Packaging Digest ARTICLES
PACKAGING DIGEST
January, 2004
page 36

Two-stage line fills radiator stop-leak

Radiator stop-leak line fills bottles with fine wood flour on two dual-auger fillers after which water solution is added by a servo-driven 12-nozzle positive displacement unit that has nozzles that each have a dedicated gear pump for superb accuracy.

Jack Mans, Plant Operations Editor


Twelve-head servo-driven positive displacement filler dispenses water solution into 12 bottles during each fill cycle. Each fill head has a dedicated servo-controlled gear pump delivering product.
BG Products, Inc., Wichita, KS, produces radiator stop-leak, gas and oil additives and other products for automobiles. In October, 2002, the company determined that it needed a new packaging line, primarily for the radiator stop-leak, although it would also be used for other products. The stop-leak is a mixture of a very fine wood flour and water solution that is poured into car radiators to plug any leaks.

The previous line premixed the wood flour and water solution and then filled the mixture, but BG decided to fill the components separately on the new line. "The wood flour, which is very fine and fluffy, is the most difficult component to handle, so the filler was the critical piece of equipment," says production supervisor Terry Emond. "After reviewing possible alternatives, auger fillers from Per-Fil looked like the best choice, so we sent them some product and bottles for testing. We already had some equipment from InLine Filling Systems that we were very satisfied with, so we selected InLine's positive displacement fillers for the water solution."

The new line, which was installed in July, 2003, incorporates two dual-head Per-Fil auger fillers and a 12-nozzle InLine servo-driven positive displacement filler. It has a rated speed of 100 bottles/min. Per-Fil sent the auger fillers to InLine, which assembled the complete line and ran the acceptance tests.

The line starts with a bottle unscrambler from New England Machinery. This is the only piece of equipment used from the line previously running the stop-leak. Bottles then travel to the Per-Fill fillers. The required production rate of 100 bottles/min was achieved by combining two dual-spindle servo-driven auger fillers spaced along a conveyor. Bulk wood flour is transported to the filler hoppers from storage hoppers on the floor by two screw feeders.

The line operates intermittently with four bottles conveyed beneath the fill nozzles, after which the line stops while the wood flour is filled. Conical hoppers mounted above the augers provide densification and mass flow of product into the auger flights. Each filler is equipped with a custom-designed agitation and auger tooling assembly to handle the fluffy wood flour powder, which is displaced to the fill hopper and then augered to the fill heads to speed up the fill cycle. A special dust termination provides a clean filling operation.

 

Fine wood flour is filled into bottles by two dual-head auger fillers. Each filler is equipped with a custom-designed agitation and auger tooling assembly to handle the fluffy wood flour powder.

"We get a lot of static that interferes with filling," says Emond. "Per-Fil designed a head that vacuums excess dust from the wood, and then emits a jet of air that blows the dust off after each cycle." Sensors at the fill position provide high-speed container recognition, and the air index system achieves trouble-free bottle feed performance.

The dual-spindle augers are equipped with individual servo-drives for adjusting the fill weights. This is done manually at present, but could be switched to automatic control if BG installs a checkweigher in the future.

This modular equipment is very flexible and can be used to fill a wide variety of powder, paste or granular products, should BG decide to run these products in the future. The system incorporates preprogrammed menus for fast setup and a user-friendly touchscreen data-entry panel. Integration of the bulk feeders, container loading systems and other equipment is easily done through the units' programmable logic controllers. "Per-Fil was very good to work with. The fillers, which have a one-gram fill accuracy, are working exactly like we expected," says Emond.

Bottles leaving the Per-Fil fillers are conveyed to the 12-head InLine positive displacement filler. Here again, bottles are metered beneath the fill nozzles, and the conveyor then stops during the fill cycle. The nozzles descend into the bottles at the start of filling and then slowly retract as product enters the bottle.

Each fill-head has a dedicated servo-controlled gear pump delivering product. The filler's PLC independently tracks the rotation of each pump head so that it knows precisely how much product has been

Parallel belts on both sides of the bottles in the continuous capper hold bottles steady during the capping operation, while another set of parallel belts tightens the caps.
delivered, and it adjusts the rotation automatically in one-degree increments to maintain the correct fill volume. The line is running 10 different bottles, and the operator can select the programmed fill profile for each product at the push of a button on the color touchscreen.

Bottles then travel to the InLine capper, which is mounted on casters and is moved into place next to the conveyor for use. Caps are dispensed from a hopper equipped with a cap sorter that places them right side up and delivers them into the cap chute, which transports them down to the application point. The caps are positioned at the bottom of the chute so that they can be picked off by the bottles passing beneath the chute on the conveyor.

Parallel belts running on both sides of the bottles extend past the cap pick-up point and hold the bottles steady during the capping operation, while another set of parallel belts tightens the caps. A single knob on the side of the capper adjusts the entire cap tightening area in seconds, making it a very a quick and easy changeover.

The capped bottles are transported to a 45-in. dia rotary accumulating table also supplied by InLine from which they are manually cased. "We have other InLine equipment in the plant that has worked out very well for us, so using their filler in this application was an easy decision," says Emond. "Their positive displacement filler is a real efficient machine and we're also very happy with their capper."

More information is available:

Auger fillers: Per-Fil Industries, 856/461-5700. http://www.per-fil.com/. Circle No. 214.

Liquid filler, capper, accumulation table: InLine Filling systems, 941/486-8800. http://www.fillers.com/. Circle No. 215.

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