Guides and actuators reduce machine downtime

Hepco review_tmbAldephi’s System F filling machine received the Highly Commended award for the Most Innovative Processing & Packaging Machine. HepcoMotion provided the machine’s guides and actuators for the liquid filling and capping machinery manufacturer. The System F-1800’s design is focused on reducing downtime, increasing productivity, and offering customers greater flexibility and convenience. For the linear motion, HepcoMotion provides the SBD and SL2 products for the multi-axis nozzle carrier movement.  The nozzle carrier uses Hepco products on all three axes. The SBD belt-driven actuators with connecting shaft, couplings and motor connection kit provides the vertical movement enabling nozzles to dive into bottles of varying depths. A vertical counterbalance design is supported by two Hepco SL2 stainless steel slides. The SBD actuators provide a higher level of performance in terms of load capacity and life than other comparable sized linear actuators, says the company. Mike McGuire, HepcoMotion sales engineer explains: “SBD fits this application perfectly thanks to its high capacity re-circulating ball guides providing improved moment load capacity and longer life in high duty linear applications”.

The duty is quite high for this application as the main nozzle bar is raised and lowered frequently and quickly. The weight of the nozzle apparatus, piping, and product being dispensed also need to be taken into consideration. Products need to be able to cope with this high duty and be low maintenance.

The System F caters for a number of industries, including food production, medical, and cosmetics packaging, with varying environmental conditions depending on the type of liquid that is being filled. Both the SL2 and SBD offer surfaces that can be easily washed and wiped down during cleaning routines. The need to wipe and wash down machines, together with high production rates is a combination that only the toughest systems can provide, says the company.

Corrosion-resistance is another key requirement for any liquid filling application. On the nozzle adjusters, where mechanical components are close to the filling process, corrosion resistance is essential for liquids such as oral dose pharmaceuticals and food items. The SL2 stainless steel bearing wheels are sealed for life units, negating the need for lubrication so the system can run dry, and eliminate product contamination. System F has been developed as a hygienic and versatile inline filler, capable of accurately dosing products with a range of viscosities, and even those with large particulates. Solid and liquid particles such as dust and liquid droplets are handled by the V guide system has a self-cleaning action, ensuring a smooth and accurate movement. SBD also has a stainless steel sealing band which prevents dirt ingress, ensuring a low maintenance solution.

The modular machine can meet the needs of the customer. For example, it can fill volumes from 20ml to over five litres on one machine, without modification. Three- wheeled SL2 carriage plates with a trigger release system enables rapid nozzle pitch adjustment down to just 40mm. This allows very small containers to be accommodated. Another application of the SL2 and rollers is in a ‘raking’ axis. This gives the ability to move nozzles between multiple parallel conveyors, and to eliminate the need to adjust two conveyor guide rails during container changeover routines, reducing downtimes and increasing output by minimising the negative impact of container gating time.

The number of components in the machine has been reduced, for a quicker build time, shortened lead times and reduced cost.

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