Cap Conveyor Project for Plastic Manufacturer

A local plastic manufacturing company who supplies 95% of the UK’s bottle caps continued to grow their relationship with Asmech as they invited Asmech to tender for a project to replace three of their existing box stations and conveyor lines.

Asmech successfully secured the project and managed to offer a more cost effective and efficient solution than what had been originally anticipated. The new system reduces the intervention required by an operator, thus allowing other tasks to be carried out throughout the factory whilst the conveyor is in operation. By carrying out this project, the new lines have reached a staggering 98% efficiency which has significantly improved performance.

The new systems required the Asmech conveyor to accept caps on a belt conveyor from a stamping and camera system before taking a count and delivering them to the correct box. The Asmech system has the capability to fill smaller bags or a large stackabox – depending on the order received on the system.

As space was a restricting factor, Asmech had the challenge of inclining product on one line, using a modular conveyor to achieve one of the packaging requirements. This type of design was bespoke and the first of its kind in the factory.

The sequence would fill a box until the batch number had been achieved where the existing HMI panel would interface with the new Asmech control panel where a signal would be given to a solenoid, this would then divert the caps to the next destination where the cycle would be repeated. The system has the facility to detect whether or not that boxes have been replenished to prevent caps from overfilling and therefore adding unnecessary wastage. If the line has not been emptied, the line would stop until the PEC’s mounted beneath the conveyor had detected that the bin had been removed, emptied and reinserted.

For more information on our conveyors or any other handling or automation enquiries please call us on 01623 424 442 for a no-obligation chat, or message sales@asmechsystems.co.uk with your thoughts or enquiries!

 

bottle cap conveyor bottle cap conveyor

Plastic Bottle Handling System

Asmech were recently approached by a leading plastic manufacture to supply and install a stainless steel belt conveyor at one of their shared sites. Our customer had recently completed a larger project which involved the expansion of their storage and subsequent relocation and modifications to existing systems. This internal project had left a further issue on site and subsequently required additional conveyor system to overcome the matter

We were scoped to handle a plastic container which had been blown and transferred into storage before being conveyed downstream to a buffer system where it would be held until requested by the filling company. From this point, containers would be unscrambled, orientated and delivered to the filler.

The project was designed, manufactured, installed and project managed by Asmech and a full spares package was delivered as part of the project.

For more information on our Conveyors or any other handling or automation enquiries please call us on 01623 424 442 for a no-obligation chat, or message sales@asmechsystems.co.uk with your thoughts or enquiries!

Completed installation


Raft Ride System – Bognor Regis

As part of a brand-new £40million water park, Asmech Systems have successfully supplied the Raft Lift System to deliver used rafts from the outfeed of the water slide, back up to the top where they can be used again by the next rider.

The bespoke lift stood a staggering 11.7m high to allow rafts to be supplied to the infeed of the water slide, which in turn enabled 5 rafts to be conveyed through the lift at any one time.

Once riders have departed the water slide and subsequently disembark the raft, the water is circulated in such a way that it directs the raft toward the infeed of the lift where an inclined modular belt conveyor transports them into the base of the lift. Once detected in the lift, the raft is elevated through the lift system using a series of rollers mounted to a chain system. The rollers are driven vertically on each end of the raft until it reaches the top of the lift where the chain roller assembly is returned around the sprocket to create a horizontal platform where the raft can be pushed from the lift via a pneumatic pusher unit.

The system is designed to index each time a space becomes available downstream to prevent an excess of rafts accumulating at the top of the lift.

As part of the structure will be submerged in, and exposed to the chlorine water, it was manufactured from 316 grade stainless steel. This grade of steel has similar physical and mechanical properties as 304 stainless steel. The key difference is that 316 stainless steel incorporates about 2 to 3 percent molybdenum. The addition increases corrosion resistance, particularly against chlorides and other industrial solvents. 316 stainless steel is commonly used in many industrial applications involving processing chemicals, as well as high-saline environments such as coastal regions and outdoor areas where de-icing salts are common. Due to its non-reactive qualities, 316 stainless steel is also used in the manufacture of medical surgical instruments.

For ease of maintenance the lift also features an access platform and cat ladder on each of the lift modules for safety when working on the system.

Raft Ride System


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.


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