Container conveyors – the silent stars of the bottling lines
In all the euphoria about the latest Krones machines, they would be easy to overlook: our container conveyors. At first glance, these look like pretty simple designs. But this impression is misleading! Without conveyors, everything grinds to a halt. Because at the end of the day they ensure that all components in our lines work efficiently together. After all, what use are the soundest of hearts and the strongest of muscles if the requisite blood vessels for connecting them are missing? Our silent star, the Krones SynCo, has for more than 30 years now been ensuring that our machines can get on with their work undisturbed
But what exactly are our SynCo’s capabilities? The most obvious task of a container conveyor, of course, is to transport cans and bottles from A to B, so that the next step in the process chain can follow. But there are also a multiplicity of other functions that need to be handled. Most of our machines are supplied using a single-lane container flow. This is why, for example, we have to make sure that the cans delivered on pallets or the PET bottles produced on a stretch blow-moulding machine are fed into the line one by one in single file. The technical term for this is separation.
One of the most important functions is intermediate storage – also known as buffering – of containers. In a bottling or canning line, there are numerous interfaces and a corresponding multiplicity of scenarios that may lead to brief stoppages at the machines. In order to keep the line’s overall equipment effectiveness at a maximally high level, it is necessary to absorb these interruptions with maximised efficacy – this is known as “buffering”. We usually accomplish this by intentionally providing more conveyor area between the individual machines than is actually necessary during normal production operation. We thus create a buffering section, in order to store for a brief period the containers that a machine discharges while another is at a standstill. Which means the rest of the line can go on producing without any problems during a brief malfunction.
After the containers have then passed through all stations of the line, our clients naturally enough don’t want to pack each container individually, but prefer them in sixpacks, for example . For this purpose, it’s necessary to divide the single-lane bottle flows into several parallel bottle flows. So we channel the containers into lanes (distribution), enabling them to enter the packer in rank and file.
As you can see, without conveyors everything grinds to a halt! So at the end of the day we have to realise: conveyors may not be everything, but without conveyors nothing is anything!