How to choose the right discharge, decline, and pallet conveyor to pair with your depalletizer
This article was first published in Can Tech on May 23, 2023
Much credit is given in designing a line to the larger pieces of the operation – your depalletizers or palletizers or direct-to-container digital printers. These Cap-Ex items certainly are splashier and more of what draws the eye’s attention when viewing a layout, but just like in our bodies, a heart is no more than a fancy pump without the arteries and veins to feed and fuel it. On a packaging line, the conveyance and accumulation that surround these large pieces of equipment are integral in keeping a line optimized for speed, agility and maximum uptime.
All conveyors are built to customer specific elevation/discharge heights, and are typically paired with depalletizing and palletizing equipment, so when selecting the right canning line understanding speed requirements is paramount. The top two questions we always ask are, “What is the speed you need to achieve?” and “Will you be doing a lot of start/stop or do you hope to continuously feed?” The answer to these questions will determine which depalletizer you need and what conveyance options are necessary to meet those speeds.
Here at Ska Fabricating, we take great pride in the work that our engineering team does to design lines that take our customers’ products to market and change the way they operate to ensure they are able to scale at the rate they imagine for their business. Here are some examples from high, medium and low throughput systems that illustrate the importance of speed in conjunction with proper conveyance and how this alignment can impact a line.
High throughput systems
A recent customer purchased a high throughput system from Ska Fab and needed to run 16, 23, 24 and 25 oz glass jars, and wanted to continuously feed their filler at speeds up to 300 CPM. The Sales Engineers at Ska Fab recommended the FHA 5000 depalletizer, capable of unloading both glass, plastic and metal containers. For loading the full-height pallet of containers, an extended automatic powered pallet chain conveyor was added to the line, as automatic powered chain conveyors allow for continuous production by immediately loading the next pallet as soon as the empty pallet is discharged. With the extended chain conveyor, it is possible to stage two pallets at the infeed.
Once the pallet is loaded into the depalletizer, it is immediately elevated to the proper discharge height and pushed onto an inline high-speed single filing conveyor with extended mass accumulation table, which accepts two layers of containers. A high speed/low speed photo eye on the accumulation table can remove the space created between layers caused by the time needed to remove the slip-sheet and time caused between lowering the empty pallet and raising the new pallet.
To lower the glass jars to line level, a fully-adjustable s-style side grip lowerator with ionized air-rinse system was included, as its small footprint saves valuable floor space and the tool-less adjustability makes line changeovers quick and easy. Elevation heights for containers entering side-grip (top) and discharging (bottom) were built to customer specifications.
All of these conveyance options allow our customer to meet the filler speeds to allow for continuous production.
Medium throughput systems
Another customer needed a depalletizer capable of running 180 CPM of HDPE canisters, several sizes. We recommended a FHA 3000 depalletizer capable of unloading full-height pallets of lightweight containers. A gravity roller infeed conveyor is used to stage and manually push in the full pallet of containers. Once the pallet is unloaded and returned to floor level, the operator manually pulls the empty pallet from the pallet bay with a pallet hook.
The layer requirements were smaller. In order to meet the speed requirements a high-speed single filer with extended mass accumulation table was the right fit. Like the higher throughput system, a high speed/low speed photo-eye on the accumulation table removes the space created between layers caused by the time needed to remove the slip-sheet and time caused between lowering the empty pallet and raising the new pallet.
Low throughput systems
A Mini Side-Grip Lowerator is a very appealing choice when there are space constraints within a facility, as it eliminates the need for multiple can chutes for handling multiple containers. No tools are required to adjust the lowerator during product changeovers which reduces overall changeover time. Elevation heights for containers entering side-grip (top) and discharging (bottom) are built to customer specifications.
Optimizing for speed and accuracy has much more to do with your conveyance and accumulation choices that one might believe. Sales Engineers at Ska Fabricating relish any challenge and have truly seen it all when it comes to space considerations in conjunction with line speed and throughput requirements. A team that is responsive and flexible is everything when you are designing your line, and something we pride ourselves on here at Ska Fabricating. We are honored to be a part of our customers’ stories and hope that you’ll entrust your plans to us.