A consumer products company approached EPIC Systems with a challenging project to re-design a packaging line to accommodate a newly re-designed bottle and cap with a unique shape.
CLIENT: A Fortune 500 company
INDUSTRY: Consumer Products
KEY ENGINEERING FEATURES:
- High speed packaging line
- Integrated control system
- Custom in-feed line, un-scramblers, filler, case erector, robotic case packer, sprayer inserter
- Complete and correct individual machine programming and full packaging line integration with production line
- Specialized machine vision systems for customized quality checks
- Automated packaging line that protects workers from contact with chemicals
- Packaging line must accommodate special rounded shape of bottles and spray nozzles
- Line must accurately match custom shaped nozzles to bottles and seal the package
- High line speed must be maintained
- Correct amount of solution must be present in each bottle: over/under filled bottles must be automatically rejected from the production line
AN EPIC SOLUTION
EPIC first completed its front-end engineering approach to assure the most efficient process and accurate cost quotation. After reviewing the state of the current packaging line with the client EPIC’s engineers completed a line analysis and created an implementation plan that included the following elements:
- Customized unscramblers for bottles and nozzles
- Customized filler, star wheel and nozzle conveyor
- Vision system to check for correct mating of nozzle to bottle
- Check weigh stations with automated reject for individual bottles and full cases
- Conveyors, date-coder, case erectors, case tapers, robotic palletizer and stretch wrapper
EPIC’s Proven Solution
EPIC designed, integrated and completely installed the fully functioning packaging line that met the end user’s strenuous expectations. The packaging line originates with in-mold labeled bottles in an un-scrambler that orients the bottles in an upright position with the labeled side facing out. The spray nozzle tops also begin in a separate un-scrambler and are simultaneously oriented so that they are facing the correct direction to be mated with the bottle bottoms.
Bottles travel down a line to a screw and star-wheel that orients and spaces the bottles for the filler. In the filler, the bottles are filled and mated with the spray nozzles, which enter the filler from above. Liquid production is filled directly from the production line into the bottles as they travel through the filler. Nozzles are tightened down before the bottle leaves the filler. A machine vision system is integrated with a special camera which checks for an accurate mating of spray nozzle to bottle. Bottles then pass over a check weigher that sends under or over-weight bottles to a reject station.
Correctly filled bottles continue down the production line to a date coder that applies a date code to the filled product, followed by a camera that visually checks for the correct code. Bottles continue to a laner that prepares the bottles to be dropped into a box that has been assembled by a case erector, taped on the bottom, and slides beneath the bottles with flaps. Bottles drop into the case and the case flaps are then folded down and taped in an automated process.
The full cases pass over an additional check weigher which monitors for the correct weight in each case. Under or over weight cases are rejected. Correctly filled cases continue to a palletizer and stretch wrapper, where they are stacked and wrapped on pallets to be shipped out.
- Fully functioning packaging line that consistently runs high speeds matching the rate of mixture production
- Fully automated packaging line for a uniquely shaped bottle that allows the company to stand out from competitors
- Integrated vision system that reduces errors and waste by checking every bottle for correct spray nozzle mating
THE EPIC DIFFERENCE
EPIC provided expert insight during the design, automation and start-up process. Because of EPIC’s experience in the field, EPIC was able to recommend the correct custom parts, including the custom machine vision system, and prevent problems before they arose.
The EPIC Difference includes several key features that assure a projects success:
- Front-End Engineering to ensure that the proper steps are taken during project scope development
- Plant engineering experience that assists clients to identify needs, pinpoint objectives and provide the most appropriate manufacturing equipment for the application
- Open door client policy to promote innovation. We invite clients to visit EPIC to experiment with new processes, technologies and techniques that push the limits of traditional engineering.
- Accountability to responsibly manage our clients’ projects from start-to-finish and beyond.
- A transfer of knowledge (not just a basic training) for the systems and equipment we provide
- Single point of direct contact during the entirety of the project
- State-of-the-art shop which decreases down-time and increases the speed of project completion