Just like in American football a lateral pass, where the football is thrown sideways on the field, can result in significant yardage gains on a given play. In the world of automated filling machines Ideal-Pak®’s lateral container transport system achieves similar gains but they occur on every play or fill.
In line liquid filling of 4 or more containers simultaneously on an automated net weight filling machine should achieve significant throughput rates. However, the total time to move 4 or more containers into the fill zone, fill them and move them out of the fill zone – can be excessive and can limit the productivity of a sizeable capital investment. Why? The transport time to move the 4 or more containers in and out of the fill zone is time the filling machine is not filling containers. Rather, the filling machine is essentially idle waiting for filled containers to leave the fill zone and empty containers to arrive. Time that could be spent filling.
This reality drove the engineering team at Ideal-Pak® several years ago to come up with a better conveyance method for its 4,6 and 8 head automatic filling machines. The result, the Ideal-Pak® Lateral Transfer Machine Design (LTF for short). An Ideal-Pak® LTF filling machine has one infeed conveyor and one separate exit conveyor. Empty containers arrive parallel to a fill zone (which include the scales) and are pushed by a lateral transfer arm that centers each one prior to being pushed onto the fill zone and their separate scales. All containers are then filled by weight. As soon as the filling is complete. A pair of steel pins for each container rises from underneath the scale platform and swiftly pushes the filled containers onto the adjacent exit conveyor for transport. As soon as these filled containers leave the scales a fresh set of empty containers to pushed onto the scales via the lateral transfer arm and filling resumes. The long wait times for moving 4, 6 or 8 empty and full containers in and out of the fill zone is eliminated dramatically increasing the throughput of the filling machine. The Ideal-Pak® lateral transfer filling machines spend most of their time filling containers and less time waiting for containers to fill.
With this innovative container transport design, filling machine throughput (the number of containers filled) has been increased from 15% to 25% depending upon the number of filling stations. Both the lateral transfer arm and the scale pins that move containers on/off the scale are servo controlled. This allows Ideal-Pak® to optimize the acceleration and de-acceleration of the transport mechanism – in the filling recipes – ensuring empty containers are moved rapidly onto the scales without tipping over and filled containers are transported fast without spilling.
If your net weight filling operations require machine filling throughput rates exceeding 15 containers per minute – go lateral and go Ideal-Pak®!