Operating and Maintaining Automatic Packaging Machines
The use of these machines, in general, speeds up the packaging process and allows larger production demands to be met, while also increasing consistency and reliability. However, such equipment will always require an operator or technician on occasion to ensure proper functioning of each machine and the automatic system as a whole.
POSITIONING AND LEVELING THE MACHINE
Before any piece of packaging machinery can perform properly, it must be positioned and set up properly. In many cases, inline packaging machinery is used, allowing individual pieces of equipment - liquid fillers, capping machines, labeling and coding equipment - to simply be rolled up to an existing power conveyor system. However, before turning the equipment on and running through bottles or containers, the machine must be leveled on the production floor. Normally the leveling will be accomplished by adjusting the legs of the machine to compensate for uneven flooring or other issues.
The positioning and leveling of the packaging machinery will occur when the equipment is first delivered to the production floor and, occasionally, when equipment is repositioned to accommodate other machines or new line layouts. The operator or technician will not spend a majority of their time positioning and leveling the machines, but this is an important task that is necessary to ensuring ideal performance from the packaging line.
ADJUSTING FOR DIFFERENT PROJECTS
Once the packaging machinery is in place and leveled, the operator may assist in the initial set up of the equipment. The word "may" is used because in many instances, the initial set up of the machine will occur at the plant of the manufacturer using sample bottles, caps, products and other components of the project. If samples of all products and packages to be run are provided by the end user, the manufacturer can often find the parameters for each combination and save these same parameters on different machines, such as rinsing and filling equipment. The parameters may include rinse durations, fill durations, pump speeds, indexing times and more, depending on the type of machine being used. In these cases, the operator can complete much of the adjustment for a specific bottle or product with a few simple touches to the PLC operator interface, saving significant time in trying to fine tune rinses, fills and other actions each time a change over from one bottle to another is required.