Conveyor Puts a Lid on Bottle-Cap-Assembly Problems
Every retailer faces one major ongoing challenge: Showcase as many new products as possible on limited shelf space. To win some of that shelf space, vendors increasingly are enclosing their products in the smallest-possible packaging.
For makers of concentrated laundry detergent, however, this approach can be dangerous. In fact, if a bottle holding concentrated detergent is too small, internal pressure can cause the bottle to explode and injure store employees or customers.
A micro-porous vented liner, such as that made by M-Industries LLC, can relieve this internal pressure when inserted into the detergent bottle cap. The liner allows air to flow through the cap but does not allow the liquid to escape.
According to Karlis Mateus, president and founder of M-Industries, developing the liner proved to be much easier than placing the liner into a bottle cap. For quite awhile, the company struggled to find the right equipment that would automatically place a liner with precision and repeatability.
That all changed in spring 2012 when Mateus came upon the LFA precision-link conveyor from Motion Index Drives. This conveyor became the main piece of equipment on M-Industries’ bottle cap assembly line, and remains so nearly four years later.
“The conveyor moves each cap quickly, efficiently and accurately into the place where the liner gets inserted,” says Mateus. “It has done everything Motion Index Drives said it was going to do. What was promised and what was delivered is very consistent.”
All chain links in the conveyor are made of precision-machined aluminum. They are driven by a high-performance drive unit consisting of a rotary index drive, bevel gear reducer and brake motor. Hardened dual-drive sprockets ensure precise, backlash-free motion between the drive unit and chain links. Each conveyor link engages to a hardened and ground steel track with four cam followers. Straight conveyor sections are made of extruded aluminum and available in any length. The conveyor’s center frame can be designed with holes, cutouts or pass-throughs.
Mateus likes the conveyor’s small footprint because it enables M-Industries to install more automation equipment at its Ada, MI, facility rather than expand the building or move to a larger one. In addition, the conveyor integrates easily into the assembly line. It can be mounted vertically or horizontally, and its indexing mechanism requires very little maintenance.
The LFA is flexible enough to use on an assembly line with a small or large number of workstations. All that’s necessary is to adjust the length between the sprockets and fixed chordal compensation cams, which maintain a precise tension level for positional repeatability.
Conveyor links are available with standard or custom hole patterns. Other options include explosion-proof motors, programmable servo drives and overload-protection devices. If necessary, select areas of the conveyor may be nickel plated or made of stainless steel.
M-Industries’ vented liners include foam, foil, combination and Lift-n-Peel products for standard (38/400, 28/400, 33/400) and nonstandard caps. The company also modifies packaging closures to prevent malfunctions and improve performance.
For more information on precision conveyors, call 877-626-6097 or visit www.motionindexdrives.com.