Plate conveyors (single and multi-row)
Plate conveyors (single and multi-row)
Plate conveyors (chain, mechanical) are used for horizontal transport of full bottles (or other containers), packs (cartons, boxes) and other products of repeatable dimensions and weight. Plate conveyors can be used for feeding, receiving and buffering various types of packaging, therefore they are often used on production lines. The conveyor allows you to connect the machines working on the production line, enabling its automatization. The advantage of plate conveyors is the high steady of the movement, the possibility of adjusting the speed and buffering the product.
Plate conveyors can also be used to transport empty bottles (e.g. when the shape of the bottle is not suitable for transport on an air conveyor). In this situation, a vacuum plate conveyor is used, which enables safe transport of an empty bottle.
The plate conveyor can have a single or multi-row structure. Multi-row plate conveyors, allow to buffer the product on the production line so it is possible to reduce the distance between machines in the line and their smooth operation. The final layout of the plate conveyors – its length, width, type of modules – straight-line, curve, – is determined individually depending on the type of product, line efficiency, available space and other, individual customer needs.
In this type of conveyors, the transport system is based on a plate chain, which can be made of plastic as standard, or optionally – of stainless steel or a special low-friction material (material ensuring a low coefficient of friction). In modular conveyors, the movement is executed with the use of a modular belt.
The plate conveyor is equipped with side boards (rails), which ensure safe guidance of the packaging on the conveyor. As a standard, the railing is made of a two or three stainless steel pipes with a diameter of approx. 12 mm (depending on the height of the package). However, in cases where friction reduction is required, the contact part of the railing may be made of Teflon or the side railing may be made of rolls.
In the case of complex systems of plate conveyors, it is necessary to use a chain lubrication system. Lubrication can be done with the water and detergent (open or optionally closed system). The water solution is supplied to the lubrication points and then dosed onto the chain by a system of nozzles (the excess is discharged to the drip trays located under the conveyor). In a special version, it is possible to use dry lubrication, the lubricant is spread over the surface of the chain by means of a system of brushes to which the lubricant is automatically dosed (no need to use drip trays). In special cases, when it is necessary to lubricate the lower and upper part of the chain, the transporter can be made in the premium version – with the use of a system of high-pressure nozzles distributing special grease on both surfaces of the chain.
In case when the product has low-temperature during filing (e.g. milk), the surface of the bottle can be wet because of the condensation. It makes difficult to apply the label properly or pack in a cardboard box. In such a situation, it is possible to install a Dew Blow / Air Knifes device on the conveyor. The device is designed for air drying of the surface of filled bottles while bottles are moving on the plate conveyor.
In the long conveyors lines, it is necessary to transfer the product from one section of the conveyor to the other one conveyor, i.e. connecting individual conveyor modules with each other. As standard, it is carried out by the side system – by redirecting the product with the system of side boards (railings). In the special version, it is possible to use the “safe transfer” system and to connect other modules frontally (forehead to forehead in a straight line). This system requires the use of transitional roller modules that ensure the stability of product transport during the transfer of the product between successive conveyor segments.
The speed of the plate conveyor is adjusted to the efficiency of the production line. Each drive is equipped with an inverter and its speed can be adjusted using potentiometers located on the conveyor’s control box. At the customer’s special request, it is possible to set the speed for each drive from the operator panel. In this case, the speed of each drive will automatically adjust to the current speed of the production line.
For the most demanding customers, it is possible to make the so-called Intelligent control. By installing a system of sensors on each segment of the conveyor and linking them to signals from machines running on the line, work speed of the entire line can be synchronized and optimized. In practice, this makes it possible to evenly cover each segment of the plate conveyor with bottles (or other goods) and prevents the accumulation of bottles on the part of the conveyor.