As we continue to discuss the different screens found on the operator interface of an automatic filling machine, we will now look at the screens that more or less define the fill cycle for each project. The Adjust Pre-Sets menus will contain delay and duration times for many different functions, ensuring that each cycle of fills performs efficiently and consistently. Before discussing the Adjust Pre-Set screens, it should again be noted that these times and other settings will be entered prior to installation for all bottle and product combinations provided to NPACK for testing, saving much time and trial and error for the packager. The settings can be recalled using the Recipe screen on the operator interface.
A fill cycle will consist of bottles indexing into the fill area, product being introduced and bottles moving out of the fill area. While this sounds like a simple procedure, the time it takes for the cycle is split in to many different smaller chunks. The Adjust Pre-Sets screens allow the operator to control these chunks through delay and duration times.
For example, a sensor will be used to relay to the PLC when all bottles are in place and ready to be filled. A delay may be put in to place between the containers being available and the diving of the heads into the bottles. This ensures the bottles have settled in to place and nozzles will not be obstructed during the dive. Similarly, the exit gate will open to allow full bottles to leave the fill area. The Adjust Pre-Sets screen will contain the duration time of the exit gate open. At the same time, the entry gate will delay opening to allow some space between bottles and ensure smooth transitions in and out of the fill area.
Adjust Pre-Sets will also contain settings for the number of containers to enter the fill area each cycle or, if starwheel indexing is used, a count for the release of a certain number of containers from the starwheel. Settings will again differ depending on the type of liquid filler being used and may include delay and duration times for floats, pumps, locators and more. Ultimately, all of these delay and duration times, combined with actual fill and indexing times, will help to determine the speed with which the machine can reliably move product in to the containers.
Again, finding the correct settings can be a time consuming and difficult process, which is why NPACK recommends providing all containers and products for testing prior to installation. Technicians can then enter the settings into the PLC and operators need only recall a recipe to begin production. To learn more about bottle fillers, filler controls or any of the packaging equipment manufactured by NPACK, browse the NPACK website or call the office to speak with a Packaging Specialist.