Common Troubleshooting for Automatic Packaging Machinery
Some of the more common problems do not always have an obvious resolution, though more times than not a simple fix will have the equipment running production consistently and reliably in no time at all. Below are some of those common problems, along with the typical fixes.
Different filling machines, of course, use different filling principles and different types of nozzles. So inconsistent filling can come from different sources depending on the type of liquid filler being used on a packaging line. In general, however, the source is often either an incorrect set up of the filling machine or wear parts that need to be replaced.
During the set up of the bottle filler, nozzles must be positioned correctly over the bottles. Some nozzles, such as those found on an overflow filler, will dive into a bottle and create a seal. The compression on these nozzles must also be set correctly to achieve consistent, level fills. Operators experiencing inconsistent filling should first check the physical set up of the equipment, ensuring nozzles are lined up with the bottles and diving correctly. A power conveyor system will normally move bottles into and out of the fill area as well, with the assistance of an indexing system, such as entry and exit pins, a star wheel or some other type of system. The operator should check the guiderails to ensure bottles are consistently lining up in the correct position, as well as the indexing system to verify that bottles are stabilized while in the fill area.
Automatic filling machines will normally be controlled by a PLC, accessed using a touchscreen interface found on the control panel of the machinery. The operator interface will allow the user to set fill times as well as delay and duration times for components such as the head dive, pump, indexing and more. Normally these machines will come with settings for individual bottles pre-set on a recipe screen. Inconsistent fills can arise from having incorrect fill times, delay times or duration times, or from entering the wrong recipe for the product and bottle being run. The operator should also double check to ensure all the settings are correct. As a side note, it is always a good idea to keep a hard copy of all times and settings in the event of damage to the PLC from a harsh environment, a power outage or other unforeseen circumstances.