turned through 180 degrees when placed back on the line.

The new bottle labellers do not remove the bottle from the conveyor when applying the label so the bottle is not turned through 180 degrees. The bottle orientation is a requirement for the final operation on the line i.e. being fed into a trolley packer ready for despatch. Therefore, Asmech Systems designed two bottle turner machines, to ensure the bottle is in the correct orientation when entering the trolley packers.

The machines design, fabrication, build (mechanical, electrical, pneumatic) and testing were all undertaken by Asmech’s in house abilities.

The Bottle turner operation was from a single conveyor infeed line, the bottles are controlled, counted, turned 180 degrees and then fed out to four individual conveyor lines to satisfy the requirement of the trolley packers.

The conveyor lines before the bottle turners have been modified to direct bottles to both bottle turners or feed the bottle to a shrink wrap machine. Each bottle turner can handle the entire range of bottles produced (from 1 pint up to 6 pint). The performance of the bottle turners exceeds the production capabilities of the existing machinery.

The entire installation process was undertaken by Asmech Systems including co-ordinating the health and safety requirements, and also included the following:

  1. Site induction + Asmech Systems task specific induction
  2. Isolation of work area from customer’s employees
  3. Disconnection of electrical pneumatic supplies
  4. Removal of redundant machinery
  5. Modification of pipe and ducting for electrical and pneumatic supply
  6. Modify conveyor lines
  7. Installation of new machinery
  8. Electrical and pneumatic supply re-connected and new supplies.
  9. Commissioning process

The dairy had concerns about the loss of production while work was being undertaken and understandably wanted to minimise this; Asmech Systems co-ordinated the various aspects of the installation to minimise disruption to production working 24 hours a day. The four-day timeline set by the dairy was met, plus a further 24 hours for the commissioning process, which was undertaken during production on the line.

Conveyor system for Dairy Project


Mansfield Brick Co Testimonial

Asmech Systems; Design, Manufacture and Install a Heavy-Duty Pallet Conveyor for a local company who are producing concrete products for the building industry.

Heavy Duty Pallet Conveyor recently supplied to Mansfield Brick Co. Ltd

General Manager, Dominic Delich has kindly commented as below: 

From our first meeting Asmech Systems demonstrated their willingness to offer workable solutions to resolve our handling requirements.

As well as providing a competitive quotation, Asmech were selected because they had previously demonstrated their experience and handling capabilities on a similar project; and they could supply within the given time frame.

With our current pressures on production, we were only able to offer Asmech a short installation period. This turned out to be no problem at all, their engineers arrived on the Saturday morning before Christmas and the work was completed well within schedule.

The pallet conveyor system is very impressive and whilst being designed with the special requirements of the material building industry in mind we have been advised that the heavy-duty construction will also offer long lasting performance with minimal maintenance.

We are extremely happy with the complete package Asmech offered, and are pleased to say that our efficiencies since the line was commissioned have increased considerably. The conveyor has made a positive impact on service and productivity levels and represents very good value for money.

We are not only impressed with the quality and reliability of the system but with the way that the Asmech team worked closely with us to ensure that the project was delivered on time and without any disruption to our normal services.


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