• FlexCAM conveyor solutions for dairy processing
  • FlexCAM conveyor solutions for dairy processing

Overhead Conveyors

Problem Presented

Our client wanted to move away from manual loading on an existing bottle filling line. To eliminate the manual element they were adding a hopper and an unscambler. However, these additions further reduced space on an already cramped factory floor and didn’t fully eliminate the manual handling component. The largest product size still required a manual feed.

To gain floors space, client wanted overhead conveyors. However, this presented a safety concern as operators would have had to adjust guide rails by hand at a significant height resulting in downtime for every product changeover.

Parameters provided: 

  • increase floor space
  • eliminate manual guide rail adjustment at a height
  • reduce downtime
  • resolve accumulation issues
  • meet industry hygiene requirements

Engineered Solution

To increase floor space we installed a two level conveyor system to raise part of the production line off the floor. We added two floor level infeeds elevating products to an overhead conveyor. We also incorporated accumulation to allow a smooth lowering of products to floor level and into a filler.

To improve operator safety and minimise downtime we custom designed an adjustable guide rail system. The new system interfaced with all three wedges and centrally adjusted guide rails on the entire overhead conveyor line. This enabled a fast product changeover and avoided operators having to work at heights. We included a wide range of guide rail settings of 120, 130, 140, 170 to accommodate the full product range.

Systems used:

  • We installed cost effective aluminium conveyors in non-critical areas and stainless steel systems post filling to meet IP66 rating for wash down and hygienic requirements.
  • We used wedge conveyors in three separate areas to minimise footprint and improve product control.
  • We provided a slow speed X85 conveyor for manual infeed of empty bottles.
  • We added two incline wedge elevators at manual feed point and at the exit of the unscramble feeding to the overhead system.
  • We incorporated a static merge and an X-bend transfer with split overhead conveyors running at variable speed. This provided accumulation and control when lowering products to the existing bottling line at floor level.

Installation and Assembly

To ensure a smooth installation we assembled and FAT tested the entire system at our site.  We then broke the system down into modular components and sent it off to the customer for installation. Our team worked around the client schedule to minimise impact on production and installed critical parts outside operating hours. Due to the modular aspect of our systems we were able to have the entire line up and running within seven days with no production loss to the client.

Close consultation with our customer’s project management and operations team allowed for further optimisation of the design to ensure the system met all safety and hygienic requirements. We further supported the customer with some necessary adjustments on an existing adjacent line and conducted a full SAT on all product sizes.

Customer Outcomes and Benefits

  • System capacity increased by 60%
  • Product change over time reduced by 94%
  • Released 96% of floor space used by the old system
  • Achieved 99% equipment efficiency by improving throughput and minimising downtime
  • Zero production loss during installation

“This was a well thought out and planned project, benefiting from strong co-operation with the customer. Apart from solving the problem and delivering a quality solution we were able to collaborate with the customer to work in parallel with production to achieve zero production loss and deliver ahead of schedule. We successfully guided the project through its various stages engaging with the stakeholders to optimise the design, anticipated issues and responded immediately. FlexCAM drove the project, as we do all the time having proven experience in providing successful outcomes.” – Adi Sosiawan, FlexCAM Project Manager