After entering the retail market, Blue Dia-mond Growers, a California-based company, recently added a packaging line to produce pillow-shaped almond products. This line replaces the earlier two lower capacity lines that can package 8 ounces of almonds per bag at a rate of 80 bags per minute and can pack 2 ounces or 23 grams per bag at a rate of 120 packages per minute. Pillow-shaped bag.
The starting point for this assembly line is the VPK260 vertical forming/filling/sealing machine manufactured by Packaging Equipment. The assembly line equipped with servo actuators and programmable logic controllers (PLCs) is the most versatile vertical bag machine on the market. A roll of film is placed on a reel at the rear of the machine. The film is pulled through the entire body by a friction drive belt and a vacuum assisted assembly mounted on the front of the machine. It is equipped with a sensor for positioning the edge of the film. When the film leaves the roller, the entire film box moves in the horizontal direction, maintaining the correct trajectory of the film in the machine. The smart date inkjet printer provided by Markem Company prints the coded date when the film leaves the roller. An encoder constantly measures the speed of film movement and automatically adjusts the print speed to suit the advancement speed of the film.
The film passes through a series of rollers and tension adjustment rods on the top of the machine, continuously moving forward through the machine. These components write airbags in the core of the shaft to maintain proper back pressure on the film. The film surrounds a forming tube at the front of the machine and a continuous heat strip sealer reciprocates between the two ceramic rolls to create a vertically overlapping seal. Almonds fall intermittently from the top of the machine's weighing system, through the forming tube, into the continuously moving, formed film tube, and exit the vertical forming workspace.
Next, the film is formed into a D-shaped configuration by servo-driven sealing jaws. The sealing jaws clamp the film and use induction heat to leave a horizontal seal on the film. The sealing jaws, together with the film, move downwards, stay for a certain period of time to form a seal, then move away from the film and return to the upper part to start the next sealing action cycle. At the end of each sealing cycle, a pneumatic cutter in the center of the clamp spreads out before the sealing jaws disengage, cutting the shaped pillow pack off the film. Pillow packs are spit-out from the machine with the back up, and a set of flip-over mechanisms allows the bag to face up and lie flat on the conveyor belt.
A sensor is also installed on the film storage box to detect the perforation marks on the film and start each working cycle. It compensates for any minor differences in the length of the film and ensures that the size and alignment of each package are consistent. The basic function of this system is to indicate when the sealer and cutter are actuated and also indicate when the coded date print device is activated. The entire equipment was operated by an Allen-Bradley ControlLogix programmable logic controller. It consisted of three sets of A-B1394 servo drives, all supplied by Rockwell Automation, which were responsible for the operation of the vertical sealer, and the two left and right. Traction belt and sealing jaw and cutter assembly.
The filled product enters the vertical bag machine via a 14-position rotary weighing system provided by Multipond, which is mounted on a platform above the machine. The product falls onto the vibrating conveyor belt through the loading hopper located on the plane above the electronic scale, and then enters into the vibrating cone above the weighing system. A programmable loading chamber located below the center cone is responsible for starting or ending the product filling operation and maintaining the appropriate top product height in the cone.
The weighing system contains 14 separate weighing heads mounted around the top vibrating cone. Each weighing head consists of two main parts: a top loading cartridge and a bottom loading cartridge with a weighing cell located below it. The switching vibration tray operates according to a preset time and amplitude, and feeds a specific amount of product from the cone into the loading cylinder. The vibration amplitude of the tray can be automatically adjusted to adapt to the change of product flow and maintain the accuracy and efficiency of loading.
Correspondingly, the loading cartridge places the product in the weighing cylinder. In order to improve the weighing accuracy, the equipment monitors the characteristics and response time of the material in the weighing unit at any time, and removes the abnormal vibrations through the electronic filter to ensure that the weighing signal is evaluated quickly and accurately.
The number of products entering the weighing cylinder at a time is about 1/4 of the final weight of the package. For each weighing action, the control system will select three or four weighing cylinders to be combined so that the total weight is closest to the full weight of the bag without losing the weight. Each dosing process is displayed on a computer screen, which includes the weight of the filling, which electronic scales are selected to place the product, and other statistical data. The electronic scale puts the product into the filling tube of the vertical bag machine located directly under the weighing platform.
The Multipond weighing system is automatically zeroed and self-calibrated during operation to ensure accurate feeding. The DMS weighing cell attached to the weighing cylinder further ensures this accuracy. Each weighing cell is equipped with a precise reference weight for the electronic scale to periodically recalibrate each weighing cell during normal operation.
The weighing system includes a color HMI and a built-in printer to provide production status and configuration reports. The system includes a comprehensive data package that includes long-term and short-term history, production process logs, self-diagnostics, troubleshooting of input and output devices, and help manuals. The control system monitors the long-term average weight and automatically adjusts the target to keep the loss to a minimum.
The pillow pack completed by Rovema equipment passes a calibration system provided by ACHorn & Co. The system is equipped with a swinging door to calculate the number of pillow packs and place them on two parallel conveyors for delivery to the packing workshop. The system can identify empty packages and blow them off the conveyor.
The two workers manually placed the pillow packs in the cartons and pushed the cartons onto another conveyor belt and sent them to a carton bottom sealer provided by Bestpack Packaging Systems. When the box enters this unit, there will be a pull rod to overwhelm the front lid of the box, and then use the folded arm to overwhelm the rear lid. The box continues to move forward, the lever pulls down the flaps on both sides, and then the tape is used to seal the gap between the bottom and the bottom of the box. The boxes were hand-knotted and then packed in heat-shrinkable film.
The machine also has a 14-disc turntable weighing system, which supplies the product from the top to the stand-alone bag machine, while the lower part can pass through various size pillow cases. There is also a set of calibration system at the outlet of the finished product of the machine, placing the filled pillow packs on two parallel conveyor belts.
Source: China Food News
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