Format changeovers for inspection units in bottling plants

Into state-of-the-art bottling plants hygiene and efficiency are key words. The example of bottle inspection machines makes this particularly clear. The Linatronic 735 made by the bottling specialist Krones AG, monitors washed reusable bottles for dirt and damage optimizing speed and set-up time.

Reusing bottles should not mean compromising on the hygiene and proper condition of the bottles! At the same time, this requires a high level of flexibility as the bottle inspector must be capable of monitoring a wide range of bottle formats. For the operating manager, a hygienic design that can be adjusted automatically at the touch of a button to different bottle types equates to reproducibility and efficiency!

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At the headquarters of Krones AG in Neutraubling, Germany, Mr. Rudolf Fiegler, Head of Product Management for Inspection Technology, explains what flexibility means in practice to machinery and plant designers.

The key is to be able to guide a wide variety of bottle formats safely through the inspection line at high speed (up to 72,000 bottles per hour). Glass bottles have tolerances of up to 7 mm so the bottles are guided by belts on both sides.

When the bottle format is changed, e.g. from a rotund to a thin bottle, the position of the belts must be changed using a positioning system. In order to prevent tilting, this must be performed simultaneously and synchronized for both belts by two positioning units.

Changing the belt position, however, is just the beginning: The bottle inspector contains a number of different inspection systems, which must be adjusted to the new bottle format. In Linatronic‘s plants several sensors and cameras are used to detect rust, residual liquids, thread damages. Krones AG uses PSE positioning systems from halstrup-walcher to make these positional adjustments as well.

PSE positioning systems offer a very wide range of solution integrating into a compact design gear, motor, absolute encoder, drive. They are very easy to mount in place of an handwheel or other manual adjustments.

Thorsten Gut, Product Manager at Krones AG explains that between other features Krones AG, for this application choses halstrup-walcher PSE positioning systems because of the advantages of its absolute encoder (which the positioning system uses to measure its actual position) that ensures precision and safety even in the event of a power failure.

An important role is played also from the strong “breakaway torque“, which is significantly higher than the nominal torque allowing the system to start up again after longer interruptions and be repositioned. Moreover without changing mechanical design is possible to select between 10 different buses and solutions with different hygienic standard. This flexibility helps to satisfy different applications and markets

Manual position adjustment is no longer convenient to automatic format adjustment with PSE. Thorsten Gut, Product Manager: “This prevents the machine operator making individual adjustments to the positions. It also reduces training costs and the workload for operating personnel as the new format is set ‘at the touch of a button’ rather than by a manual intervention, that requires instruction. This is critical as these plants are in operation around the world in countries with widely differing levels of training and education.”

The plant construction specialist Krones AG is well known for its turnkey plants and systems covering every aspect of bottling. And for its comprehensive world-wide service. Rudolf Fiegler, Head of Product Management for Inspection Technology at Krones: “Today, it is more important than ever that plants are highly available and standstills can be prevented in advance – both through on-site and remote maintenance.

The PSE positioning systems we use constantly monitor themselves – in other words, they offer condition monitoring. This enables us to perform maintenance before problems arise (e.g. if a spindle becomes dirty) and significantly improves the availability of the plant.”

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